Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising and charity auctions.
Nonprofits often turn to events to mix up their fundraising activities, engage supporters, and spread awareness of their mission. Auctions are among the most popular fundraising events because in addition to these benefits, they have the potential to bring in significant revenue for your organization.
When your nonprofit hosts a silent auction, the items are the star of the show. After all, you’ll only hit your fundraising goal by motivating supporters to bid on your high-value prizes! To encourage competitive bidding, showcasing your items in an appealing way is essential, and one way to do this is through well-designed bid sheets. Although bid sheets are primarily a tool to track which auction participants are vying for which items, they can also grab supporters’ attention and provide them with key information to help them decide if and how much to bid on a particular prize.
Are fundraising events going extinct in 2018?
As experts in event fundraising, we always encourage those procuring auction items to think outside the box. Simply put, one-of-a-kind items that surprise and delight donors bring in the highest bids.
Bidding wars are awesome. They are intense, competitive and exciting for everyone in the room. It can also help raise a lot of money on a single auction item. That being said, bidding wars are also elusive and almost impossible to anticipate or create. There's just no guarantee that any of the items you've selected will ignite enough interest to get your event patrons to compete with each other. Or is there...?
The last thing you want is for your guests to ignore the exciting silent auction items you've worked so hard to secure. Here are a few tried-and-true strategies to help draw donors to the silent auction tables and encourage more bidding activity. 1. Arrange the Room Strategically Popular retailers are very deliberate about the way they arrange stores and display merchandise to entice shoppers to spend money. The next time you walk through Nordstrom, take a look at the way items are presented in various departments. Observe everything from the amount of space separating displays to the little artistic knick-knacks that add to the "look & feel" of a collection. The same concept applies to silent auction tables, where presentation is just as important for enticing donors to bid. Consider these tips when you set up your displays: Arrange your silent auction tables with adequate space between them so guests can move freely. Incorporate visual cues such as colorful balloons, lights or signage to mark pathways and other points of interest. Set up drink stations on the opposite side of the auction-staging area so when guests want a fresh beverage they'll have to walk through the silent auction. Spruce up your tables with decorations that compliment the theme of the event or the mission of your organization. 2. Distribute a Silent Auction Item Catalog A great tool for all of your guests is to create a simple and attractive catalog in Microsoft Word with pictures and brief descriptions of all the items up for auction. Strategically place the catalog throughout the event on dining tables, at the bar and even in the bathrooms. For a link to download our professionally designed, 100%-customizable auction catalog template for Microsoft Word, click below: If you have a large selection of silent auction items, select only the top 20-30 to include in the catalog. You can also use this list of top items in the event program and to promote the event in email newsletters, on social media and on your website. The printed information will give all guests (even those who can't attend) a chance to browse the items, increasing the chances they will bid.