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Silent Auction Guide & Toolkit|
Learn how to create a successful silent auction fundraiser. Silent auction strategies, timelines, auction items and how to organize and display them, how to close an auction and take payments, and other add on fundraisers to boost the bottom line.
Secrets of the Charity Auction Experts
Learn from the experts! Discover the best selling auction items. How to get auction items donated. How to boost attendance. How to get more bids and higher selling prices. How to coordinating volunteers, staff and auction consultants.
Fundraising Idea of the Month:
by Doug Nash
Cents auctions are becoming popular again, maybe because it is a form of silent auctions. There are no loud auctioneers or any pressure being brought to bear: people can take their time in deciding what they want to bid for. They have the same opportunity to win as any one else, the fattest wallet doesnt always win in this form of auction. Just because an individual buys a lot of tickets, doesnt mean they will win! You only need one ticket to stand a chance of winning.
The idea is that each ticket when placed in box, its number being the same as its relative prize, becomes a bid for that item. At preset times, a ticket is drawn from an advertised box, the holder of the matching ticket stub winning that particular item. The draws are progressive, this means at a preset time you draw the first lot and at regular time intervals after that, say five minutes you then draw another until all lots have been drawn.
Each page of tickets has its specific number on all tear-away tickets and a stub which the owner holds for identification when collecting their prize. If the sheet owner has put one ticket in ten boxes then the sheet owner has the chance to win ten prizes. All for the low cost of the sheet of tickets, usually a dollar. There are different strategies that ticket holders can use, the main two being either putting all their tickets in one box to maximize their chances of winning that item or putting one ticket in ten different boxes giving them a chance in ten draws. If you have more than twenty items for cent auction then people would have to buy at least three sheets to have a chance in each draw. Originally you bought a sheet of one hundred tickets for a dollar, a cent a bid, now though you usually get a ten ticket sheet for a dollar, minimum purchase of two sheets. Make sure it is clearly advertised that the tickets are non-refundable. It is rare that people will ask for a refund on unused tickets but there are some who will try so best to avoid this by clearly making it known at time of purchase there are no refunds.
Try to have at least 25 - 40 lots ranging in value and types of items (all donated of course), not only to sell more tickets but to make the fund-raiser attractive to as many people as possible. The more varied the lots you have the better your chances of success, unless you are aiming at a specific audience. Its a good idea to have a really eye catching prize for the last draw. Not only will you get lots of bids throughout the event but it will soak up all the leftover tickets for a huge draw at the end of the event. You may want to try a mystery lot where the lot is covered and only a sheet of hints to its value or contents is displayed (unless you have tried it before successfully and know it will work you should only have one mystery lot).
Each lot is a single prize or a number of items making up a single prize. Make sure that each lot is clearly marked and identified so there is no confusion when the winner comes to claim their prize. To avoid this embarrassment,
For ticket boxes you dont have to spend money, simply collect old ice cream containers and paint them up or decorate them with wrapping paper. Cut a slot in the lid, firmly attach each lid to the bottom and there you have your ticket boxes.
By having all the items in your cent auction donated you should only need to buy the tickets. You can get specially printed cent auction tickets or you may want to print your own. Make your decision in regards to your own individual situation.
When it comes to the drawing of winning tickets there are a few things to consider. Think about whether winners have to be present at the draw to win. If they do you may lose people who cant be there at the time of drawing. If you choose to not have them present then you have to make sure you have a system of recording the details of each sheet that is bought so you can contact the winner later. This can be very time consuming for the ticket sellers and can cause trouble when it comes to delivery. If winners have to be present, it encourages them to stick around and maybe spend a little more.
Once you have sorted out all your details, put them in a auction program. This helps people know what to expect and plan their activities and bidding. A program can be beneficial in other ways like giving you a way of thanking and promoting your donors, an excellent idea if you plan to do more than one cent auction. It also enables you to have a sponsor, a business that either donates a high value of goods or makes a cash donation.
One last thing to think about. Dont just throw away the used tickets after each draw, keep a record of how many tickets where in each box. This an excellent way of doing. By counting how many tickets where in each box you can then know which where the most popular items at the auction. With this information you can better plan the next auction by having more of the most popular items and less of the least popular. You may be surprised at the results of what was popular and what wasnt.
As you can see cent auctions can take many forms so you are free to try
whatever you think will be successful. Cent auctions can be stand alone fund-raisers or
held in conjunction with a hub event. So have a go and most of all have fun.
About the Author:
Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at http://www.home.gil.com.au/~dnash/ for more fundraising ideas.