You’ve planned your event, collected items to feature, and now it’s time to set up. What REALLY sells items at silent charity auctions? A lot of event components contribute to auction success, but if you have to focus on one thing, make it visual display. After seeing thousands of silent charity auctions around the country, we’ve noticed what works…and what doesn’t. And the way you display your items is one of the biggest components to successful charity auctions.
Optimize Your Display.
We’ve talked before about how much visuals matter when it comes to charity auctions. At a silent auction, the way you display your items makes a huge difference in the winning bid. Make sure you give items adequate space, group them in ways that make sense, and introduce a variety of visual levels to your item tables.
Create Better Signage.
Words matter! Use your item descriptions and signage to tell a story. Give potential buyers a vision for how fun or great owning the item will be. For example, you might describe a beach getaway by reminding guests how cold it is in February, and how great they will feel walking on the warm sand instead. Go one step further by surrounding your signage with a few well-placed items—like seashells around the beach trip description. Get people excited to participate and bid with strong descriptions on well-designed item sheets.
Set Initial Prices Carefully.
Setting prices too high can price out your donors. On the other hand, opening with low prices means you need more bids to break even—at the risk of not hitting your target amount. Choosing an accessible but reasonable opening price—usually around 40% of market value—and setting bid increments to ensure target amounts within five or six bids, can help make charity auctions more profitable.