While live auctions typically raise more money than silent auctions, there is still a place for silent auction items at your fundraising event. Depending on how many auction items you procure, you should consider hosting both a live and a silent auction. The two can compliment each other nicely at your event.
The key is to strategize the right mix of silent and live auction items.
Live Auction Items
In live auctions, less is more. Many Nonprofits think that just because they hired a professional charity auctioneer they should try to sell as many items during the live auction as possible, thinking more items means more money raised. This approach can actually have the exact opposite effect. Your guests didn’t show up to your big event to hear a benefit auctioneer peddle items all night, they are there to get more engaged with your cause.
When selecting items for an auctioneer to present, choose the big-ticket items that you think will excite your attendees. Building enthusiasm around a few flashy item can actually create the kind of ‘buzz’ that will drive the bidding up on other items – including those in your silent auction.
Items like a travel package or a unique experience will perform better during a live auction because your auctioneer will have a lot more to talk about and work with. You can only say so much about a gym membership. The more you give your auctioneer to work with, the more they can leverage to create competition between bidders and generate the ultimate bidding war. In some cases, such as with Winspire Experiences, if your auctioneer successfully gets two or more attendees to get in a bidding war, have them wait for one of the bidders to drop out and sell the item twice, thereby doubling your profit!
Silent Auction Items
Silent auctions are great for your smaller or medium-sized items. Present each item in an appealing way – as though you are setting up store displays to attract shoppers in the mall. Turn the silent auction into a shopping experience! If you have certificates or experience packages then display pictures and décor to match. For example, a certificate for massages with soothing spa products set up next to it is far more appealing than the paper certificate alone.
Just like live auctions, silent auctions can also suffer from too many items to bid on. A large number of items can be overwhelming to attendees and will decrease the amount of bids per item. Simplify by packaging items together instead of auctioning them off individually.
Being strategic in how you present and market your auction items enhances the experience for attendees and your fundraising results.