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3 Tips for Displaying Auction Items to Attract Fierce Bidding

Posted by Jeff Cova

3 Tips to Attract Fierce Bidding at Your Next Charity Auction Fundraiser

If you are hosting a silent auction at your charity fundraising event, it’s important to strategize the best way to present items to your guests. Presentation can have a huge impact on how much donors bid and directly affects how much money you raise at your event.

Use these 3 helpful tips for displaying items in a manner that will encourage fierce bidding from your audience.

1. Display All Information Upfront

It’s important that auction items not only look appealing to donors, but that donors know exactly what they are buying. Accurately representing the contents and restrictions of every item is critical to protect the credibility of your organization and sustainability of the event.

Donors need a clear idea of what they are bidding on, so make sure all pertinent information is displayed on easy-to- read accompanying display sheets. For each item, include:

  • Item title
  • Item information (this is where you can get creative to market the item in an appealing way)
  • Any restrictions or expiration dates
  • Location
  • Minimum bid

The item title should be big, bold and obvious (24-30 pt. font) with one or two easy-to-read sentences (14-16 pt. font) describing the item. Underneath the description include a list of all additional information, such as restrictions and other details. Use bullet points whenever possible!

To make silent auction item displays even easier at your next event, click below to download our customizable, easy-to-use templates.

Download Silent Auction Item Display Sheet Templates

2. Create a Shopping Experience

Think of your silent auction as a shopping experience for your guests. Just like retailers want to display merchandise in a way that attracts customers, you will want to present your items in a way to encourage bidding.

Auction Items on Display at a Charity Silent Auction

Even tiny improvements can make a big difference. For example, instead of putting two lift tickets to a local ski resort on the table, place them in a duffel bag with some hand warmers, sunglasses and some chapstick. You could even spruce up the display with a snow globe from home.

If you have gift certificates, use photos to entice donors. Bidders may just pass over a massage certificate on its own, but if you display a large photo of customers looking relaxed and enjoying themselves at the spa, people might be more tempted to bid.

Download our free list of over 300 amazing auction item ideas

3. Provide Adequate Space

When setting up auction items for a silent auction, don’t clutter the tables. Too many items crowded together can make bidders feel overwhelmed. To make the table look less cramped, leave 6-12 inches of space between items. Fewer items on a table will also help draw more attention to each individual package or basket.

You spend time decorating the party venue to look nice, but how much time do you spend on auction item logistics? Presenting your auction in an appealing and informative way will help encourage bidding and boost your fundraising efforts.

Get 26 Ideas for Creative Attractive Silent Auction Baskets

Event Production, Auction Displays
Jeff Cova
Jeff Cova
Jeff Cova, President of Winspire, Inc., has over 17 years of experience in the Nonprofit and fundraising industry. Prior to Winspire, Jeff worked for 5 years as the Director of Development at Cal State Fullerton before co-founding a company specializing in producing charity auctions for Nonprofits where he successfully produced the auctions for 250 of Southern California’s most successful fundraising events. In 2008 Jeff founded Winspre with the goal of helping non-profits across the country increase their event fundraising revenue and identify new fundraising sources. Jeff and his team at Winspire have helped over 12,000 non-profits to date.

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