Silent auctions have become a popular way to raise funds for various charitable organizations and events. For nonprofits the $5,000 or even $20,000 you raise at a silent auction can really impact your bottom line and be a difference maker for your event planning. Silent auctions provide a unique and engaging atmosphere where attendees can bid on coveted items or experiences without the pressure of live auctions. With technology, you can even do it virtually from your backyard with a glass of wine!

Silent auction solicitation can be very difficult especially when you find out how many “no’s” you have to get before you get a “yes.” Hitting the ground with an engaged group of people can help significantly, but you have to ask the right people to get them engaged and most likely they are already in your network.

  • First, look at your personal networks: your supporters, volunteers, and board members. Ask these contacts to reach out to their friends, family, colleagues. Their connections with local businesses could be exactly the type of people that might be interested in helping. Asking for donations from the places you frequent most is typically a win!
  • Find a group of people that seem very energized by this idea and set up a time to meet with them monthly to check in. This helps hold everyone accountable and offers a place and time to drop off items, check in, brainstorm ideas and give one another tips on how or who to ask.
  • When people ask me where I should be looking for auction items, I usually answer with a series of questions:
    • Where do you enjoy hanging out? Depending on the person answering, this could be anything from far travels to a cute boutique a few hours away to going to their favorite neighborhood spot down the street.
    • What is your favorite place to travel? How do you get there? Where do you stay? Do you need a car to get around? Did a company plan this trip for you? Where would you eat? What would you do while you stay?
    • The answers to all these questions are typically great auction items and together form excellent experience packages.

Your first task as a nonprofit or charity looking to do a silent auction is to 1) engage a group of supporters to help you and 2) create a list of ideas of places you would like to reach out to.

In my next blog I’ll walk you through the art of the silent auction basket! You know we all love a good margarita or wine basket. If you are a business in MN who is interested in donating to a nonprofit, reach out! I’m presently finding items for multiple nonprofits so you just might be next on my list to call….