12 Silent Auction Tips That Make More Money

Misty Marquam

Silent Auctions Require Careful Planning

  1. Fundraise Smarter, Not Harder
    Your silent auction isn’t the first one there’s ever been so don’t try to reinvent the wheel. We have a lot of experience with these and we know how to produce optimal results. Ask your event consultant what works and what doesn’t. We have keen insights on how best to execute a fun and successful silent auction.
  2. Big Picture Strategy
    Think of the big picture when planning your silent auction. Where does it fit into the rest of the evening’s activities? How much of your final event numbers do you expect it to comprise? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you and your client keep your eyes on the fundraising prize!
  3. Timing + Run of Show Placement
    When should you open the silent auction? When should you close it? Impeccable timing can help you capitalize on the organic flow of the event. When reviewing your timeline, be sure to consider other revenue streams, run of show and the tolerance level of your donors. We can help with an ever-important timeline review.
  4. Assess Donors’ Buying Habits
    Learn from past silent auction data. What were the most popular packages? What price points did your donors most frequently support with their dollars? You’ll want to carefully review previous sales data to answer these questions. Your event consultant can help you refine your target items wish list and provide relevant ideas to keep your silent auction fresh and lucrative!
  5. Procurement, Number of Packages + Creating Packages

    Precisely what you procure, how many packages are for sale and how they are organized into packages is tricky business. Given how many volunteer hours are spent on these tasks and how much they influence your revenue generation, it is wise to strategically attack each one to stimulate bidding while decreasing work load.

  6. Physical Placement of Silent Auction Within Venue

    Where is your silent auction located? Are you sure that’s where it should be? The physical placement of your silent auction has a tremendous influence on the amount of money raised. So make sure you’re setting up shop in the right place. Also, know that the other activities and revenue streams within the venue impact your bottom line. We can help you marry those elements synergistically and to your organization’s benefit.

     

  7. Sale Layout, Signage + Display

    Great silent auction sales have a few things in common: they adhere to proven sales layout principles, they have adequate signage, light, and volunteers to direct buyers and are set up using proven display techniques that attract eyeballs – and spenders! A flat, drab and dark presentation will absolutely not maximize revenue. However, there are quick, easy and inexpensive ways to spruce up your sale.

  8. The Art of Bid Sheets
    Displaying important bid sheet information properly will have a positive influence on your bottom line. A well-displayed bid sheet results in increased bidder participation and higher bids. Potential buyers, when presented with key information, are much more likely to make a purchase. Remember that size, color, imagery and sales descriptions matter. Additionally, starting bids and advance amounts should be consistent and formulaic.
  9. Own-It-Now + Incentives
    There are some tried-and-true strategies that consistently yield much higher returns when used—they include raffles, own-it-now bid lines, and prizes. We have a lot of valuable experience with these fresh fun tactics.
  10. Highlight High Interest/Value Items

    Some items are not quite compelling enough to make it into the live auction but seem to be too valuable for the silent auction. There are special ways to highlight these items in order to bring in top dollar. Consider multiple closings or super silent auction sections. There may also be unique ways to display these items.

  11. Sound + Announcements

    Quality sound is one of the most important elements of a successful silent auction. Great sound enables your guests to remain in-the-know and clear about your message. Your auctioneer cannot build excitement or weave mission moments into the cocktail hour without quality sound, nor can (s)he get to know the audience before the live program. Poor sound is incredibly irritating and stats show that irritated guests don’t give.

  12. Staff + Volunteers

    A silent auction is A LOT of work. It’s one of the most labor-intensive revenue streams you can offer. It requires a dedicated team of staff and volunteers to painstakingly procure, store, sort, transport, combine, package, display, track, sell, deliver and check-out items.

    It’s worth it – but only if you invest that time and energy wisely. We can help!  Contact us today – we can’t wait to work with you!

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