Auctions are an outstanding way to have great time, and raise a lot of money at your next charity or benefit event. You already have a willing and charitably minded audience, let the auction process take that charitable spirit to another level.


A properly staged and managed charity event is a fun and exciting time for people to get out, socialize, and support a great cause that they care about. Add to this the chance to compete with one another for a great deal on some fantastic products and/or services, and you have the perfect recipe for a super successful fundraiser.


Using a combination of Silent and Live auctions is a great way to maximize the fun and energy in the room, and motivate your benefactors to actively participate. Some people aren’t comfortable bidding aggressively in a live auction setting, but they love the idea of a silent auction. Most people really enjoy both once they get going, but the live auction is always where you will make the most money. Keep the biggest and best items for your live auction.

Fundraising Auction Tip: You should always provide potential bidders with a printed Auction Listing of both your Live and Silent Auction items at any Fundraising Auction. A printed Auction Listing is vital for several reasons:

  • An Auction Listing informs bidders of the order of sale, and what is coming up next. If you keep your bidders guessing, they will simply not bid.
  • If bidders are not 100% certain of what they are bidding on, they will not bid. A printed Auction Listing should answer any and all questions about what is being sold in order to encourage bidders to bid as much as possible.
  • Bidders often need time to plan their bidding strategies, especially on multiple and/or larger value items. A printed Auction Listing helps them to do that.
  • Couples often need time to consult with each other about what they are willing to spend on something. A printed Auction Listing helps them to do that.
  • Potential bidders need to know the specifics, the benefits, and the restrictions on any item they are going to bid on, especially on travel and/or other higher value items. A printed Auction Listing should answer all of their questions, in writing.
  • After bidders see that they have lost an item to another bidder, a printed Auction Listing makes it easier for them to re-strategize on what else they can bid on.

Printed Auction Listings generally come in 3 forms:

  1. Printed in the Event Program or Auction Catalog.
  2. Printed on loose sheets of paper and hand-inserted into the Event Program or Auction Catalog.
  3. Printed on loose sheets of paper and hand-delivered to all attendees, or left on each dinner table in the room.


Why use a Professional Auctioneer instead of a Local Celebrity or Key Figure?


Professional auctioneers are trained to politely squeeze as much money out of a room as possible. The auctioneer knows how to read a group, can usually sense when there is another bid or pledge left on the floor, but can also keep the process moving forward so it doesn’t seem like you are begging.


By all means, have Celebrity involvement if at all possible, but use these folks as the Master of Ceremony or as a speaker. Let the Auction Pro do what they do best.



Portions of the article adapted and edited for content from material published at

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