One of the best silent auction tips is to talk up your auction items to your guests. Every guest is a prospective bidder and during Q4 every guest will be buying holiday gifts.
Charity auctioneer Sherry Truhlar provides several tips on how to boost your silent auction results by leveraging the gift-giving needs of your guests. By promoting your auction items as potential gifts, you help encourage extra bidders and create additional demand for many items.
Silent Auction Ideas For Q4 Auctions
One of the natural advantages of hosting a auction in the late fall (think October through December) is its proximity to Christmas.
Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, December marks a big month of gift giving for many people. Why not play on that natural cycle and use it to help sell your items?
Here are some tips to make the most of the season.
1. Be blatant
Don’t try to hide anything. In your marketing literature, remind people that they should be on the look-out for gifts at your fundraiser.
“Buy your gifts at our auction.”
“We’re receiving great donations that even Santa would swoon to give.”
“The designer purse that arrived today will look great under your tree.”
“Dad will love the meat locker to be sold in our silent auction.”
2. Be visual
I have a Catholic school client who holds its fundraising auction in November. Each silent auction item is displayed with care, festively topped with a bow.
Having held this auction for many years, the school must have hundreds of bows by now. May of them are saved and re-used, year after year.
I’d consider that to be a smart investment!
Another idea: Put a sticky note on the item. Write: “This would be a great gift for that hard-to-buy-for person.”
Or perhaps, “Active grandparents would love this.”
Don’t assume people will remember to shop for gifts. Remind them often and directly.
3. Be verbal
Ask your auctioneer to make some announcements. I’m always pitching merchandise in the silent auction.
At an SPCA auction last fall, a number of pets received holiday presents, thanks to me.
“Have you purchased a gift for your dog yet,” I’d inquire of the guests gathering around the tables. I’d wide-eye the guest … “This package is adorable, and can you believe it doesn’t even have a bid yet!”
Or, “I never have time to shop,” I’d say, “I keep extra wine on hand to take to those last minute parties I’m invited to. Here’s a great case of Chardonnay, and who wouldn’t appreciate that?!” With flourish, I’d point to the case.
Let’s be frank. Selling is about HELPING people.
One way your auctioneer can help people (and your nonprofit, specifically) is by saving your guests time. Have your auctioneer cut to the chase and verbalize the advantages of why the guest should buy.
In short, if you’re holding your auction during this season, it’s a perfect time to get guests to buy. Use these silent auction ideas to get your packages in the hands of the guests.
Promote the season AND your reason.
About The Author
Sherry Truhlar is a charity auction educator and onstage auctioneer, helping schools and nonprofits across the USA plan more profitable benefit auctions. Her galas raise $15,000 to $2 million each and she’s sold at events with crowds up to 1200. A prolific writer for her own blog and other fundraising sites, her advice is tapped by thousands of auction planners seeking to improve their benefit auctions. She’s been covered in Town & Country Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Auctioneer, and other publications.
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