How to Run Your Silent Auction Fundraiser
Now that you have set the date and location and have collected the sale items for your silent auction fundraiser, you need to prepare for the auction day itself. Preparation is key; having things organized before hand will help the sale to run smoothly which makes people stay around longer and keep bidding. Here are tips to help you prepare.
Before the Silent Auction
*If you haven’t already, make a spread sheet listing all of the donated items; the item, item description, an item number, who donated it, the retail value, and starting bid. Then print out a paper or two per item listing these details at the top and put numbered lines below for people to write their names and bids.
*For a professional look and to make it easy for potential buyers to bid, place each item’s sheet on its own clipboard and attach a pen to it. Alternatively you can tape them to the tables to keep them in place.
*Prior to the silent auction, compile a booklet of items that will be for auction. Some people like to see all of the items listed as a whole before walking into the bidding area.
*If you haven’t yet, decide on how long of a preview time you will have for people to come and look at the items. Usually an hour to hour and a half is sufficient. Also decide the ending time. Silent auctions work best as half day events done in conjunction with other activities. Make sure that these times are clearly stated in the advertisements.
*Create and print up bidding and payment procedures. For bidding people should write their name and a whole dollar amount on the paper of the items they want. When they are outbid they can raise their bid by writing their name and higher bid below the previous high bidder. For paying it is best to set up two areas; one where people pay and one where they collect their purchases. Direct them to pay first, get a receipt and then show the receipt to the people who are distributing the items.
*Obtain a cash box and plenty of change and/or a credit card procesor.
*Set out donations. You can sort them by price or by type such as gift cards, foods, services and clothing. Don’t put two similar items near each other; spread things out to keep people moving around. It’s better to use two rooms rather than stuff everything in one room.
Day of the Silent Auction
*Post bidding and buying procedures or hand them out to attendees.
*Have items arranged and with bidding papers and pens next to each item.
* Open the doors on time.
* Make closing announcements one hour, thirty minutes and ten minutes prior to ending the auction.
*At ending time, have appointed volunteers collect the item sheets and items, taking them to thier own respecitve areas.
*As customers pay, make sure to mark the item as paid and then have them take their item sheet to the other area to pick up their item. Make sure to keep the bidding sheets for your records.