Pulling Off a Successful Silent Auction

Question: Our organization plans to hold a silent auction for the first time. What tips can you provide that will help us have a successful auction?

Answer:  First things first – set a realistic budget and fundraising goal! Once you’ve done that, consider these tips:

Plan well and in advance – Start planning at least 6 months in advance.
•    Know your audience.
•    Let your audience determine who you solicit for donations. The most successfully sold auction items tend to be vacation packages, tickets to events, sports equipment, baskets with assorted items, electronics, park passes, and hotel/restaurant combinations.
•    Set a deadline to receive items.

Stay organized
•    Establish a timeline for each phase of the auction.
•    Create a tracking system for donor information, communications, and donated items.
•    Strategize an efficient plan for auction set-up & payment check-out.

Select good volunteers
•    Have plenty of volunteers. It’s better to have too many than not enough.
•    Establish a good repertoire with them prior to the auction and maintain the relationships.
•    Make sure your volunteers know exactly what to do and are solely dedicated to the auction.  

Thank your donors and attendees
•    Thank your donors promptly!
•    Thank your attendees for coming and supporting your cause!

Questions about organizing your own silent auction? Email Debra Tate at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..