Silent auctions are a fantastic way to raise funds at an event. They are fun and exciting but can become stressful and a lot of work if not done well. Here are a few key tips you don’t want to miss when implementing an auction:
- Closing Times: It is important to strategically plan auction closing time based on additional activities happening during your event. When silent auction, dinner and live auction overlap you are competing for the attention of your guests. If you are having a sit down dinner your auction should close before so your guests are ready for the next part of the event.
- Organize Sections: To help promote specific items, set-up sections in categories. Have a “Sports & Leisure” category that contains items such as game tickets, vacations, sports memorabilia, etc. This will also help those who are looking for a specific item find it! You can also use something as simple as colors. You can have a “blue section.” Decorate the display table in blue linens or balloons so it is clear. When you have hundreds of items being organized is key.
- Bid Sheets: These days, technology has helped the bidding process become more efficient and simple. If this does not fit with your event budget traditional bid sheets are used. Bid sheets should be printed and when possible, have bid increments pre-printed on each sheet. Placing a sheet of colored people behind the bid sheet to highlight or contrast sheets. The sheets can correspond with “section color” as discussed previously.
- Writing Utensils: Many people don’t consider the importance of writing utensils. Always use a pen never a pencil and have the cap off ready for bidding.
- Too Many Items: If you have 200 guests, rule of thumb is to have 1 item per 2 people who attend your event. Too many items can be intimidating, can clog tables, reduce the competitive spirit and generally reduce yields.
- Traffic Flow: The execution of set-up is crucial to maximize bidding potential. Treat auction layout as a busy intersection. The faster your guests make it through the silent auction the happier they will be and more likely to return and bid again. Remember to make it easy for your guests to spend money!
Take the time to pay attention to the small details. It could make or break the success of your silent auction. Take each tip and make it a must at your next event!