Charity auctions are conducted in various formats. And one of the most popular of these is the silent auction. Many non-profit organisations prefer silent auction because it offers a long list of benefits.
Here are some exciting features of silent auctions everyone ought to know.
What Is a Silent Auction?
Silent auction is a type of auction of raising funds for a cause. Typically, the items offered for auction are donated by sponsors or individuals who support their chosen organisation’s cause.
As the description suggests, a “silent” auction is where attendees place bids “silently” in writing through a provided bid sheet. The idea of silence here works in two ways, in which the first one is by writing (thus without a host) and second by representing themselves through anonymous bidding numbers.
Similar to a live auction, bidders get to see the displayed items for auction, like art pieces, jewellery, gift certificates or sports memorabilia. These items are placed in a room along with the respective descriptions and bid sheets beside them during the event. The guest who placed the highest bid gets the item at the end of the auction.
How to Run a Silent Auction
Running a silent auction requires a lot of work but can be a successful endeavour when planned properly. The following aspects will help you through with your silent auction fundraiser.
Promote your event as soon as the scheduled date is set. It is best to start this on social media and by sending emails. Don’t forget to feature some of the available auction items to attract potential participants.
Selecting the auction venue should be done with the traffic flow as the greatest priority. Choose a place where the guests can move freely without feeling cornered. Also, the area should accommodate the high tops, display tables and serving stations in case food will be served during the event.
Item Selection and Display
Choose the auction items that the guests will be excited about and make sure that these are displayed well during the event.
Make the auction items stand out for a more visible display by strategically planning the spot where to put them. Make sure that all the items on display have clear descriptions. Include details about the item, its donor, why it is valuable, and anything that the potential buyers are interested in.
Many successful silent auctions use a systematic registration system, although this is not always required. This is because it offers a number of benefits. First, it helps the bidders remain anonymous by providing bidder numbers that they can use for bidding secretly after filling out the registration forms. Second, the registration enables you to obtain the essential information about the attendees that can be used in case they need to be contacted after the event.
Silent auctions usually require a lot of preparation. Volunteers can be a big help in organising your event.
For best results, divide the volunteers recruited into groups and assign a particular set of roles for each. Also, don’t forget to have a team that will handle the event’s registration, checkout and other support tasks during the event.
What Are the Common Silent Auction Rules?
Drafting a comprehensive set of rules that will be implemented during the silent auction is an effective way to maintain order during the event.
You may develop your event rules that include the following:
Registration—Includes the rules given to the guests during the registration process. The guests are requested to read and agree with the auction’s rules when they register.
Auction Item—Intended to govern the handling of the auction items, such as the right to change items, the finality of sales, refunds and more.
Bidding Process—Ensures a smooth bidding process. The rules dictate how long the auction would be, the period wherein the final bids are made, minimum bid requirements and withdrawal of bids.
Closing Bid—Intended to ensure that the event’s bidding process ends smoothly.
Checkout—Designed to outline and explain the auction items’ checkout process.
What Are the Silent Auction Dos and Don’ts?
Aside from the silent auction rules, many event organisers adhere to the following auction’s dos and don’ts that can help make events successful.
Recruit the Best Volunteers
Organise a team of volunteers that will effectively handle the event setup, manage the auction procedures, answer the questions from the attendees and enforce the silent auction’s rules.
Avoid Over-Procurement of Auction Items
Try to limit the number of items that will be offered in the silent auction. This technique helps limit the number of bids, prevent donors from getting overwhelmed and boost the event’s profitability.
Organise the Auction Items by Section
Organising the auction items by section and labelling each section by its category allows the bidders to conveniently focus their attention on the items they are interested in.
Don’t Forget to Monitor the Event’s Traffic Flow
Make sure to monitor the venue’s traffic flow during the event. This will help ensure that the attendees can move efficiently, check the auctioned items freely, and place higher bids.
A silent auction is proven as an effective fundraising event. It can raise more funds that your organisation can use to finance its causes. However, you should know how to run this type of auction to obtain the best results.
Learning the proper techniques to run the event is very helpful in establishing good working relationships with the attendees and future donors.