The Five Essential Elements of a Successful Silent Auction
During a recent speaking engagement, I mentioned that some participants might want to eliminate their silent auctions and instead offer a well-orchestrated Fund a Need auction.
I wasn’t kidding. Well-orchestrated online silent auction ideas Fund a Needs surpass the silent auction revenue at a number of my clients’ galas. And a growing number of my clients are keen to eliminate their silent auctions.
For instance, one client has a large event (over 800 guests) and offers 80 to 100 items in her silent auction. She called me one day to discuss this. Here was our conversation.
- SHE: “I’m running some numbers. Do you think we could get rid of the silent auction and make up the difference by adding a few more live auction items and improving the Fund a Need?”
- ME: “Why do you want to get rid of the silent auction?”
- SHE: “Because it’s a huge, time-sucking, pain in my rear and it only makes us $XX,XXX.”
- ME: “Tell me how you really feel… “
She’s not my only client with this “kill it” attitude.
Another client eliminated her silent auction years ago. Her 300 guests enjoy a raffle during the reception period. No silent auction. No games. She offers nothing but a raffle.
“I HATE silent auctions,” she confided in me the first year we worked together, “Oh how I hate them.”
It will depend on your gala as to whether it makes sense to cancel the silent auction.
With the first client I mentioned, the silent auction has been kept. With the other client, she’s never offered one and has no plans to.
Here’s one thing I know. If you’re going to run a Fund A Need auction, don’t assume that because you’ve observed it a couple times at other galas, you understand the mechanics of it. To do so would be like saying that you — as a guest at a wedding — understand what the bride is thinking.
Honey, you have no idea what the bride is thinking.
Think about it. The bride knows everything happening behind the scenes. As a guest, you lack that information.
- The bride noticed that the caterer swapped out the portobellos in the appetizers for cheaper white cap mushrooms.
- The bride knows Aunt Ellen is unhappy with the seating chart and has demanded to sit at a different table, away from cousin Margo.
- The bride got a phone call telling her the band is stuck in traffic.
- The bride knows that she’s suffering through a blister on her right heel.
The bride isn’t happy about any of these developments. Yet as a guest at her wedding, you’re unaware.
There you sit, starry-eyed and enjoying the celebration. You probably think the bride looks lovely. And you’re swallowing those appetizers without realizing the mushrooms are all wrong.