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need help organizing silent auction

22 years 9 months ago #85444 by cindyf
Replied by cindyf on topic RE: need help organizing silent auction
Again thanks for the wonderful suggestions, I am 4 weeks and counting till our event and have learned alot from all of you. JHB could you post your silent auction "rules" so I can make note? thanks so much Cindy F
22 years 9 months ago #85443 by intomykids
Replied by intomykids on topic RE: need help organizing silent auction
There are some great ideas here! I'll add a few comments of my own.

This year I did the first silent auction our school has had and it went very well. We also did it during our carnival and had a raffle along with the auction.

The biggest problem I had was that at an event like this one, people don't always stay till the very end. I had to take home about half of the items and contact the people about meeting to collect money and getting the item to them. Unfortunately I still have a couple of things that people never claimed. (Our event was in October!) I must admit that I didn't press overly hard to "force" parents to claim their items but this is one area that I would improve upon. Set up enough people to help you at the end of the auction to collect checks and hand out items. Also, if you can split up the leftover items so YOU are not the only one calling and meeting with people the week after the auction. Maybe you could specify a time during the following week to meet with anyone unable to be at the close of the auction.

Another source of confusion was duplicate items. I put out two bid sheets and marked them #1 and #2 but people were bidding on both or outbidding someone on #1 when there were no bids on #2! I would change this by putting a separate flyer for each item with the bid sheet under it. We also had teacher time that was donated for four students. After some discussion we decided to sell these seperately. I think that I would sell these items as ONE event and either let the parents buy it and allow their child to decide who to bring along or have the parents bid as a group.

All in all this was a fun and profitable event for us. Good luck with your auction!

22 years 9 months ago #85442 by JHB
Hi, All. We just had our event, including Silent Auction last night. We did "50,000 things right and at least 50 wrong" like any event. And in the week to come, I'm sure we'll focus on the "50 wrong". I'm too exhausted to even think about it right now. However, one new thing came up that I wanted to share.

We had a handful of people who didn't write their bids on a new line, but instead crossed out or erased a number they had written earlier and replaced it with a higher bid. The few sheets on which this happened (4) confused everyone, and, of course bidders weren't looking back UP the sheet for higher numbers. So we had 4 where the bid furthest down the page wasn't the winner. We hadn't posted a rule saying people HAD to use a new line, so we couln't disqualify them. Luckily, the "winners" who were outbid were gracious and we worked it out.

I've been involved in several silent auctions and not see this before, nor had anyone else. (Maybe we've just led sheltered lives??) Next year we'll add that rule to the bid sheet.

Live and Learn!!
22 years 9 months ago #85441 by Norman
Replied by Norman on topic RE: need help organizing silent auction
One more suggestion about silent auctions.. Some bidder’s don’t go back to see if they were the winning bidder, or the auction committee takes the items to a check out area, etc., which leaves the bidder’s not knowing if they have won a silent auction item… they go through the already crowded and long check out lines to see if they need to pay for silent auction items.

The best way I have seen to handle this is to print up a poster board, with bidder numbers on it. If the bidder won any silent auction items, then you would circle or mark a line across the appropriate bidder number. Post this board in a place near but not interfering with the cashier check out area.

I’m conducting a live & silent auction tonight for the John Eaton School in Washington, DC, so may have some more tips tomorrow.

Norman O’Neal, President, Auctioneers Association of Maryland
22 years 9 months ago #85440 by JHB
Our parents really enjoy the silent auction. The advice listed about is great. A couple more tips from our experience:

1) You really need a fair number of volunteers in the silent auction area to assist, explain to people, AND especially to monitor children making bids their parents haven't authorized.

2) It may really speed things up later if you are sure to number the basket/item and its corresponding bid sheet. We often have several "bath & body" or "baby" baskets. People want (and deserve) the specific basket they bid on, so it makes it faster to have a unique numbering system.

3) Like Mighty Jo, we keep usually keep certicates in a safe place and display copies. Also, the baskets need to be wrapped really well. Anything with little items exposed has a real possibility of having pieces "disappear".

4) Our bid sheets are just like described above. We use regular copy paper and we mount (glue) them to 9"x12" construction paper to give them a bit more substance and color. These are taped to the table in front of the item.

5) On our particular auction, we specify "must be present to win". You can do it either way, but you just need to let people know from the beginning what the rules are.

Ours is this Thursday, so we're gearing up. Good luck!

22 years 9 months ago #85439 by BoosterMomofBoys
Replied by BoosterMomofBoys on topic RE: need help organizing silent auction
Our elementary school's booster club recently held it's first silent auction. It was really great - and we learned how to make it simpler next time. I love Norman's idea of the pre-filled bid increments. We had trouble with the bidders (usually children) modifying their's and their "competitor's" bids. Also, occasionally someone would forget the minimum bid increase requirements. We had so many items for auction, that we will need to devote more tables for displaying the products next time. We did prepare a simple brochure on MS Word that briefly described the items for bid. We handed these out (in bright colors)just two days before as a reminder of the planned event. Also, our contributors were furnished a copy of the brochure with their thank you note after the event. This simplified the process of reminding our fantastic supporters that we had given them advertising for their donation.
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