1) Have a Focus
Target is such a great store because you can get anything you want in one trip. How many of us have gone to Target for toilet paper and walked out with new pillows, a new t-shirt for the kids and a couple picture frames? You had only planned to spend $10 on that toilet paper and you end up walking out the door spending around $100. You don’t want your donors to feel any sense of regret for picking up items at your auction that they never planned on acquiring. Instead, your silent auction should be focused. Try holding a silent auction where you only have one type of item. How about just travel, art or wine. Let’s use wine as an example here. You want to have a variety of price points which allows donors to bid on not just wine, but also wine charms, decanters, aerators, refrigerators etc. This focus trains your audience to know that they can expect a highly curated silent auction each year, rather than a random assortment of items.
2) Theme Each Table
It’s quite frustrating when you’re chatting with other silent auction attendees and they tell you about a great item in which they’ve just bid. “Oh, what table is that item at?” It’s not helpful for someone to tell you it’s at the table table three away from the door. Instead, make sure your tables are clearly marked by color or theme. If your silent auction focus is on wine, have all of the Italian wines at one table with an Italian flat over the table or float red, white and green baloons over it. Make it as easy as possible for donors to find what they are looking for.
3) Use Tech
Gone are the days of lining up at a table to write your name, bidder number, and bid on a sheet of paper. Today's silent auctions run better for your donors through technology. My Generosity Auctions clients use lots of mobile-bidding technologies. Right now Givergy is very popular for running silent auctions. They love that their donors can enjoy cocktail hour and peruse items from their phone all night long without looking to check and see if they have been outbid.
4) Don’t Have too Many Items
Your ultimate goal is to raise as much money as you can in a single night. Instead of having too many items, many of which will never receive more than one bid, have fewer items. Donors will be able to focus their donation when they have a limited amount of items. A good rule of thumb is one item of for every 4 couples. So if your event has 300 hundred people, you’d want around 36 items. Competition increases when the supply is contracted.
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