How to Run a Silent Auction

How to Run a Successful Hassle-free Silent Auction

Learn the know-how in running a silent auction so that you can make the most out of items up for sale by reeling in profitable returns...
Unlike the kind of auction that involves an auctioneer calling out prices for items, while bidders raise paddles or their hands to bid for it, a silent auction uses an all together different approach. A silent auction is where items are placed on tables along with bidding sheets, where people browse through these items up for sale, while then writing their bidding amounts on those sheets available on the side. A silent auction is not an easy event to hold, especially if doing it for the first time. There are a lot of nitty-gritty details to cover and oversee of the silent auction, which can be dealt with easily once you get the hang of what needs to be done.

Fundraising is something anyone can plan out and execute, be it multinational companies, schools, universities or small organizations. The purpose of holding a silent auction is to be able to raise profits for a cause, or leave room open for donations that some businesses are willing to put in when they appear for the silent auction event. Once you have all your items sorted and laid out, and your venue set up to start off your auction, holding it will be a less stressful task than it took to plan it.

How to Run a Successful Silent Auction

There are important steps involved as part of a silent auction, where you can save yourself from running into a wall and bumping into unforeseen troubles, with these valuable tips.

Purpose of the Auction
When spreading the word about why you are holding your auction, make it clear about your cause and where the money will be sent to. Companies and those interested in donating money at the silent auction will need this information and you'll have to be prepared for questions about the details of your event. When you're carrying out your research, have someone look up companies who are regular at making appearances at fundraising events. It will also help to know which organizations make donations to charities so that the invitation can be extended specially to them as a way of having them consider the cause, if they want to put forward a donation.

Settling for a Good Date and Team
Do ample research if any other events are happening in your vicinity and try to select a date that does not coincide with another's. It is wise to first make sure that all those who are likely to attend fundraising events are free and available to attend yours. Work out the dates accordingly and then decide on a suitable time of the month. Put together a committee that you trust will carry out their individual assigned tasks without blunders. The last thing you need is to oversee problems that the team members have run into and need you to sort out. Choosing able people to work out different areas of the auction is important to make sure everything is smooth sailing until D-day. Meet members of the committee every two days to catch up on how things are progressing and what problems need to be dealt with before it all accumulates. Sorting it all out and smoothing out these trouble areas will do the whole team good.

The Place of the Event is Everything
Choosing a venue to set up your event has to be thought out without being hasty about where you want to set it up. Make sure it is a convenient location for everyone to show up, and held in a spacious area that gives people enough breathing room to walk around and place their bids. Trying not to let costs get the best of the event will help you cut down on unnecessary expenditure. Choose an area that the company can maybe provide within the premises or having an open lawn silent auction, if renting out a hall seems high-priced is also a good location.

Arranging Items for the Silent Auction
You need to know how each item needs to priced, by gauging how much more to price it at, depending on its original price tag. Minimum prices should also be mentioned to keep bidders aware of the price they need to start their bidding at. For items that are expensive, rare or unique, emphasize their importance and prices by placing them on tables where spot lighting illuminates these on display. Have volunteers stand around these tables in case people need help or more information on what is up for bidding. Place the bid sheets next to the items with a pen in place, so that each one can write down their bid. Tape these down to avoid it from creating a chaotic situation should any of them be misplaced.

Make Frequent Last Calls
As the end approaches, make an announcement on how much time is left for the bidding to close. Start off with 30 minutes down to 5; that way people will be a little faster in placing their final bids. Once the bids are made, have volunteers immediately collect all bidding sheets and have them brought to the judges to announce who gets the items.

Mode of Payment
Make it clear on how money is to be exchanged, either in cash, card or check. Design the bidding sheet in such a way that details like name, address and contact numbers are conveniently mentioned on paper. That way you can keep a record on bidders for future events, and keep track of their whereabouts by having these details with you.

You have to be able to understand the ropes of how fundraising events are put together. Maintain your group of contacts so that in the future you wouldn't have to worry about how to round-up those who could turn your event into a lucrative affair.