One difficulty for non-profit organisations is funding. If your organisation is eyeing to raise funds ‘for a cause’, silent auctions can be your best option. However, organising, implementing and promoting a silent auction can be daunting if you have few ideas on how to go about it.

However, you don’t have to worry. To help fundraisers like you, we’ve put this guide up.

Silent Auction Explained

Most of the time, nonprofit organisations and fundraisers do silent auctions. Since there’s no auctioneer, they are referred to as ‘silent’. Items are shown to the audience during the silent auction, and every item includes a sheet for bidding where bidders can write down their bids.

Today, silent auctions can be performed with the use of mobile bidding software. This makes it far easier to keep an identity anonymous and not reveal the amount bid by other competitors. After bids are put in, the bidder with the highest bid wins, and the money goes to the organisation or cause.

What Happens at a Silent Auction?

The basic steps involved in silent auctions are as follows:

  • Participants can check the auction items, which are often shown with a description.
  • Each item has a ‘bid sheet’ in front of it where potential buyers can make a silent offer.
  • To maintain their anonymity, bidders submit their bids using a bidder number.
  • Throughout the event, guests can return to the bid sheets and increase their offer.
  • A common feature of silent auctions is the ‘minimum increase requirement’, which requires that the following bid be a specific amount higher than the one before it.

There must be a set end point where bidding is closed for your silent auction. The highest offer on each bid sheet is the winning bid at that point, and the winner takes the item home. The bid sheets are then collected by the organisers.

Organising a Successful Silent Auction

The following are helpful silent auction tips you’ll need to do when holding an auction event:

1.  Create Your Team

Decide who will assist you in organising your silent auction. Most likely, you’ll need volunteers, especially on the big day. Volunteers can assist with tasks like setting up and cleaning up, registration, checkout and overseeing the entire event to ensure everything is going according to plan and that everyone is behaving properly.

2.  Plan Ahead 

Your best chance is to put your strategies in place early as situations may become complicated quickly. Decide on a date and make a work back calendar with important deadlines to meet. For instance:

  • What are the main outputs of your marketing strategies?
  • When must you complete the item sourcing?
  • When should you reserve a venue?

A productivity tool can be useful for keeping everything organised.

3.  Select a Good Location 

When choosing a venue, keep the needs of your event in mind and ensure it is spacious enough, has an ambiance that fits your theme and is easy to reach. 

Before paying to rent a location, try if you can find a nearby business that would be willing to offer their space for you to rent. You’d save money, and the business would profit from more visibility and advertising.

4.  Obtain High-priced Goods

The auction items at a charity auction can determine its success. To generate the most cash, look for valuable things that will delight your guests. Finding products and services that will appeal to your audience’s interests can be your main focus if you’re aware that they fit into a certain category.

Several items often sell well, regardless of your audience, including:

  • Tickets to sporting events, particularly VIP boxes that bidders can’t easily access
  • Holiday vacations
  • Vouchers for dining establishments
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Tickets for entertainment events (concerts, opera, theatre, ballet), especially when they likely sell out
  • Collections of wine
  • One-of-a-kind communal experiences (for example, a helicopter ride, meet-up with a celebrity, etc.)

You may also send out a pre-event poll asking your audience what kind of products they want. This is for you to determine which items will work best for your target group.

5.  Put Together Item Description Sheets

There should be an item description sheet for each item where you give additional information, provide a photo and identify the sponsor. Additionally, you can distribute copies of these pages at your auction. 

6.  Publish Bid Sheets 

The real auction takes place on bid sheets. They should mention the item’s name, price and starting bid value. Moreover, you’ll want a spot where participants can record their bid amount and bidder number. 

Additionally, ‘Buy Now’ prices are provided in some auctions. Before the auction’s end, a bidder can purchase a specific item to remove it from the market if they are dead set on it.

7.  Make Your Items Presentable

The following ideas can help you arrange your items in a way that is both practical and eye-catching:

  • Ensure that everything is well-lit and noticeable.
  • Use stands, whiteboards and cases.
  • Sort similar things into one category.
  • Ensure there is adequate space for traffic, socialising and bidders.

8.  Organise Registration

The two primary advantages of having bidder registration before the charity auction are:

  • You can hold an anonymous silent auction.
  • You can gather participant data in case you need to get in touch with them after.

9.  Check in with Your Guests

To keep up the enthusiasm, make sure they understand how to bid and respond to any enquiries they may have regarding your items.

10.  Wrap Up the Auction

Before the charity auction closes, start a countdown to create tension. People will be tempted to make last-minute offers whilst they still have the chance. 

11.  Declare the Successful Bids

Let the winners enjoy themselves and assist them in claiming their rewards. To arrange pick-up or delivery, make sure to contact any winner who has left the charity fundraising event.

12.  Obtain Feedback and Suggestions

To thank everyone for coming and to get their feedback, send out a post-event survey. Ask them to share their thoughts on how to make your upcoming silent auction more engaging. 

Helping Hand Group Auction Services: Lending You a Helping Hand

You can organise and carry out a smooth silent auction as long as you have a well-laid plan. To make preparation even simpler, Helping Hand Group can help you throughout. You don’t need to pay anything upfront when we support your charity fundraising effort.

We will work with you to determine the best strategy for maximising the proceeds from your auction. We provide consignment-style auction items. We can also help you handle the preparation, administration and disassembly of the auction displays at the end of your event.

Feel free to give us a call to know more.