4 Elements to Add to Your Silent Auction to Raise More Money


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The end goal of any silent auction is to raise money for your organization. Your auction items will help you reach that goal, of course, but silent auctions provide lots of opportunities to raise money in other ways.

Here are some elements you can add to your next silent auction to raise a little extra money.

Add raffles

Pretty standard, right? Raffles are a tried-and-true fundraising idea, and they often appear at silent auctions. But raffles are often lost in the enthusiasm around the auction items and don’t attract as many ticket purchases as they could. Here are some tips to make the most of your raffle items.

Promote your auction items ahead of time

This is a big one! You’re (hopefully) teasing some of your silent auction items on your social channels ahead of the big day—throw your raffle items in there, too! This is an especially effective tactic if you’ve got a really neat raffle item that would appeal to a lot of people.

Sell raffle tickets ahead of time, too

You’re already promoting your raffle items—why not go ahead and sell some tickets before the event? If you wanted to get really fancy and promote raffle tickets before your auction, you could explore promotional prices for tickets purchased ahead of time.

Sell ticket “bundles” to boost sales

Depending on the price per raffle ticket, you may want to consider selling “bundles” of tickets to increase sales and provide value to your donors. If tickets are $20, for example, you could sell a bundle of 6 tickets for $100. The donor may opt to buy the bundle instead of buying 3-4 tickets. That means more money for you and a free $20 ticket for them.

Selling raffle tickets is a pretty traditional way to raise more money at a silent auction. What is less traditional is the next strategy!

Add experiences to your event

Not everyone who attends your auction will bid on items but they may want to support you in other ways. Offering experiences that enhance your event and encourage donations is a fun way to get more people involved! It can also encourage people to buy tickets to your event even if they know they won’t bid.

This is a chance to use your imagination! Choose an activity that fits your event’s theme and can be run by volunteers. As an example, I attended a New Orleans-themed event that offered tarot readings to guests. It fit beautifully with the event! There was no charge for getting a reading (just a suggested donation), but all tips and donations were donated to the nonprofit at the end of the night. It was fun for everyone!

Add text giving options

Many people who attend your event will want to donate to your cause whether or not they bid on any of your items. Give them an easy way to do so by offering text giving options!

First, choose a keyword that relates to your event. Setting up a keyword specific to your event will help you track how much money you raised during that campaign without having to do tedious record-keeping. Then, choose a few ways to display the keyword around your event. You could consider printing it on programs, including the keyword on displays, and having any speakers (or even your DJ!) mention the keyword during a short appeal for donations.

Add fund-a-need items to your auction

Not familiar with the term “fund-a-need?” It’s simple! “Fund-a-need” items help, well, fund a need… and they’re great additions to auctions.

Pretend you’re a nonprofit that focuses on providing educational opportunities for school students. You could include fund-a-need items like backpacks, school supplies, and scholarships. Or, if you’re an animal welfare nonprofit, you could create items like pet food, vaccinations, or medical procedures.

These items are great for engaging attendees who don’t want to get involved in the auction side of things. I might not want to get into a bidding war over a gift basket, but I’ll certainly “buy” a $50 backpack full of school supplies for a student in need!

Final thoughts

Want to make your upcoming auction a success? Add elements to your event that let people support your cause even if they don’t win an item. Giving people the option to buy raffle tickets, pay for experiences, give via text, or buy fund-a-need items helps you raise more money at your event and makes them feel like they’re making a difference.

Want to learn more about auction tools?

Qgiv has a super-cool auctions and event management platform that includes all the tools you need to add these elements to your next event. You can learn more about our auctions platform on this page, or you can contact us to request a one-on-one tour of our tools.

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