Running a successful business brings its share of responsibilities, not the least of which is the part that you must play as a member of a social group. If you would like your firm to be an active participant in the community, and contribute to a cause that is held dear, chances are that it will require at least some financial commitment. If the project is ambitious, you might need to augment your own contribution with funds raised from other members of the community. Should that be the case, organizing a silent auction might be a great option.
This is an interesting fundraising tactic for individuals and organizations looking to galvanize wider support for a common cause. Organizing a silent auction could be great fun, if combined with a dinner banquet, and what’s more, it takes minimal effort. Successful silent auctions can help raise a lot of money quickly and can even turn into a talked about annual event for your organization (thereby creating a nice little buzz around it). The popularity of silent auctions have given rise to resource providers, such as auctionpay.com, and inspired books like “Fundraising through Silent Auctions: A Complete Guide”, available on amazon.com. If we’ve held your attention so far, don’t you want to know what organizing a silent auction really takes?
There is more give than take.
First and foremost, there needs to be a ideas for silent auction coming together of like minded people and entities. The members of the support group donate items that have a high “auction appeal”. These could be anything ranging from a fishing trip, artwork or a meeting with a celebrity. The items are displayed or promoted during the auction, with the intention of inviting bids from interested participants, who write them on bid sheets. The highest bid wins. That simple!
Organizing a silent auction is all about co-operation.
As soon as you decide to hold the auction, get a core group involved in the set-up activity, and nominate an auction chairperson as well. Select a time and place for the auction, bearing in mind the convenience of those who might like to attend. Now begins the fast and furious drive to garner the stuff that can be put up for auction. Rope in as many donors as possible; the more the merrier. Don’t stop with organizations that are similar to yours; talk to other members of the local business community to secure their participation – banks, antique shops, even hardware stores are fair game!
Make sure that someone is in charge of accumulating all the stuff in a central location. While it’s great to have as many items as possible, pick and choose depending on constraints of space, location and target bidder audience.
That being said, we would recommend featuring items across a broad price spectrum. After all, the idea of organizing a silent auction is to raise funds, and not everyone has uniformly high resources. But you can improve your success rate by presenting things that are either a good buy or rare to find. People will often willingly pay more for stuff that is unique.
Spread the good word.
To build excitement, you need to create a pre-auction publicity campaign. Let people know what they can expect from the event. Do not forget to include details of when, where and why it is taking place. Make sure the message is memorable and frequently seen or heard. Organizing a silent auction within another, larger event such as an annual convention, works well. In such cases, ensure that you include details about the auction within the registration pack of the main event.
Don’t cramp its style.
You will need a suitable space for organizing a silent auction. There has to be a facility to display the goods up for grabs, seat a large audience, allow for free passage as well as complete security. Make sure the room is well lit and airy.