Silent auctions and online charity auctions have become very popular fundraising initiatives for nonprofit and community organizations. Not only do silent auctions have tremendous fundraising potential, but they are a great way to bring people from your organization and community together in a meaningful way.
The Keys to Success
There are many important factors to consider when planning a charity auction, however one of the most important will be obtaining the items to auction off at the event. The more creative you are in sourcing donated items and the more valuable these items are perceived by the auction attendees…the more successful you’ll be in your fundraising efforts. After all, the items are what people are bidding on, and therefore are ultimately bringing in the dollars! For more helpful tips to help you organize a silent auction or online charity auction event, visit “How to Run a Silent Auction”.
Be Creative in Sourcing Auction Items:
Every silent auction typically has some core items that provide a strong base for your auction display and appeal to a broad audience. These items are usually relatively easy to acquire and may include things such as: hotel stays or weekend get-away packages, gift certificates from local restaurants and retail locations, and tickets to professional sporting events. We’ve also provided a quick overview of some no-risk charity auction items.
However, don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Consider soliciting donations in more creative ways, making your silent auction event different than any other charity auction out there! Have you considered service donations? Rather than your run-of-the-mill retail gift certificates, how about a certificate for up-keep or landscaping services? If your charity auction is hosted by a high-school, why not offer babysitting or yard-work services?
Lastly…use your networks! Find out if anyone in your organization or community has connections to famous celebrities, sports figures or artists. Autographed memorabilia or unique “one-of-a-kind” collectables may not only bring in higher bids, but also attract a more upscale audience with dollars to spend. They may even attend your auction specifically to bid on a certain item.
Promote Your Charity Auction Event:
Another important factor is promoting your event. You can have the rarest of treasures to auction off at your event, but if nobody knows about it…the items do you no good. Use your networks to inform people about the fundraiser. Post an announcement on your website, send an email invitation, ask volunteers, sponsors and participants to help spread the word. Issue a press release to local media with information about the charity event making sure to emphasize how donations will support your cause. Be sure to highlight rare items that will be up for bid, as well as any activities or entertainment that might be part of your charity auction event. Be sure to list your auction URL if online bidding is allowed.
Allow for Online Bidding:
Taking your auction online opens the event up to a much larger audience that extends beyond your local community. An online auction allows for more detailed information about each item up for bid including: product images, item values and reserve amounts, links to the donator’s web page, optional “Buy Now” pricing and more. In addition, it gives people who are unable to attend the actual event a chance to bid on items. An online auction can be easily promoted through social networking channels, email blasts, online links from your webpage, etc. Today, people often prefer conducting business online as it’s easy, accessible from anywhere in the world, and allows for secure payment processing…so don’t discount taking your auction online. If you do you’re your auction online, DoJiggy’s charity auction software allows administrators to easily post auction items, manage event registrations and sponsorships, and provides a secure way for people to place bids.
Auction Resources and Tools:
We’ve posted a number of helpful charity auction resources and tools to help you get started including: charity auction “quick tips”, guidelines to help you create silent auction rules, and downloadable silent auction forms such as: silent auction bid sheets, item donation forms, sponsor request letters, and more.