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Pro Tips to a Successfully Close Your Silent Auction

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Auctions are exciting. People fervidly bidding as the time grows closer and closer to time. Who will get it?! What bid will win out?! However, in the world of silent auctions, or now with the rise of virtual events, that excitement can wane. What does that mean for your results?

Imagine a silent or virtual auction strategy that created the same excitement and tension, and drove more bids right until the last second? If you want a silent or virtual auction with this kind of vibe, consider these 4 strategies:

1. Keep to your closing time: It's important to not extend the length of your auction. If you extend the time frame without much forewarning while someone is watching an item you risk upsetting the bidder and losing their support altogether. Integrity matters in every detail.

2. Ensure the silent portion closes prior to the live auction: Keeping the silent auction open through the live auction is not recommended. If you run the silent auction during the live event, you’ll divide your audience’s attention and create distraction from both auctions. By closing it before the live auction, you will give your staff time to prepare the items for each winner before the end of the night. However, in the instance of mobile bidding you can keep it open until the end of the event.

3. Close your auction in sections: It's best practice to have your silent auction items organized into sections. One way to do this is color-coding–for example, you can color-code the items by price. Colors are a great way for guests to easily distinguish and remember sections. During the auction, you can then close each section in five-minute increments. Start with the bidding for the lower items first and work your way up to the highest ticket items. This typically encourages bidders that had their eye on a smaller item to bid on another item in a higher-level section, simply because they don’t want to leave empty handed.

4. Have volunteers lined-up to close the silent auction: Avoid last minute confusion by assigning several volunteers to “close out” the silent auction. Provide them with ample coaching on the process to ensure it runs smoothly.

Following these four closing strategies will help ensure you have an amazing, organized, and successful fundraising event.

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