As part of our fundraising event tips series, this article covers why you should use multiple auctions at your event. Having an auction at your event is a “must do” for groups wanting to raise serious money, but don’t forget that by using different auction formats you can take your fundraising to the next level.
Here are the auction formats you should be using:
- Live auction
- Silent auction
- Chinese auction
- Impact auction
A live auction is where you use an emcee or preferably, a professional auctioneer, to get the crowd involved with bidding heavily on every item being auctioned. You want to use a live auction format because it adds a touch of excitement and a sense of urgency when items are up for bid.
Using a professional auctioneer can boost your results by several orders of magnitude because they know exactly how to work the crowd and their smooth patter and showmanship keeps everyone’s attention focused on the bidding wars. And if you’re not even using a live auction at your fundraising event, then you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
Everyone is familiar with silent auctions and their ubiquitous signup sheets in front of a hodgepodge of gift baskets and spa certificates. If that’s all you are doing with your silent auctions, then here’s a few extra profit tips.
Group your silent auction items by theme, space their display tables around the venue in high-traffic spots where people have time to browse, and stagger the end times of different groupings.
By not ending your silent auctions all at the same time and by spreading themed groupings around the venue, you can call attention to them throughout the event and increase the number of bids received.
Using a Chinese auction lends a little variety to the fundraising approach because this method adds a raffle component. Instead of just bidding on a silent auction item, a Chinese auction involves selling batches of raffle tickets to supporters. Guests then deposit their raffle tickets into various fish bowls next to each auction item that the ticket holder wants to win.
When priced correctly, Chinese auctions can raise more money than silent auctions because everyone “bidding” has pre-paid for their chance by buying a batch of raffle tickets. That means you are getting a certain amount of dollars from everyone bidding, not just the top bid amount.
Impact auctions are an overlooked method that can truly raise a lot of money for your cause. An impact auction is best handled by a professional auctioneer or emcee who knows how to work the crowd.
In this auction format, all bids at each price point are accepted. Why? Because they are essentially a straight donation of the amount bid to “make an impact” for your cause. Each group donating at each bid level is publicly recognized for their generosity. And there is always a group of deep-pocketed individual bidders who like to be the last ones to stand at the highest donation level, so an impact auction can truly make a big impact on your event’s bottom line.
So, follow our fundraising event tips and start using multiple auctions at all your fundraising events.