silent auction

What To Do With Unsold Silent Auction Items

Last week I answered a common question I get from clients, "Can we sell unsold silent auction items before or after the live auction?" My answer was "NO!" However that leaves us with a conundrum: what can we do with unsold live auction items??

Lots of things!

  1. Remove minimum bids: You can decide at a certain point in the night that any silent auction items that have not been bid on, no longer have a minimum bid. It may be that for some of those more quirky donations, the valued minimum bid may have been too high to entice any bidders. If your concern is just getting those items out of your hands that night, this is the best option.
  2. FIRE SALE: Hosting an online fire sale on your organization's auction site after the  auction is a great way to manage any items that did not sell. This works with organizations that opt to use mobile bidding software. Companies like BidPal will work with you to create a specific auction site where people can register for the event, get updates and bid on items before or after the auction (if you choose to make it available). You will most likely get more revenue from this than you would with our option #1.
  3. Sell the items at an external site (like ebay or craigslist). This takes more effort, but it opens up your bidding audience to people looking for those specific items. I wouldn't take the time to do this with all the items, but if you have anything that is of higher value, but requires the bidding of specific tastes (art, jewelry, furniture, sports memorabilia, etc), this would be worth your time to try to reach those people for the sake of your organization.

If you have questions about your silent auction, I can work with you to answer those as well as things related to your live auction. 

Earn 12% More at your Fundraising Auction

Opening your silent auction before the event begins will earn an average of 12% more revenue | Sarah Knox Benefit Auctions

Yesterday I had the chance to meet with a colleague in the industry who works with BidPal, an electronic bidding system. She shared with me an interesting result from a recent study they did with their clients.

They compared clients who used their system for their silent auction. Some of their clients only allowed bidders to view and bid on silent auction items during the night of the event, while other clients opt to open up bidding on their items before the event starts (sometimes a full week in advance). They found that the auctions that were available for bidding prior to the night of the event in the silent auction, raised 12% more than the auctions that were only open during the night of the event. 

There's an easy and profitable idea for you: open your silent auction up to attendees prior to the event. I've personally seen success with some of my clients doing this. It's a newer idea, but technology is providing us with these awesome opportunities.

Note: this statistic did not compare organizations that did not use an electronic bidding system. However, silent auctions tend to bring in more revenue when using an electronic bidding system because bidders receive text messages when they have been outbid and they can raise the bid again right from their smartphone or electronic bidding device provided by the company.