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Fundraising Tip – A silent auction

You’re planning your next fundraising event and it is up to you and your team to decide on whether or not there will be a silent auction.

Last year there was. And the year before.

Many complain about the time and energy that have been put into silent auctions, and you think perhaps the time has come to pass on the idea.

As a fundraiser and as someone who loves a good (note: good) silent auction, I say go for it.

These are a few things I incorporate that will make your next silent auction rock without affecting your budget or draining you and your team:

Create a budget of how much you want to net.

As you secure items, add a conservative value to them, meaning how much you think you will get.

Build partnerships and relationships with those who donate items just as you would with those who donate money. This is important. I add this because I have created life-long relationships with businesses through original participation in a silent auction, and I have become a donor to organizations who I first met through a silent auction.

People (including myself) love bidding on experiences. Think of a staycation or a super-sweet place to stay that is a short distance away. Or a type of uncommon gift. I have definitely bid on those!

If you’re thinking of a trip further away, it’s not easy securing airline tickets and I have found that if an incredible package including lodging can be created then you don’t necessarily need airfare. Sometimes the tickets get in the way of how your donor wants to do their trip.

Don’t have more than one or two of the same item. I’ve seen too many auctions with five photography sessions or massages. Too many.

You might be thinking that all of this is great but your organization doesn’t have an event where you could do a silent auction. No worries! Create one online! I have bid on items for online auctions supporting various causes and I honestly don’t even know if they had an event associated with it. They may have, but the auction was complete without anything else.

While on this idea, one of the best holiday gifts I’ve ever gotten for my husband came from an online auction for a nonprofit that sent me a link via Twitter, inviting me to bid in their auction.

Lastly, please know that I am fully aware that this takes time. I can’t give you that. I can tell you that it’s possible to plan and execute a successful silent auction without it being a complete drain on staff and volunteers. Perhaps that is another article!

Take a risk. Be of service. Support your friends and colleagues. Be kind.

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