How to use sealed bid in your silent auction

Real estate services were offered via blind bid at this auction.

In February I was working with a new client who was sharing information about their live auction items from the prior year. The conversation went something like this:Me:  "So you sold a home irrigation system in the live auction last year?" They: "Yes.  It's worth nearly $4000, so we put it in the live auction to get better money for it.  We sold it for $1600.  I think we had 3 bids on it."Me: "We can find a better way to sell that item this year."And we did find a better way. This year, we sold that irrigation system donation via sealed bid.  The item received 8 bids and sold for $2309, an increase of $709. Sealed bid is also « Continue Reading »

[VIDEO] You can’t open auction checkout in 20 minutes

Last week I led a webinar on how to run a manual auction checkout process.  During the webinar, one participant asked a question about timing.She wanted a 20 minute window between the time the silent auction closed and guests collected their items. Though admirable, I said that I didn't think her timeframe was realistic. To be fair, I  don't know the particulars of her auction. The webinar system didn't allow us to have a free flowing conversation to explore details around her timeline, layout, guest count, item count, and so forth.  I spoke and she typed answers -- hardly the ideal communication system for a consultative « Continue Reading »

[VIDEO] Free donations to sell at school auctions, like Spirit Rock

Spirit rock at school auction

I'm working with a lot of schools right now as this is the height of school auction season.  In keeping with the season, here's an idea specifically for you school auction committees.I'm often asked for ideas for items that a committee can procure for "free." By "free," the committee means they won't have to ask a company for a donation.  It can also reference the fact that the item itself doesn't have a hard financial value associated to it. Some more common examples of free items are below.10 free school auction ideas for itemsVIP seats to graduation or another event of significance, such as the spring musical program or « Continue Reading »

[Video] Model this sound system for a silent auction


Gyms are notorious for being difficult venues for audio. But if you’re counting on high revenue from your silent auction, you’ll need a good sound system to help you promote. Here’s how one group set it up.

Continue Reading

School auction idea: Reward teachers with their own raffle

Faculty Raffle in auction catalog

Though I’m not a fan of having teachers attend your school auction, I am a fan of rewarding them in other ways, like using teacher-only raffles.

Continue Reading

Is your live auction “average?” (2015 by the numbers)

2015 School auctions pie chart

When it comes to the live auction portion of your auction fundraiser, are you “normal?” Does your school /nonprofit sell a typical number of live items? Find out here.

Continue Reading

When I retire, I’ll move to Princeton, NJ for this. (And a lesson in thanking event sponsors)

PSRC 12-2015 Directors message page 2 event sponsors

Here are three examples of how to publicly thank event sponsors from your auction.

Continue Reading