We're seeing a dramatic increase in the number of clients launching their silent auctions well before their live event begins. And for good reason. Organisers who involve guests in auctions, competitions and donation campaigns before the event, typically see more participation overall and ultimately more fundraising revenue. We've seen some truly amazing results, with some organisers actually hitting their target before the live event and others going on to double targets. On average our 2013 clients raised 39% of their final silent auction and donation revenue before the night of their live event! So with pre-event bidding the status quo for 2014, we thought we would share the questions and answers we're most often asked on this topic . How long before the event should I launch my silent auction? We say a couple of weeks prior is best. Your guests are making plans to attend your event, from deciding on a dress to booking a babysitter, so this period is a good time to get them excited about the items they can win. Also, getting them registered to bid pre-event gives them more time to enjoy your event while they're there. And as the typical event includes various fundraising activities, information about the cause, and entertainment, anything to reduce the amount of information guests need to take in on the night will make for a better event. So, while a couple of weeks is typically best, we've seen clients launch up to 6 weeks before the live event with great success. We've also have many clients who launch just days before and still have lots of bidders and bids on the leader board before any guest sets foot in the room. Should I launch to supporters who are not attending my event? Yes. This is a fantastic way to increase the number of bidders, bids and of course revenue. The extent to which clients extend the biding audience varies greatly. Some clients choose to simply invite specific supporters who are overseas or unavailable to attend the event to participate, making the fundraising activities exclusive to event guests and key supporters. However, increasingly clients are choosing to extend to their entire database, and beyond via social media and other advertising. One of our clients even posted an advert for their auction on their local paper's website! Should I allow guests to start bidding or restrict them to registration and viewing item details? Yes. We recommend starting the bidding at the time of launch. Allowing guests to bid and receive the text notifications when they've been outbid starts the fun earlier, making for more engaged and competitive bidders by the time the event starts and ultimately more revenue. Can I add more items once bidding has started? Yes. Most clients start the bidding before all items are locked in. The simplist way is to add the new items in at the end of the list and to the relevant categories so guests can easy find what interests them. New items can be added any time and should you have any items that don't sell you can always list them again post event. Can I use GalaBid if I don't have an event at all? Yes. You can use GalaBid for an online only auction. Guests can bid on items, make donations and make payment from their desktop and or their mobile devices. They'll also receive outbid notifications via text, keeping them involved in your auction no matter where they are. Here's what CCIA had to say about pre-event bidding: "This was the second year we used GalaBid. We opened our auction one week before the event and I felt that that worked really well. It meant the bidding was well underway before the event began and guests were familiar with the system by the time they arrived. Some guests even brought along their own mini iPads."