Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising and charity auctions.
Silent auctions are your organization's "one night only" storefront. And just like a brick-and-mortar retailer, creating an immersive shopping experience is key to generating revenue. Part of the process is setting up the overall decor, like tables, lighting and decorations. But the highlights of the night are those great silent auction items. Do your silent auction item displays encourage people to stop, look and buy? Attractive silent auction displays can have a dramatic effect on the item's perceived value and thus bidding. Using the same colors, fonts and layout on all your display sheets also gives the event a professional, polished appearance—and saves hours of precious time. Fortunately, creating great silent auction displays is easier than you might think. Below are 6 elements of an effective item display sheet, plus a link to receive our Silent Auction Item Display Templates bundle, our easy-to-use, 100% customizable templates (with instructions) that will take your upcoming event to the next level.
In recent weeks, we have discussed strategies to help your silent auction draw in as much revenue as possible by procuring buzzworthy auction items, prepping donors to bid and setting appropriate opening bids. What about running the event itself? While every event is bound to have a few hiccups, here are 3 things you can do before your silent auction that, when done right, will help the night go as smoothly as possible. 1. Designate these volunteer positions Volunteers are an essential part of most organizations' operations year-round. Here are a few volunteer positions that can benefit any auction:
You are probably familiar with this common scenario: You’re going along planning your event, the venue has been secured for months, auction items have been procured, programs printed and everything seems to be in place... until you realize that you are running out of space for your silent auction tables! You have more items to put out, but there isn’t enough room for additional tables - and getting more space does not appear to be an option. What should you do?? Before you panic, ask yourself a few questions… Are you sure you can’t get more space? Where are the bars located? Can they be moved? Is there another room, hallway or outdoor area that you can use? How about making “islands” of tables in the middle of the room? As you assess your event space and look for solutions to add more tables, let's make sure the tables you already have set up are done so properly...
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.
It's no secret that competition for charitable donations is very high. As a result, it is important for charities and nonprofit organizations to develop unique fundraisers that distinguish their group from other organizations competing for the same donor dollars.