5 Tips for Running a Smooth and Effective Silent Auction Charity Fundraising

Research shows that most live and silent auction items procure 60-80% of their retail value. An event is made up of the details. A nonprofit’s silent auction practices can make or break the attendee’s experience. Does your organization set minimum bids? When do you close your silent auction? Is your checkout process a drag every year?

Bolster your event’s turnout by controlling your silent auction practices:

1) Set Minimum Bid at 50-60% Retail Value

It’s not necessary to set a minimum bid for a silent auction item. However, it’s important to not overshoot your minimum bid. Set an auction item’s opening bid at 50-60% of its retail value – (never higher than 60%) to encourage multiple bids on a single auction item.

2) Never close the Silent Auction during the Live Auction

If your organization chooses to have both a silent and live auction at the fundraising event, consider keeping the silent auction open until the end of the night. It’s a common misconception to believe that closing the silent auction will get more participants and engagement for the live auction. Unfortunately, closing the silent auction tends to have a reverse affect. A live auction needs momentum and energy. The last thing an auctioneer or emcee needs is his crowd leaving in droves to catch the end of the silent auction.

3) Close Silent Auction at 10-15 minute intervals

Interval closing compresses the auction items and brings excitement and attention to an increasingly limited amount of items. This strategy helps guests shift their attention away from guarding a particular item for the entire night, opening up the opportunity for them to consider more items. Try leaving the big and popular items for the last interval closing. It also makes sponsors and donors happy to see their donated item getting concentrated attention.

4) Expedite checkout through technology

Dragging out the financial logistics of the checkout process is a pain for your organization and for your guests. After a long night, endless waiting and undue stress does not solidify the  “luxurious” or “fun” experience in your guest’s mind. Consider working with an auction software company and asking your guests to pre-register their credit cards before the event. Additionally, mobile bidding makes the checkout process entirely online. “I can grab my purchased items and leave?” Now, that sounds like luxury.

5) Displaying Retail Values Creates a Glass Ceiling

We recommend that you do not list the retail value by your auction items. Knowledge is power. Giving your guests this knowledge puts an invincible (but all too real) price point ceiling in the minds of your donors. Furthermore, it takes part of the intrigue and excitement of the auction item out of the game. A successful auction item – like autographed memorabilia or a vacation package – is purchased for the good of the cause and for the experience, not the price point.

If your organization is looking for auction items for your next fundraiser contact Charity Fundraising today!