Here are a few fundraising tips if you are planning to run your own silent auction:
1. Grouping items – it is always a good idea to group like items together. This will enable the bidders to easily locate the items that they are interested in.
2. Make frequent announcements – it is great that you are holding a silent auction. However, if your guests aren’t reminded of it regularly, their attention may be diverted to food, drink or conversation. It is a good idea to make announcements, preferably with a microphone, every fifteen minutes and especially with 10 minutes, 5 minutes and 1 minute to go in the auction.
3. Encourage your guests – there is nothing wrong with encouraging one or more of your active donors to participate in the bidding. In fact, if others see an active donor involved, they may become more involved in the bidding.
4. Location, Location, Location – the silent auction needs to be in a high-traffic area. The bar area and the dinner area are logical choices to receive as many views as possible from the guests.
5. Avoid an all-day auction – from personal experience, we can attest that auctions running from morning to evening rarely raise any more money than those with a shorter time frame. Most, if not all bidding is done during the cocktail hour and dinner. An hour and a half to four hours is more than enough time to run an auction.
6. Collecting payments – avoid ending your auction so close to the end of the event that many of your guests have left. Try to allow yourself at least 45 minutes before the end of the evening to notify the winners and check them out. Contacting people after the event is always more difficult than when they are at the event.