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Silent Auctions

Whether online or at an in-person event, an auction is a great way to raise some money!  Check out the steps and tips below for how you can host your own auction!

STEPS FOR HOSTING AN AUCTION:

  1. Choose a Date –Decide when you would like to host your auction.  Will your auction be a standalone event, or part of an already scheduled event?
  2. Secure Items –Gather a group of people who can help you put out asks and contact local businesses (big or small) to donate items in return for advertising.  Email events@huntingtonsociety.ca and we can send you an official letter of support to help you ask for donations.  You can ask for services and experiences along with tangible goods!  Make sure to understand your audience and the kinds of items that will get them the most excited.  Consider asking friends and family for items they may already have, or see if they would considering purchasing and gifting items for your auction!  You can also put asks out on social media, you never know who is willing to donate! Make sure to organize your asks so you don’t ask the same business twice.  Click here for a template donation tracking sheet.
  3. Set Appropriate Starting Bids –Starting bids should be set for 20-30% of the items value. It is important to set the starting bid appropriately to ensure you get the highest value for the items.  Click here for an HSC branded bid sheet!
  4. Define the Rules – Make sure that everyone is aware of when the bidding is beginning and ending as well as how to make bids and how to pay for their item(s) once finished.  By making this clear up front, you avoid confusion down the road.
  5. Promote the Auction –Whether your event is in person or online, you can get some traction by promoting the auction items online to get people interested.  You can set up an event page on Facebook where all the items can be posted and used to promote the auction, even if the auction itself is not online. If the auction is in person, make sure to schedule regular announcements to remind people to check the auction and when the bidding is closing.

TIPS & TRICKS

  • A good rule of thumb is to have 1 item for every 5 individuals at your event
  • Experiences are the most popular items because they are invaluable
  • Bundle together smaller items to create good packages – by bundling items together you create more value for the bidder and can yield higher revenue
    • Movie Night Package- movie theater vouchers, DVDs, popcorn, snacks, etc.
    • At Home Spa- face-masks, lotions, soaps, slippers, robe, etc.
    • Coffee – coffee filters, coffee beans, coffee machine, coffee flavoured snacks. etc.
    • Get creative!  There are tons of ways you can create fun bundles for your silent auction
  • More Auction Item Ideas!

ONLINE AUCTIONS

Be sure to read the above list of steps for silent auctions as there will be much overlap between online and silent auctions.  This section will outline the unique considerations that an online auction has.

  • Platform: Choose how you’d like to post your items for people to bid. The easiest method is using Facebook. Set up an event page on Facebook where items can continuously be posted.  Bidding can be done in the comments of each post.
  • Auction Rules: Make sure the auction rules are very clearly outlined beforehand so there is no confusion.  Post the rules in the auction page and pin them at the top to keep them in the line of sight of everyone visiting the page.  Click here for an example of online auction rules that can be used.
  • Branding: Make sure the items look appealing and that the post includes all the relevant info such as: retail value, starting bid, item name, item number, a short description of the item and who donated it. Click here for a fillable template graphic for auction items.
  • Bidding: When using Facebook as your auction platform, bidding will take place in the comment section of each item posted.
  • Communication: Make sure you have a communication strategy in place for when the auction ends. Typically, it’s best to comment on each post and tag the winner so they know that they’ve won. Afterwards reach out to the winner privately to share the payment details.  Click here for templates of comments to the winner and private messages that can be used.
  • Payment: The easiest and fastest way for individuals to pay is through our online payment portal, email us at events@huntingtonsociety.ca and we can help you create an online payment page for participants to pay via credit card.  Be sure to keep track of who you have contacted and whether or not they’ve paid to make sure nothing gets missed. Click here for a tool to help you keep track of all items and payments.

TIP: Plan a giveaway/contest to draw people to your Facebook page.  The more people on your page when bidding starts, the better chance of getting strong bids on the items.

HYBRID ONLINE AND IN-PERSON AUCTIONS

You could also host a hybrid auction that is partially online and partially in person. Depending on the size of your event, consider picking a couple of higher value items to be posted online, as well as auctioned at the live event.  These items will remain online during the event so bidders who aren’t able to attend can also bid.  You will have to keep a close eye on the online bids and update the bidding sheet as they come in. This helps drum up excitement before the live event and will help to boost bidding which will increase the revenue from your auction.

Resources

Questions: If you have any questions, email us at events@huntingtonsociety.ca.

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