Charity Fundraising Blog

Seasonal Silent Auction Items – Getting the most out of your VIP Experience Packages and Autographed Sports Memorabilia

By Charity Fundraising - May 16th, 2017

Whether you’re looking for your last Silent Auction Item for your up and coming event or you’ve just begun looking, procuring zero-risk VIP Experience Packages and Autographed Sports Memorabilia is hard to pass up.

But what makes a silent auction item secure the highest possible bid?

Is there strategy involved with picking the best auction item out of all the possibilities?

Here’s a secret…

VIP Experience Packages and Autographed Sports Memorabilia go for higher bids when they are in season.

Now, you may be asking yourself: “How are auction items seasonal?”

(Here’s a hint: think “Sport Season”)

You want to curate a list of silent auction items that will excite your audience.

Not only should your auction items be tailored to the interests of your audience, they should also be tailored to the current interests of your audience!

This concept plays out heavily in the field of Autographed Sports Memorabilia and VIP Experience Packages…

VIP Experience Packages are most exciting to your guests when the experience is already on the guest’s mind.

When are you thinking about the Superbowl? In the middle of the summer before preseason is even on your mind? Or in the height of the playoffs when your team is doing well?

Would you buy box seat tickets to a Yankees game when they are headed to the playoffs? Does that sound more appealing then in the dead of winter? The same question can be applied to a Golf Master Tournament, the NBA Championship and the list goes on and on.

While you don’t want the VIP Experience Package to be scheduled for the following weekend (that’s too short notice!), it’s important to strategically auction off items that will be of current interest to your audience.

Autographed Sports Memorabilia is the celebration of memories and achievement. The worth we ascribe to material items is subjective. That’s why signed memorabilia has the power of being priceless.

Past experiences – memories – are not always felt or remembered with the same fervor at all times.

Sports bring out that zeal in many people. The smell of fall leaves can get some people itching to watch a football game.

Whether it is Willie Mays and Yogi Berra on the baseball field or Arnold Palmer on the greens, the giants and heroes of our past speak louder when we are reminded of what they did.

VIP Experience Packages and Autographed Sports Memorabilia can and should be tailored to your audience’s current interest. Out of Charity Fundraising’s dozens of zero-risk options, we can help you find the perfect silent auction item for your next event.

3 Ways Experiential Auction Items Recreate The Annual Silent Auction For The New Supporter

By Charity Fundraising - April 15th, 2017

VIP Experience for Charity Auctions by Charity Fundraising

Silent Auctions are traditional (perhaps annual for many nonprofits) and stressful to plan.

Keeping any event (especially an annual event) fresh and new is always a challenge. And yet, silent auctions can stay fresh and new every year, without much logistical changes.


The secret is in the auction item line up.

We’re not joking!

A recent survey by the National Auctioneers Association concluded that 93% of all event attendees go to events to have fun. Whether your event is a silent or live auction, your guests want to be engaged and have a great time!

If your event is focused on your guest’s experience then your fundraiser will never get old.

Here are three ways experiential auction items create such an atmosphere:

  1. They create memories, not clutter.

Beautiful things are nice. We all like a new pair of shoes or a new golf club (or both!). But, at the end of the day, people want to get rid of their “stuff”. Garage sales and spring-cleaning overhauls are therapeutic for many people. Material gain is not what most people strive to attain.

Lifelong memories are what people have always been itching to have. It doesn’t matter the age or the interest, experience triumphs over possessions.

The travel bug bites, the concert fiends are boundless, and the food and wine aficionados cannot wait to learn and taste more!

Experiential VIP Experience/Vacation Packages offers your guests, who already have that emotional connection to that type of experience, an opportunity to seize the day!

  1. They are current.

Young professionals are coming onto the scene. The way they decide to spend their money is different then the big supporters of the past. A recent Gallup Poll shows that millennials “look for work that fuels their sense of purpose.” The interests of the up and coming generation are to experience new things and help the causes they believe in!

  1. They don’t crack the ceiling.

Experiential items are pretty simple. Experiences don’t have a price tag.

This simplicity of experiential auction items comes to a great advantage for the success of an auction fundraiser.
With the subjective value of VIP Experience/Vacation Packages nonprofits can sidestep the “glass ceiling” for experiential auction items. A Rome VIP Vatican Exploration or Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago Shopping Spree is more ambiguous (and sounds lot more fun!) than an Italian leather auction item or jewelry from tiffanies.

