Silent Auction Tips and Etiquette

It helps to know some silent auction tips and proper etiquette if you are planning a silent auction to raise money for your organization or cause. A silent auction is usually part of a gala affair designed to raise money. It may be only one of several elements of a fundraiser. 

Silent Auction Etiquette for Fundraisers
Provide information that clearly states when your auction is going to start and when it is going to be over. In addition, let your potential buyers know where and how to pay for the merchandise and how late the prizes can be picked up after the auction is over.

Once the auction starts, make it as simple as possible for the people who are bidding. Make sure that each bidding sheet gives a summary of the merchandise being offered and a suggested retail value. Don't forget to note who donated the product. This is great advertising for those who have given to you. The bidding sheets should include a minimum bid and the minimum increase required for each additional bid.

If you are auctioning high ticket items, it would be wise to have a person standing next to each item to monitor the bidding and answer any questions. If you don't need a volunteer at every table, have several circulating who know the merchandise and the rules of your auction to answer bidders' questions. This will also prevent unpleasant incidents of people trying to sneak in a bid after the auction is over.

Make sure that you give several notifications as the auction nears the end to remind people to go back to check on their bids.

Organizing a fundraising event that includes a silent auction can be challenging. You are going to want your auction to run smoothly without unnecessary delays. You might want to consider buying silent auction software to help you with your paperwork. Silent auction software can include the ability to print brochures about the items in your auction, thank you notes to go to your contributors and bid sheets.

Silent Auction Etiquette for Bidders
Make sure that you understand the requirements for bidding. If you don't understand any of the rules, don't be shy about asking.

Remember that even though you may really want a given item, the purpose of a silent auction is to raise money for a charitable organization. While you may be inclined to hover over a desirable antique, remember the non-profit involved. Don't intimidate other potential bidders.

When the auction is over, the auction is over. Don't try to add the crowning bid after the ending has been called. If you happen to be a victim of this unfair practice, try to be gracious. After all, the charity is getting more money. 

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