silent auction ideas

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. 

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.