There are several reasons for this. The most common is that silent auctions are time consuming to prepare. Silent auctions also tend to have a low return on investment and they require a lot of volunteers to pull off.
The trend with my clients is clear: sixty percent of the nonprofits I work with would rather focus on putting together a large fundraising event with stellar live auction items and an amazing Fund-A-Need.
However, canceling a silent auction doesn’t work for all nonprofits. Schools, for example, can greatly benefit from continuing their silent auctions if they are currently a successful source of revenue. The integration of mobile bidding technology with a traditional silent auction allows schools to increase their reach, encouraging extended family members to support their niece or nephew’s education through an online silent auction.
If your organization chooses not to skip the traditional silent auction event, here are a few tips for maximizing your fundraising:
Hold Two Events
There is no rule that says you can’t hold two separate events. Hold both an exclusive gala and a wider appeal silent auction at different times of the year. Save the big ticket items and direct appeal for your gala event, which will likely include donors with a higher capacity to give.
Fill your silent auction with items that have a broad appeal and a variety of price points. If you hold your gala in the fall, consider scheduling your silent auction in the spring. This way you will be able to capitalize on both segments of your donor population and potentially encourage people to donate twice a year.
Take It Online
Keep costs down by hosting your silent auction online. List your auction items two to three weeks before your live event. People will be able to participate and bid even when they may not be able to attend a live event. Donors will be more than happy to purchase an auction item online to help support the cause with just a few clicks. Mobile bidding technology makes it easier than ever for nonprofit organizations to extend the reach of their silent auction events.
To determine if your organization should cancel your silent auction, take a close look at the time it took to procure each item. Factor in how much your time is worth per hour. If you are surprised by how much money you are spending in time on procuring your items, then it may not be worth it. Imagine what else you could be doing with that time in terms of donor cultivation, donor outreach, and major gift solicitation.