One way to help ensure that your charity fundraising event attracts a healthy amount of attention and also raises a lot of money is to hold a silent auction. While the live auction format we’re all familiar with is a loud, and often frenzied, affair that dominates the proceedings for an hour or less, a silent auction can run for several hours alongside other events. This makes silent auctions ideal adjuncts to charity fundraisers such as school fun runs, spaghetti dinners, church bazaars, wine and cheese evenings, Halloween parties or dance competitions.
Celebrity auction items can truly boost your fundraising efforts
When you’re planning a silent auction silent auction ideas event to raise cash for a cause such as your school, church, hospital or a worthwhile charity, you need to be sure you get the right mix of lots to auction off. It should come as no surprise that silent auction items that are unique and interesting will garner the most attention – and the best bids. For example, celebrity memorabilia such as autographed sports equipment, clothing, music CDs and movie DVDs are always coveted by fans of the sports personality, singer or actor in question. Many people would be prepared to pay a high price for something like a guitar signed by Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton or even a prominent local rock musician.
Likewise, the opportunity to attend an event where well-known people are present can hold a high value for many fans, especially when the money is destined for a good cause. Tickets to a movie premiere or the Formula 1 championship, or a backstage pass to a Justin Bieber concert are likely to create plenty of buzz, and are excellent items for a school fundraising drive, for instance. Create unusual fundraising ideas such as substituting silent auction items with unique in-person encounters with celebrities. A lucky fan might be able to bid on lunch or dinner with her favorite soap opera star, a recording session with a successful country singer, or 18 holes with a golf champion.
The value of using an experienced charity fundraising firm
Instead of trying to procure your celebrity silent auction items yourself, you should work with a professional company that specializes in sourcing goods of this nature. This type of charity fundraising business will have an extensive network of sources for genuine articles donated and signed by famous people. The company will be able to suggest items that would be relevant and interesting to the people who will attend your benefit. Let’s say you hold a school fundraising evening for your local high school: you’ll want your silent auction to include some things that will appeal to teenagers, and others that will be appreciated by their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. A further advantage of using a seasoned charity auction specialist is that you can take the goods on a consignment basis and then simply return any that fail to attract adequate bids, without having to pay a penny for them.
On the day of the auction: a few tips
Here are some simple silent auction ideas to help make your benefit a big hit:
– Locate the event in a place that receives plenty of traffic. Near the main entrance, or adjacent to where people line up to buy tickets or fetch food or drinks are two good places to hold your silent auction.
– Display your auction items attractively, and number each lot clearly. If an article can’t be brought to the venue, or if it’s an intangible item such as a pair of concert tickets or a meeting with a celebrity, include a photo or other suitable representation instead.
– Bundle several smaller, related items together to make a more valuable lot.
– Mark each bid sheet clearly with the name and number of the item, and tape the paper to the table. People are often carrying something – a drink, a plate of food or a purse – in one hand, so make it as easy as possible for them to enter their bids.
– Even though it’s a silent auction, you still need an MC to announce each item and provide a brief description of it. This will help to draw the participants’ attention back to the auction from time to time. At a school fundraising event, it might be fun to have one or more of the students act as MC if they’re old enough.
– Make sure the MC also lets people know in good time when bidding will close. This will raise people’s level of interest in the proceedings, and can generate a flurry of bids at the last minute.