Unsold Silent Auction Donations: Put on Live Auction?

I write my blog based on questions I get from clients. A recent (and common) question is "Can we sell unsold silent auction items on the live auction?" My answer is always NO! I see how this could seem like a good idea given that silent auction items tend to raise 60% of their retail value on average while live auction items routinely exceed their retail value so why not try to get that sort of profit for donations that missed their chance in the silent auction?

Here is my reasoning:

  1. If the items did not sell in the silent, the chance of them selling in the live auction is very slim.
  2. We need to be very conscientious of donors. If their item did not sell in the silent, we do not want to draw attention to it or sell it publicly for far less than it is worth.
  3. If it's done prior to the live auction, it will impact the value of the true live auction items and if it's done after the live auction it can leave the audience with the impression/memory of the auction being unsuccessful. 

Check back next week to see what to do with silent auction items that don't sell.