You’ve put a lot of time and energy into preparing your silent auction. There have been loads of phone calls, lots of legwork, and plenty of research and thought has gone into the structure and lots. That’s without even mentioning any promotional efforts you’ve made to raise awareness. It can be soul destroying to make all this effort to create a great event only for it to fall flat on the day.
Thankfully, there are ways you can make sure your silent auction is successful financially. Below we’ll show you some ways to increase your chances of success.
Show your items in the right way
This applies to both the physical items presentation and a catalogue or sheet that contains the lots. Keep in mind the lighting of the room they are being displayed in, and maximise the positioning to garner the most attention. A successful silent auction will be anything but silent. Embrace the noise to inform bidders of different items, and encourage them to revisit their bids before time runs out.
When you’re providing a brochure of lots use unusual but positive language to accentuate and elevate the items in the mind of the reader. Always include a picture of the lots on the sheets to help engage people in a visual way.
Accept bids in a way that creates tension
Only accept a single bid from each participant on any given item. Using single sealed bids through the brochure can be a great way to increase the amounts of bids. When someone knows they only get one shot at a lot they are interested in, they are more likely to bid higher so they don’t miss out. Always ensure there are plenty of spare bid sheets or brochures available, and there is a supply of pens to hand, as a bidder may well want to resubmit their bid if they’re getting nervous about missing out on an item.
Some of the newer digital methods allow bidders to place several bids on each item, which can remove some of the tension and urgency that drives bids up.
Play to your auctions strengths
Depending on the purpose of your auction, you could potentially seek sponsorship for the event. When a silent auction is performed to raise money for charity, a sponsorship deal can be a great way to cover costs and get extra lots for your event. Try with companies that are more likely to be relevant to your bidders. They can also help to garner extra attention and increase your visibility before the event starts, increasing the number of attendees.
Ensure questions are answered
Having a few volunteers that are easily recognisable as part of the auction provides bidders with a source of information. They can also approach people that look undecided and engage them in conversation. They can answer questions on individual lots or the process of bidding, either way; it will help to provide you with invaluable feedback.