Bottom line: Commit to procuring different auction items than your favorites from previous years and continually strive for a more effective experience for your guests!

if your non-profit is looking for VIP Experiences and Vacation Packages for your upcoming auction fundraiser, contact Charity Fundraising today!

The ABC’s to running a Silent Auction with Mobile Bidding

By Charity Fundraising - April 6th, 2017

Silent Auction Mobile Bidding

Having silent auction items at your fundraiser is a smart move to increase your non-profits donations and revenue. The planning process and the excitement during the silent auction event is quite familiar to the nonprofit world.

The newcomer into this world is the mobile silent auction. An estimation of 30% of auction events today utilizes a form of mobile bidding.

Think about it…

We become more comfortable and more dependent on technology every day. The usability and versatility of our smartphones and tablets is becoming more acceptable and desired over any other platforms.

 Mobile bidding is a not only becoming a more viable option for nonprofits than ever, it also comes with benefits!

Here are the ABC’s to running a silent auction with mobile bidding…


Benefit: Accessibility

Tip: Acquire the right mobile bidding provider

Mobile bidding with auction software can solve a number of problems for silent auction events. One of the biggest remedies is its ability to solve space constraints.

Utilizing a venue to its fullest requires the balancing act of a excited crowd and proper space. Successful events have a successful turnout of people. You can’t have too few guests present and optimally succeed. On the other hand, your event will loose bids if your guests find it impossible to access the bidding sheets because of its too crowded.

With mobile bidding, a guest’s access to the bidding sheet of an auction item of interests is at one’s fingertips! Mobile bidding creates easy access, allowing donors to more easily engage with the auction items of his/her interest.

Not only does mobile bidding create a global access to auction items (increasing the competition component of the event), it also creates a freer atmosphere in the selected venue.

Instead of being tied to the auction tables with pen and paper bidding, mobile bidding allows your guests to enjoy and take their time in line at the buffet, eating at the tables or mingling with their drinks.

A quick tip: Make sure you spend time acquiring the right mobile bidding provider. The accessibility of mobile bidding can only be as good as the platform you decide to use!


Benefit: Branding

Tip: Bundle items

Mobile bidding provides your auction event new branding opportunities for your organization as well as your event sponsors. Technology has its limitations – batteries deplete and phones and tablets need to be recharged.

The solution?

Branded charging stations or baskets with branded individual pocket chargers.

A quick tip: sponsorship opportunities can be increased when you bundle items through mobile bidding. Creating packaged deals allows for smaller but more sponsorship. Combining smaller donations into one larger auction item instantly makes the sum of its parts more valuable than before.


Benefit: Convenience

Tip: Consider cell reception

Not only does mobile bidding bring convenience to your guests, it also saves YOU time!

When silent auctions are moved to an online platform, nonprofits can eliminate the unnecessary stressors and time wasters. Some of these hassles include bid sheets, spreadsheets, auction binders, receipts and more. Paperless transactions offer more organization and less time.

A quick tip: event headaches with mobile bidding come in the form of poor cell reception. Remember to consider the cell reception as a priority when picking the venue for your event. Additionally, consider creating wi-fi hotspots if cell reception is a concern for your venue. (These hotspot areas can also be branding opportunities!)

Looking for more tips and tricks to make your silent auction a success? Contact Charity Fundraising at


3 Solutions to Common Live Charity Auction Problems

By Charity Fundraising - March 11th, 2017

A live charity auction’s bare essentials are two-fold: its charity auction items and its guests.

When push comes to shove, the venue, decorations, and dinner/cocktail menu are secondary to the primary concern of the auction.

Details are merely the icing on the cake! And what is the point of icing with no cake?

So let’s dive in to the 3 common problems of live auction events:

1) Auction Item Overload

Problem: What is the proper number of auction items?

5, 10, 15, 20, or more?

Finding the ideal number of items for your live auction seems easy enough. Most nonprofit organizations spend close to a year planning a live auction event. In which time, attaining exciting auction items is a primary goal.

But here’s the catch…

What takes months to plan takes only a few hours to execute.

It is for this reasons imperative that a live auction does not overload its auction items.

Listening to an auctioneer chant “1000, 1150, 1200, 1250, 1300, 1350, 1400, holding at 1,400…” will only hold the attention spans of guests for a limited amount of time. It won’t be long before disinterest will grow and chatter will begin.

We recommend no more than 8-12 live auction items.

Drawing out the live auction portion of the event for hours on end will do nothing for your organization aside from trivializing your exciting auction items. The amount of money you make at a live auction can significantly drop off the more auction items you pile into the event.

