The Silent auctions is a big part of a raising funds. However there are some definite ways to improve performance from your silent auction. My goal is your goal, to raise more funds! Here are some guidelines from the 'Good News' Auctioneer!
Draw attention to the Silent Auction - The Silent auction should start at the beginning of the night when patrons are still mingling and catching up. However the silent auction should never be silent! George Franco and his 'Good News' Auctioneers are in place during the silent, gently drawing attention to the silent auction, the upcoming live auction, fund a need and the important mission of your non-profit, school or foundation.
Should we go Mobile or Paper ?
Mobile - Technology allows your team to conduct the silent auction on a mobile platform. Software allows patrons to bid on their cell phones or a smart pad, making it easier to track the dollars. However mobile technology also requires your team to learn the software, which integrates collecting funds from the live auction, fund a need and other revenue raisers.
Paper - If your team decides on paper, remember to place the bidding increments on the carbonless double or triple silent auction bid sheets. When using paper close the silent auction section by section. Save the 'premium' pricier lots for last.
Closing the Silent Auction - Closing the silent auction before the live auction frees patrons from uncertainty. When your silent auction remains open throughout the night, it allows patrons to over analyze giving. Too often we've observed donors delay donating because they are holding off until the silent auction closes at the end of the night. What happens? Ultimately patrons will simply do nothing.
If the silent auction is paper based, the 'Good News' Auctioneer recommends closing it before patrons are seated for dinner. We recommend using long flowing table cloths which can be pulled over the items when closed. Also remove the first copies of the bidding sheets, leaving the final sheet signals the silent auction is closed. When using paper bid sheets close the silent auction section by section. Save the 'premium' pricier lots to close last, saving your best money for the end. Let's talk further about other options.
If the silent auction is software based, the 'Good News' Auctioneer recommends closing the silent auction either before the live auction. Typically a text is sent to patrons alerting them of the imminent closure of the silent auction. Timing the closure properly will spur patrons to competitive bidding, leading to more funds. One option is to close the silent auction very deliberately during the live auction. We set aside two or three minutes where patrons pull out their cell phones to bid on silent auction items before moving on with the rest of the live auction. The 'Good News' Auctioneer will you weed through the details to optimize your fundraising success!
Traffic Flow - Avoid bottle necks. One mistake we often see is placement of bars and food stations. Place the liquor destinations or snack tables at the end of the row of silent auction tables. Placing them at the entrance will lead to backups which interfere with silent auction success. It's best to use round tables, U-shaped tables and lots of corners can also lead to back ups. Make it easy for your patrons to donate!
Organize Sections - Instead of 'Man Cave' or 'Spa Section' use color to help patrons quickly understand your
silent auction items. This way it's easier for the 'Good News' Auctioneer and his team to advise patrons on silent auction items. Instead of sorting items by categories sort them by value. It's easy to mark the tables with colored table cloths, balloons or other decor. Making it easy for patrons to quickly identify your silent auction sections makes it easier for them to bid which translates to more funds!
How Many Silent Auction Items? - You want enough but not too many silent auction items. Too many items sets up a bargain hunt. And if you offer a bargain hunt, patrons WILL bargain hunt, reducing your revenue. On the other hand, too few items can unrealistically send prices too high. Many patrons will be priced out too early. Generally it's best to divide the number of bidders in your crowd by 2 or less to find the right balance. For example, if there are 200 patrons attending that typically means 100 people will be potential bidders. Typically people show up in couples. So, 200 really means 100 bidders, probably less considering some people show up single. So the number is about 80 bidders divided by 2 = 40 items. The 'Good News' Auctioneer can help you figure out what the right amount for your great event.
What ever the issues or complications are with your silent auction, The 'Good News' Auctioneer can help!