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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 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!
  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.


  • 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

Online Auctions

For online auctions a method we’ve found to work is using Facebook as your bidding platform and having HSC set up a payment site for you.  Set up an event page on Facebook where items can continuously be posted.  Let people know when the bidding will end for each item and have people comment on the photo of the item they are interested in with their bid amount.  The comment with the highest bid at the end of the bidding period will win the item and you can direct them to the payment site to pay for their item and/or make a donation.  Email us at if you would like us to set up a payment site for your online auction and we would be happy to do so!

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.


Questions: If you have any questions, email us at

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