►Silent Auction, or Mini On-the-Spot Live Auction?March 10, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
What to do when you have so many great auction items that you can’t even fit them all in to the time slotted for the Live Auction?
Most live auctions at charity events are 30-45 minutes, and with an industry average of 3-4 minutes per live auction sale, that means only 10-15 items make the Live Auction cut for many events.
What if you have 20 awesome items that you need to get in front of bidders? I suggest blowing up the bid sheets to 20″ x 30″ mounted on foam board, place them on easels in a very high traffic area, add signage, place 1-2 full-time volunteers who never leave and can answer all questions about the items, and then get into the mindset of a county fair carnival barker, “Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t miss this awesome opportunity right here. Step right up to bid on ….” You get the idea.
Sometimes, I place these easel items in a semi-circle directly in front of the ballroom doors, and I let the crowd know that these items -while available for normal bidding during the silent auction – will be closed by on-the-spot, mini live auction between 7:40-7:45, immediately before the doors open for dinner. All interested in bidding need to gather here at 7:40 to get a last chance to be the winning bidder.
By doing this, we get as close as we can to the energy, excitement and ego of a live auction even though there wasn’t time in the program. As guests gather, I gets everyone’s attention in the vicinity and say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re now going to close these 5 SUPER silent auction items by mini live auction. They are such great items that we didn’t want anyone to miss the opportunity, so whether you’ve already bid or not, everyone is welcome to bid right now as we close these awesome items. First up, you’ve been bidding on Item 901, 1 week RCI Timeshare anywhere in the world, valued up to $1800. The current bid is $1200, but who’ll go $1300, do I hear $1300, yes and now $1400…” Each item will take just seconds to close, and inevitably we’ll raise several hundred more dollars, remind folks that a professional auctioneer will entertain them later, and generate auction closing excitement right before releasing the guests to dinner.
Win. Win. Win!