5 Fundraising Ideas for Charity Silent Auction Event Planners

A fundraising auction is a great way for your charity or organization to get exposure about your great work while also raising money. Auctions can be quite fun and silly or more serious affairs. You can take a variety of approaches in designing your auction and deciding what to auction off.

Auction Ideas

For a simple auction, you can approach ideas for silent auction items local businesses and individuals and ask them to make donations. You can have a variety of items to appeal to a wide variety of people, or you can have a specific theme that will appeal to your target donors. Experiences can make great auction items. A hotel might donate a romantic weekend getaway; a colleague with a boat might donate a fishing trip; the local yoga studio might donate a class or two; a talented cook can donate a dinner for two, with the menu chosen by the winning bidder. Businesses and individuals can also donate new or gently used goods for people to bid on.

Tying an auction into an already-planned event can make for a relatively easy fundraiser. For instance, if your company has an annual holiday gathering, consider having a silent auction at the event. Seek donations from your colleagues and local businesses, with all the proceeds going to a select charity or charities. Set-up can be as simple as a table with bid sheets. Something similar works well at professional conferences and can be a great part of a gala night. Many such events are put on by non-profit organizations and can be a great fundraiser for the organization.

If you want to have a bigger, more formal event, consider having an auction night. You can have a dinner or dessert party with people speaking about your cause and why it should be supported. Adding an auction will infuse an element of fun to the event and allow you to raise more money for a worthy cause.

Another fun idea is a ‘Bachelor (or Bachelorette) Auction’. In such an auction, dates with willing singles are auctioned off to the highest bidder. This makes for a fun social event that can be quite profitable. Beware, however, that some people will be turned off by such events, particularly if there is not a natural connection to the charity being supported.

Online auctions are growing in popularity. These are similar to silent auctions, however all the items are photographed and shown on a website. Participants see pictures and descriptions and are given a limited time frame in which to bid on the items. The website gets updated periodically so visitors can see the current high bid. As long as you have someone with the right technical skills and good publicity, this can be another great fundraising event.

Regardless of what type of auction you choose, you will need to be organized. For live auctions, having a good auctioneer is critical. You want someone who connects with your crowd, piquing their interest and rallying bidding wars to ensure each item draws the highest bid possible. This can be a professional auctioneer (who may donate his or her time to the cause), or just a highly energetic employee or volunteer. For online or silent auctions, publicity is critical. Since you don’t have an auctioneer talking up each item, you need someone to remind your audience that the event is happening and rallying interest. Make sure you publicize not just the auction, but the charity that you are raising funds for. Find ways to appeal to your donors to encourage connections to your charity beyond a one-time auction purchase. Have your auctioneer mention the good work of your charity, have posters, brochures, and other materials available, or even bring in a speaker or two to discuss what the charity has done for them. Finally, make sure you have fun, interesting items that will appeal to your audience and open their hearts and pocketbooks for a good cause. Your favorite charity will thank you for your efforts!