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February 23, 2018 Converting Hot Silent Auction Items into Live Auction Item Gold

Charity silent auction items can morph into live auction items when it's warranted.

On several occasions, I’ve worked with clients to move items that were planned for the silent auction to be offered in the live auction. Sometimes this was planned, other times it was not not.

Often there will be items that have a lot of robust bidding activity during the silent auction. When this happens, one of two things will play out – the bidders will either run out of time or run out of money. For those occasions when time is going to run out first, as long as you have the approval of the bidders, you can convert those silent auction items into a live auction item, right there on the spot.

This practice is most common with my nonprofit school clients, who will announce to their guests that they have reserved the right for certain items, usually class projects, to be converted to live auction items as they deem appropriate. Before the silent auction section closes, items with a lot of bidding will be withdrawn from that portion of the event and sold during a live auction between the bidders. This bidding is not limited to only the bidders “fighting it out”, but is open to anyone who would like to join in and bid. This impromptu bidding is done right then, right there, and the crowds, as well as the bidders, LOVE it! At one event we converted a senior quilt class project with a high bid of $2,300 into a live auction item.

When the bidding was over and the dust had cleared the quilt sold for $10,000!

At a charity auction event last weekend, I was announcing a 5-minute warning about the silent auction closing when I noticed two men laughing and battling it out over a great University of Alabama football package. I knew once we closed the silent auction that this was going to end this robust bidding and I hated to see this nonprofit leaving money on the table when these gentlemen were obviously going to keep bidding and having fun. Being the fundraising auctioneer that I am, I worked my way into their conversation and asked if they wanted to finish the battle with me, to which they replied “Sure!”.  Several more hundred dollars later the bidding stopped. The crowd went wild over that little bidding competition. This energized the room for the last few minutes of the silent auction before I did the final count down.

Make sure you work with a professional fundraising auctioneer who has the knowledge to help you with converting silent auction items to live auction items, as well as numerous other ways to maximize your fundraising opportunities.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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