Fundraising Blog

Should I Choose a Live Auction or Silent Auction?

Dee Brannick
Fundraising specialist, Co-Founder of GalaBid

Fundraising events play a crucial role in supporting various causes, and choosing the right approach can make all the difference.

Two popular options are silent auctions and live auctions with each offering unique advantages and considerations.

In this helpful guide, we'll explore the differences between silent auctions and live auctions, and how utilizing an auction platform or online auction site can enhance your fundraising efforts.

Silent Auction

Online Silent Auctions allow supporters and donors to engage in a dynamic and interactive experience.  Unlike live auctions held in person with open bidding, silent auctions allow participants to discreetly place bids on their phones while attending a fundraising event, or online, from any location, on any device.

Here's why they're beneficial:

  • Engaging a broader audience: Silent auctions appeal to a wide range of participants, including introverts who may prefer bidding discreetly rather than raising their hand or paddle in front of an audience.
  • Flexible bidding options: Participants enjoy the freedom to bid at their convenience throughout the event, creating a relaxed and less hyper-competitive atmosphere.
  • Diverse fundraising opportunities: Silent auctions can include a large number and a variety of items, including experiences, artwork, and unique products. This encourages donors with different interests to participate and support your cause.

Live Auctions

Live auctions can be a fantastic, entertaining and lucrative fundraising experience! In this format, bidding takes place openly in front of an audience, creating an environment of excitement, entertainment and healthy competition. Here are some key advantages:

  • Creating a sense of urgency: The fast pace and competitive nature of live auctions can encourage participants to actively engage and bid higher, generating an atmosphere of urgency and excitement.
  • Building community spirit: Public bidding allows participants to be inspired by the enthusiasm and generosity of others, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collective support for the cause.
  • Showcasing unique experiences: Live auctions present a great opportunity to present prizes to a captive audience using images, videos and the auctioneer's introduction before the bidding kicks off. This exposure ensures one-of-a-kind experiences like travel packages, exclusive events, or celebrity meet-and-greets  maximize their fundraising potential.

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Choosing the Right Fundraising Auction

When deciding whether to run a silent auction and, or, a live auction, consider the following factors:

  • Event goals: Work out whether your primary objective is to engage a broad audience beyond your event venue, or offer your in-room audience an exclusive opportunity bid on high value items.
  • Prizes Available: If you are lucky enough to have a range of prizes considering running both a live and a silent auction. Event planners typically choose the highest value 6-8 prizes to include in a live auction.
  • Audience Preferences and Time: Understand the preferences of your target audience, considering their comfort level, interests, and motivations. Consider whether you have time available in your entertainment program to run a live auction. Perhaps your live auction is an integral element of the entertainment! This all depends on your audience.
  • Resources and logistics: Evaluate available resources, including budget for an auctioneer, venue size, and volunteer support. This assessment will help determine which auction format is more feasible for your event.

How an Online Auction Platform Can Help

No matter which auction type you choose, incorporating an online auction platform like GalaBid can make a significant difference:

  • Simplified  auction management: GalaBid offers a user-friendly interface that streamlines the entire silent auction process, from cataloging items to managing bids, automated notifications, and secure payment handling. On GalaBid, live auction items can be also be showcased (with or without the ability to pre-bid) alongside silent items. With over 100 features designed to save time and effort, GalaBid streamlines both live and silent auctions.
  • Expanded reach and participation: Online auction platforms connect you with a broader audience. By hosting your silent and, or, live auction using GalaBid's software, you can attract participants from different locations, expanding the reach of your fundraising event. This increased exposure leads to higher bidding activity and better results for your cause.
  • Access to Auction Items : GalaBid offers a catalog of tried and tested auction items including holidays, dining experiences and memorabilia. With an average return on these items of 40.4% (2022), they are a great way to boost the fundraising potential of any silent or live auction. Offered on a sale or return basis, the items include a dedicated bookings team who take care of winners post event.
  • Customizable branding and promotion: GalaBid allows organizers to customize the platform to align with branding and event theming. This branding consistency creates a professional and cohesive experience for participants, enhancing their trust and engagement.

By integrating an online auction platform (such as GalaBid) into your fundraising event, you can leverage features and benefits to create a seamless and engaging experience for both organizers and participants.

In Summary

Both silent auctions and live auctions offer distinct advantages and considerations for fundraising events. Both can be included side by side.

Silent auctions cater to a broader audience, provide flexibility, and can be efficiently managed through auction platforms or online auction sites. On the other hand, entertaining, fast paced live auctions can maximise the return on high value items with the right audience.

Whichever you choose for your fundraiser, using an online auction platform will help save time and boost fundraising results.

About GalaBid

Ideal for donations. Perfect for Raffles. Awesome for Live and Silent Auctions! GalaBid’s online fundraising platform is designed for fundraisers of all types and sizes. For over 10 years we’ve been helping non-profits, charities, community clubs, churches, schools, and individuals to raise more and make a difference.

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