A simple guide to organising and running a successful, hassle-free online silent auction
HATCH A PLAN
"It's all in the planning", the old saying goes, and that's definitely true if you want your silent auction to be a success. Research shows that online silent auctions can increase donations by up to 40 percent, and with good planning the sky's the limit. When figuring out how to run a silent auction, there are four important questions to ask at the planning stage: 1. When it comes to hosting your event, will it operate purely online, or part of a bigger event? 2. How much money do you want to raise, and what is your budget? 3. Do you want your silent auction to have a theme? This may influence the types of items you search for. 4. Who can you rope in to help you with all the work? [hint: GalaBid will take care of the bidding, donations, purchases and payment for you.]
GATHER UP THE AUCTION ITEMS
Right, you've got a plan, so now it's time to get to work getting all the donated items for your online silent auction together. Remember to consider the people who are going to be bidding. There's no point in auctioning off snowboarding gear to an over 60s bowling club. So get out amongst the community and see what local business and services will donate to your cause. Don't be afraid to ask for anything. Local restaurants are often happy to donate a meal for two, sports teams may sign a jersey or ball and a mechanic could do a free car service. Get creative! There's some inspiration here [link to silent auction ideas blog] and ask GalaBid about their risk-free consignment services so you can really wow your audience.
SET UP THE WEBSITE
Charity auctions used to be a mess of paper bidding sheets and bulky catalogues, but now it's just a smart website and online auction software that allows people to bid and pay with the minimum of fuss. It really is that simple with GalaBid. The website is now your catalogue and potential bidders can browse through the items, bid with a click and checkout and pay as they would with any online purchase. Accessible on any computer, tablet or smartphone, you can even set up 'buy it now' functions and people who aren't even at the event can take part. It all equals more money for your cause.
SPREAD THE WORD
You've got an amazing silent auction coming up, so shout it loud and proud. Get the word out using any means you can, starting with your own website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Next, hit up all your local media, especially radio stations and newspapers. Fill them in on any special items that are going to get people talking. Is there a celebrity who's sympathetic to your cause and would be happy to help promote the event? While you're about it, ask the celeb if they wouldn't mind becoming an auction item themselves! Whatever you do, make sure everything points to the website where all the action will take place.
It's the night of the event and it's time to relax. Yes, you've figured out how to run a silent auction, you've done all the hard work and now the online silent auction software takes over and ensures the bids and cash keep rolling in. The software is easy to manage and you can even get help from GalaBid on the night if you want to enjoy the event, and maybe have a bid or two yourself.
Find out how we can help you at your next fundraising event. Let's chat!