Knowing when and how to effectively close out your silent auction can help bring you closer to your fundraising goals. During the event, be sure to follow these three tips: 

1. Close out in sections

Competition is the key to getting more bids during a silent auction. If you close down the entire thing all at once you are missing an opportunity to spur any last minute bidding wars.

Instead, try closing out the silent auction in sections so bidders who aren’t successful in one section can move on to another. You can group items into “sections” however you choose, but it’s usually easiest to do this one table at a time.

Consider the laws of supply and demand (remember ECON 101?), where demand increases as supply decreases. As soon as guests realize the number of items in the silent auction is shrinking, they are going to move quickly to place any last minute bids on other items they had their eye on. This will move more people to act on fewer items, increasing “buzz” on those items and ideally resulting in some bidding wars.

As an added bonus, closing out your auction in sections will also give you more time to process bid sheets during the event.

2. Close sections by value

The more sections you close, the fewer items there will be to bid on, resulting in higher demand and more competition. So why let bidders compete over low-value items?

When closing silent auction sections, start with the lowest-value items and then move up in value as you go. That way if any bidding wars do occur toward the end of the silent auction your guests are competing over the highest value items, helping you raise more money overall.

3. Close silent auction before live auction starts

Sometimes we have Nonprofit clients who wait for the live auction to end before closing the silent auction, thinking those who weren’t successful in the live event will then bid again in the silent auction. While this logic makes sense, it doesn’t get any more bids.

By the time you wrap up your live auction it’s usually late, guests are ready to leave, and they typically have no desire to keep bidding. Close your silent auction before the live auction starts so you can keep attendees focused and engaged during each portion of the event. Keeping your live and silent auction separate will also make the night a little less chaotic for you, your staff and your volunteers.

Increase fundraising success by closing down your silent auction with a strategy that will increase demand, heighten excitement and drive more bids. Following these three tips will help you do just that so you can enjoy a successful evening with your guests.

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