As we march into the first fundraising season of 2022 in Minnesota, it’s impossible to miss the increased silent auction items available to donors this year. Throughout the pandemic, the trends and successes of silent auctions has had its ebbs and flows. 2022 will showcase a similar pattern for silent auctions – leaving non-profits with a variety of options on how to maximize the impact of their silent auction. In this blog, we’ll review the current trends and best practices.
1- Keep the bidding virtual
One of the great benefits of the past two years is that your donor base has been forced into getting comfortable with technology and online bidding. This will work to your benefit as your event returns in person. This is not a time to go back to paper bidding. Lean in to your mobile bidding platform and continue to engage bidders in the room on your event day and online.
2-Start bidding early
Best practice is still true that opening the auction 24-72 hours prior to your event will raise more funds. We really like the 72 hour bidding window for building momentum to the event day. Some organizations may do as much as a week prior to their event, but bidding may plateau during the day or so before the event.
3-Consider closing the auction after the event
For most events, closing the auction on the night of your live event will yield top dollars and be more efficient in providing auction pick up. However, your event may choose to close the auction the day after the event or manage auction pick up after the event. This is a great option for events with a national engagement of bidders. This can also help ease the logistics burden of bringing all of the items onsite to the event – pick up can happen at your office!
4-Less items onsite
This brings us to the onsite execution. You will see much smaller auction displays in 2022. Many organizations will opt to not create a physical display of every item and may even forgo an auction display all together. The benefits of this include less staff/volunteer hours needed for set up and tear down and not needing to transport auction items to the event space. The cons are that your guests enjoy walking around looking at the items. We recommend a balance of having some of the baskets and fun to look at items onsite – but to allow the gift cards to live online or create a poster board that represents them.
5-Most wanted items
Food & drink still tops the charts for best return on investment for silent auction packages. Rare whiskeys and bourbons are gaining momentum and often sell for twice the value. As we experience rising gas and airline prices, the staycation package is seeing greater interest again as well. We love mixing this with something like a great cabin getaway package that includes a personal chef!
There are many auction best practices that continue to hold true (start bidding at 40% of value, bid increments by 10-15%), but it’s fun to see these slight changes as live event re-emerge in the Twin Cities. Has mobile bidding remains the primary place for communication, ensure that you are writing short but detailed descriptions and take the time to take and edit your display photos.
Best of luck to you on your fundraising adventure! If you are finding that managing your silent auction is taking you away from connecting with your donors, give us a call, we would love to help!