Silent Auctions

Silent auctions are an ideal additional fundraiser to run in conjunction with a major event, ie ball, trivia night, school fete, the possibilities are endless. Silent auctions operate throughout the evening and do not interfere with the evening the way a public auction can.

There are many ways of customising a silent auction to your needs and here we outline the basics.

Firstly you will need to secure prizes for your auction. For schools you may be able to source many of these from businesses owned by parents. Also approach local business and sporting identities. Sports memorabilia is always a very popular item. Remember to give publicity to the organisations that have donated prizes.

Set aside one section of your room for the silent auction and use this area to display the prizes. Look for someone creative within your group to handle the display, make it exciting and eye catching, you want people to visit this area to view the prizes. Make sure you have cloths on the tables, add some pot plants to the display area, make it colourful and eye catching. Also remember that if your prizes have been donated you need to give publicity to the company or individual who has made the generous donation.

Bid cards – you can have these placed on a table in the area where the goods are displayed. Here you can vary how you collect bids to suit your event. For example, at a ball you can have bid cards placed on each table and have volunteers collect them during the evening.

If you keep your bid cards in your silent auction area, you need to remind people to return to check their bids. If your bid cards were placed on tables, have your volunteers return regularly to the bidder to see if they wish to increase their bid. You will have more success if you work on your bidders to increase their bids.

You may wish to have a large board on display in your auction area showing the current highest bid.

With silent auctions you can set the times for the auctions so that they are continuous throughout the evening, depending on the number of items you have for auction, maybe every half hour. Make sure your MC announces the auction is about to close and encourage bidders to check that they still have the highest bid.

At the end of the auction, the highest bidder is the winner. Ensure that prizes are paid for and collected on the night. If you have high value items, you may want to ensure you have credit card facilities available.

Originally published 1 January, 2018

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