What’s the solution?


Try a Super Silent Auction.

Super silent auctions are comprised of exciting and valuable auction items that would be suitable for a live auction. However, these silent auctions can save your guests from sitting through a seemingly endless event. Respect your guest’s time. Respect the donated items too! If properly placed with special lighting, auction items can be given there due attention through a super silent auctions and announcing them from the live auction stage.

Prioritize Special Auction items through Super Silent Auctions


2) Too few Auction Items

Problem: We only have 2-3 quality auction items for the upcoming event.

Sometimes, a live auction event is not planned as thoroughly as an organization would have wished. Sometimes, an organization thinks that 2-3 auction items is all that they need!

It is just as easy to have too many auction items, as it is to have too few auction items.

So what do you do if you’ve never acquired more than 2-3 auction items?

First, ask. Ask past sponsors, board members, and local companies in the community for auction item donations or auction item backings. Nonprofit relationships are the backbone to any successful event. Growing and networking relationships builds a stronger organization during and after an event.

Second, use us! Our zero-risk Autographed Celebrity, Music and Sports Memorabilia and exclusive VIP Experiences and Vacation Packages are crowd-pleasers at any live auction event. Learn more!

3) Preparing for the Guest list

Problem: We are going to have more guests than ever before.

 As an organization grows, so do its supporters. A successful organization with a successful annual event will continue to increase its guest list.

But is there a limit to how big the guest list can be?

Our answer: No!

Whether your live auction event has grown from 50 to 100 guests or from 200 to 600 guests, the plausibility of the event rests in the preparation.

Handling a larger crowd than what is standard for your organization can be simple and straightforward – with the right help. Depending on the number of guests, this is where having an auctioneer at the helm of your event and possibly hiring professional bid spotters (ringmen) is necessary. Contact Charity Fundraising, so our fundraising professionals can offer their years of experience to help you with your specific charity auction event needs.

5 Tips for Running a Smooth and Effective Silent Auction

By Charity Fundraising - February 20th, 2017

5 Tips for Running a Smooth and Effective Silent Auction Charity Fundraising

Research shows that most live and silent auction items procure 60-80% of their retail value. An event is made up of the details. A nonprofit’s silent auction practices can make or break the attendee’s experience. Does your organization set minimum bids? When do you close your silent auction? Is your checkout process a drag every year?

Bolster your event’s turnout by controlling your silent auction practices:

1) Set Minimum Bid at 50-60% Retail Value

It’s not necessary to set a minimum bid for a silent auction item. However, it’s important to not overshoot your minimum bid. Set an auction item’s opening bid at 50-60% of its retail value – (never higher than 60%) to encourage multiple bids on a single auction item.

2) Never close the Silent Auction during the Live Auction

If your organization chooses to have both a silent and live auction at the fundraising event, consider keeping the silent auction open until the end of the night. It’s a common misconception to believe that closing the silent auction will get more participants and engagement for the live auction. Unfortunately, closing the silent auction tends to have a reverse affect. A live auction needs momentum and energy. The last thing an auctioneer or emcee needs is his crowd leaving in droves to catch the end of the silent auction.

3) Close Silent Auction at 10-15 minute intervals

Interval closing compresses the auction items and brings excitement and attention to an increasingly limited amount of items. This strategy helps guests shift their attention away from guarding a particular item for the entire night, opening up the opportunity for them to consider more items. Try leaving the big and popular items for the last interval closing. It also makes sponsors and donors happy to see their donated item getting concentrated attention.

4) Expedite checkout through technology

Dragging out the financial logistics of the checkout process is a pain for your organization and for your guests. After a long night, endless waiting and undue stress does not solidify the  “luxurious” or “fun” experience in your guest’s mind. Consider working with an auction software company and asking your guests to pre-register their credit cards before the event. Additionally, mobile bidding makes the checkout process entirely online. “I can grab my purchased items and leave?” Now, that sounds like luxury.

5) Displaying Retail Values Creates a Glass Ceiling

We recommend that you do not list the retail value by your auction items. Knowledge is power. Giving your guests this knowledge puts an invincible (but all too real) price point ceiling in the minds of your donors. Furthermore, it takes part of the intrigue and excitement of the auction item out of the game. A successful auction item – like autographed memorabilia or a vacation package – is purchased for the good of the cause and for the experience, not the price point.

If your organization is looking for auction items for your next fundraiser contact Charity Fundraising today!