There’s no denying the positive impact that a successful silent auction can have on an organization. Silent auctions make for an engaging activity for guests and an awesome revenue generator for your fundraising – it’s a win-win!
In order to make your silent auction a success, every nonprofit needs clear rules for your guests (and volunteers) to ensure everything runs smoothly.
We’ve outlined 6 essential silent auction rules any nonprofit can use to execute the best auction yet. This blog will cover:
To help your silent auction reach its highest potential and maximize proceeds, you must have silent auction rules in place to execute a seamless event.
From bidder registration, to auction procedures, to guest checkout, having silent auction rules helps to improve the donor experience and reduces onsite headaches.
The top types of silent auction rules you should include are:
Use registration as a way to introduce your silent auction rules before your guests start bidding.
Remember to include rules surrounding the silent auction items available at your event, including:
These rules ensure that your organization will not be responsible for changes or fine print restrictions.
A smooth bidding process is key to a flawless attendee experience. Before bidding begins, be sure to spell out:
Be sure to have silent auction rules that outline any legal restrictions:
Make sure your silent auction comes to a successful close by establishing these rules:
Don’t make it hard on yourself and your volunteers when trying to unite winners with their items. Establish rules that explain the checkout process:
FREE BONUS: Download our Charity Auction Planning Guide. You can save this resource as a PDF and use it for your organization’s next charity auction event. Take your next auction to the next level with this downloadable resource!
Now that we’ve established what rules are essential for success, here are 7 do’s and don’ts of a silent auction to ensure your event goes off without a hitch.
In order to plan and run a successful event, you need to have a powerful and organized team of volunteers. This group sets up the event, manages the floor, answers attendees’ questions, and enforces your newly created silent auction rules.
So where can you find these volunteers? Round up your email list that includes your:
SILENT AUCTION TIP: In your communications, explain the event, where the proceeds go, and most importantly – how your volunteers help contribute to success!
We know it might be hard to imagine a situation where you have more items than you need, but it happens more than you think!
While an influx of items is great, over-procuring items may:
SILENT AUCTION TIP: Package your items into bundles to create more attractive silent offerings. Wrapping multiple items into one package will entice donors and drive more revenue.
Each section of your silent auction should be organized with clear signage. Some ideas include:
SILENT AUCTION TIP: Begin the flow of your auction with your less valuable section and end with your most valuable. By saving the best for last you’ll dramatically increase competition among bidders and revenue for your organization.
Paper bids have gone out of style. From deciphering handwriting to manually entering in bid data, there’s plenty of room for errors. Luckily, mobile bidding offers your donors an easier way to bid while generating more revenue.
SILENT AUCTION TIP: Bidding from their phones allows supporters to participate in your auction – opening up new revenue streams, making bidding easy, and replacing the need for paper bid sheets.
Ensure your silent auction items yield the maximum profit by including:
SILENT AUCTION TIP: When choosing a starting bid, industry experts suggest using 40-50% of the Fair Market Value (FMV). Ultimately, the minimum bids and minimum bid increments are up to the discretion of your organization. But the higher the starting bid price, the faster you can get to your goals.
Your event’s flow will need to be as thoughtfully planned out as the busiest intersection in town. You’ll want individuals to be able to move quickly and efficiently through your silent auction items, bidding on those that strike their fancy. Make sure to:
SILENT AUCTION TIP: When you make it easy for your donors to bid, auction proceeds skyrocket!
Your event might be over, but your work is not. Follow up with your attendees and thank them for their support!
Promptly send thank-you notes to everyone who was involved with your event, including:
SILENT AUCTION TIP: In your thank-you notes, don’t forget the importance of telling your supporters how the money will be used to power your mission.
Executing a silent auction is no small feat. By putting clear silent auction rules in place and following the do’s and don’ts above, you’ll be setting your organization up for success.