Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oral Auction Items vs Silent Auction Items

Your organization is planning on using a benefit auction as a fund raiser.  You have established a committee and are in the planning stages of the event.  The question comes up, "What makes good live auction items and what makes good silent auction items"?

There are several things that you would want to take into consideration when this question arises.  First off and probably the most important question,  How many live auction items do you want to sell that evening?  This is an important point, and will need to be addressed with the auctioneer you choose for the event.  Each auctioneer has a different style and has a different amount of items they feel comfortable selling in an hour or two.  Most live benefit auctions should be limited to no more than two hours maximum.

The next point to consider is what is the expected crowd going to be?  This changes from event to event based on location, type of event, and what the benefit is for.  You may be able to use different items based on the demographics of the people that you are expecting to attend the evening.  For example a small church auction may be able to use a specially made cake by one of its members as a live auction item, but that same cake probably wouldn't do to well at a formal event.  This is another point that the auctioneer that you are planning on using should be able to help you with.

The third thing to consider is the anticipated value of an item.  Obviously you will want to put the items that will bring the highest value to your event on the live auction.  Gift certificates may not necessarily be a good item to put on the live auction for a couple of reasons. First, they are for an exact amount.  the people who are bidding know the value of them and usually will stop bidding before or at that particular amount.  Secondly, gift certificates may only apply to certain locations or areas.  This can cut your potential bidders down greatly. 

But what about when you have several of the same type of items, for example several donations of sporting event tickets to the same team.  These can bring high bids in the live auction unless you have to many sets.  This is the point when I suggest to create packages using the other items donated.  Maybe you can add a nights stay at a hotel or add a gift certificate for dinner.  Any thing that will add a little spice to the package and create a little bit of something different usually works.  Also when you set the order of items to sell if you do have multiple similar items, you want to space the items out so that there is some time in between selling each one.  Again the auctioneer that you are working with should be able to help you setting the order.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas that may help you to decide when you receive the donations for your auction as to where they should be put for the either.  Live auction or silent auction, the choice you choose on each item could affect your profit margin for the event.  The best advice to remember is, the auctioneer that you choose, should be both knowledgeable and willing to help you make these decisions on you items.

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