As a Fundraising Charity Auctioneer, I have witnessed many organizations either eliminating their silent auctions altogether, or making it as a separate event from their annual gala. The main reason that my clients say they are eliminating their silent auction is it’s time consuming for both staff and volunteers. You need massive amounts of volunteers and staff time to procure the items, set up and break down the silent auction area, and chase donations. When all the work is completed, often times there’s not a high return on investment, especially when you account for the time spent by staff. These days organizations would rather focus on putting together a Gala event with higher ticket live auction items and stellar Fund-A-Need|Paddle Raise and skip the silent auction part of the event.
However, canceling a silent auction doesn’t work for all groups. K-12 schools, for example, may choose to keep the silent auction as it raises additional, needed dollars for scholarships, operations and STEM programming. Here are some tips if you choose not to cancel the silent auction aspect of your fundraising efforts.
Hold Two Events
There is no rule that says you can’t hold two separate events. Save your gala for your formal event with big ticket items and a direct appeal. If you hold your gala in the fall, consider having a separate, silent auction only event in the spring. You’ll be able to capture a different audience when you hold two events.
Take It Online
In order to keep costs down, save your staff and committee time for your gala. You can list silent auction items online, two to three weeks before your gala. By listing your items online, you provide promotion for your event and you open up the amount of people who can participate in your fundraising efforts. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and co-workers will be able to participate even when they may not be able or interested in attending your gala, but they will be more than happy to purchase an auction item online to help support the student. Furthermore, we live in an an era of technology - why not bring your fundraising into this millennium with online bidding technology?
Hit The Carpool Lane
A tip for a school charity auction, use the area where parents gather to pick up and drop off their kids as a place to display silent auction items. Set up standard silent auction tables in the gym or hallways and display items and have good old fashion silent auction bid sheets. This encourages parents who are waiting for their children to peruse and bid on silent auction items. The silent auction can be open for the entire week leading up to the gala and close the day before the event. This also allows parents who are not coming to the gala to bid on items and support the school as well.
For more Charity Auction ideas and helpful tips on planning your next charity fundraiser, follow Generosity Auctions on Facebook or Instagram @GenerosityAuctions. Abra Annes is the leading Charity Auctioneer based in California. Abra is the owner and founder of Generosity Auctions, the premier choice for Non-Profit Organizations looking to maximize their event fundraising.