6. Silent Auction
Silent auctions can be a stand-alone affair or part of a larger event like a gala dinner or awards ceremony.
What You’ll Need
A promotion strategy – there’s such a thing as a silent auction that’s, well, too silent. This happens when no one comes. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to have a pre-auction promotion strategy.
Consider sending students home with flyers advertising the auction, posting about it on your school’s social media accounts, or targeting parents directly with direct mail.
Location – depending on the number of items you have, you’re going to need a large space to display them. Most schools elect to host their silent auctions in a gym or library.
Items – the most important part. The items you choose to auction off need to be things that people actually want to bid on. Popular items include sports tickets, travel packages, household items, the latest tech, wine bundles, movie tickets, and other similar things.
There are two main ways to get items for a silent auction – ask local businesses to donate items or buy them yourself. Most schools use a combination of both strategies.
Bidding system – In order to collect bids from attendees, it’s important that you have a bidding sheet for each item. Remember, this is a silent auction, so discretion is paramount. Consider assigning each person a bidding number so that they do not need to use their real name on the bidding sheet.
There are even silent auction apps you can use to make the process easier.
The amount of money you can generate from a silent auction really depends on how many people you get to attend and the value of the items you’re auctioning off. Some silent auctions generate tens of thousands of dollars.
Keep in mind, you’ll need to subtract the cost of the items you purchase from the total revenue generated.
You can also set up an online silent auction, which is a great way to fundraise when public gatherings are limited.
How to Set Up an Online Silent Auction
Choose an auction host – there are many online auction vendors available for you to choose from, including Onecause, Silent Auction PRO, 24 Fundraiser, Auction Event Solutions, and others.
Round up items – approach local businesses and ask if they would like to donate items for your auction. If they’re not willing to give these items aways for free, ask if they’d consider accepting a discount price.
Take photos – next, take some photos (or videos) of your items. Make sure these photos are decent quality and are taken in good lighting. The better your items look, the higher people will bid! After you take the photos, upload them to your silent auction vendor.
Decide on a starting bid – you don’t want to auction off items for less than what they’re worth. Find out the value of each item and set that as the starting bid.
Pick a date – advertise the date of your online silent auction to those who are most likely to attend.
Ship items to winning bidders – after the auction has concluded, pack and ship items to the participants who had the highest bids!