Silent auctions are a detailed process in so many ways! Now that we have broken the surface of organizing and executing a successful auction, how exactly do you receive the items? Companies are asked daily to donate a product or service so here are a few ways to stand out from the pack!
- First things first, if you have the resources to create an auction committee do it! Assign a donations manager to keep on top of the entire process. A silent auction at an event is a huge piece on top of other event details such as venue selection, catering details and more.
- You cannot wait last minute to ask for donations. Items need to be solicited 4-6 months in advance. Many companies plan donation allotment at the beginning of the year and have specific procedures. Make sure to follow them!
- Creating a donation list complete with contact information is the next biggest step. Be sure to include the following types of businesses:
- Restaurants and Pubs
- Golf Courses
- Sports Teams
- Salons and Spas
- Any additional retailers or businesses your guests may be interested in.
- Your next step is to create a letter which explains (in one page or less) what you are asking for, what your organization does, what the event is, why the event is important and how someone can make a donation. Also, be sure to include a form that can be mailed or faxed back. Offer to pick up silent auction items directly from retailers if they are donating an item other than a gift card.
- Once letter have been sent, be sure to follow up with a personal phone call approximately 2 weeks later. This will give the potential donor time to receive, process and prepare.
- Lastly and most important of all, once all is said and done, be sure to send a thank you letter to your donors. Showing appreciation and providing a proper follow up is key to having them donate again next year.
Soliciting items for silent auctions can be fun and stress free if you stay ORGANIZED and track all donations coming through your committee. Now that you have a foundation for collecting items, it is time to get started!