Looking to raise money for your organisation or for a social cause? Silent auctions are a great way to realise your goal of raising funds. Compared to traditional auctions, they are fun and easy to host, organise and promote. If you are ready to host your next auction, this guide will help you get started in the right direction.
Before you get to host silent auctions, let us take a moment to understand how they work. Like a traditional auction, a silent auction works on the goal of inviting guests and attendees to be a part of an event, where they can place a bid and garner an item. The highest bidder wins the prize, and their proceedings go towards supporting a charity, a cause or a goal.
Unlike traditional auctions, a silent auction is hosted and run without any auctioneer. In a silent auction, attendees and guests present their bidding amount in a bid sheet, thus, making it a silent auction. Also, unlike a traditional auction, a silent auction is generally perceived as a more relaxed, and fun environment, and helps in building a sense of camaraderie and community to the event. A lot of organisations and communities have appreciated and embraced the silent auction format to raise money.
With the advent of technology, silent auctions have moved to the online world. Through an online bidding platform or a mobile app, guests and attendees can place their bids silently, and give towards a cause they care for. Compared to bid sheets, online silent auctions are a more streamlined, seamless and scalable way to raise funds.
Now that you know and understand the basics of silent auctions, and how they work, it’s time to get going and plan your first auction. Wait, before you get all too excited, take a moment to understand how an auction should be planned properly, so you can host a perfect event that engages your guests as well as helps you raise the required funds for your cause.
Step 1: Set up your auction committee
It’s easy (and tempting) to think that you can set up an auction all on your own. Trust us, it does not work that way, because hosting an auction is way more complex than it might seem. Ideally, you should form a small committee of dedicated people who can act as helping hands for your goal. Carefully identify the strengths of your committee members, and based on it, assign them clear, actionable tasks related to planning the auction.
Step 2: Identify the auction items
It goes without saying that the success of your online auction depends largely on the auction items at display. Yes, having a rewarding and positive cause will help you attract the interest of prospective guests, but in the end, they also care about the auction items a lot more than you might presume. Put simply, the more interesting and unique your auction items are, the more likely you are going to generate high bids from attendees. Now if you are short on funds or ideas on compiling valuable auction items, you can also reach out to local organisations, clubs and corporates for donations.
Step 3: Figure out the budget
Hosting an auction can be taxing, both mentally and financially. Lack of budgeting can further delay things and make things frustrating for a host. Ideally, you should plan the budget for an auction at least 3 months before hosting one. Be sure to consider all the fixed and variable costs required to host an auction – from arranging items and sending gifts to donors to promoting the auction and spreading the word about the auction. Further, determine the right pricing for your auction items, and for donated items, you can set up a minimum prize just below the actual retail price of the item.
Step 4: Plan your promotions
No matter how interesting or unique auction items you have planned, or how well organised your budget is, if you are not good at promoting the word about your online auction, you will not be able to reach your fundraising goals. The key to generating buzz about your cause is to create publicity for your event. You can start with social media and use the different platforms to start generating hype around the cause and auction items. Additionally, using emails and SMS are also good ways to keep your prospect guests interested and engaged before the auction day arrives. Further, you can also allocate on-premise and offline marketing activities to promote your auction and invite people in and around your community to participate in the online auction.
Now that you know all the bits and pieces about hosting your first online auction, the next step is to get into action mode and start with small steps. Organising and running a charity auction can be overwhelming, but you are not alone.
Charity Auctions Today is an amazing platform to build your auction in minutes, not days. All you need to do is to visit their online website, submit a few details and get your online silent auction up and running in no time!