Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of comparing the numbers of your benefit auction to other events. Results vary by region, guest capacity, the cause, the type of event, and other factors.
Furthermore, unless you are able to see all of the data and how a charity is tracking its results, numbers can be misleading. Highly misleading.
But on the other hand, many Auction Chairs are curious. They like auction statistics because they learn what others charge for tickets, for instance. Or how many auction items other groups offer.
The results I share below are from fewer than 100 events. Truly these numbers are just a drop in the bucket when compared to the total number of charity auctions taking place in the USA.
But in the spirit of giving insight, here are some highlights from 2019.
This data was pulled from working at 65 fundraising auctions in 17 different states.
Benefit Auction Ticket Pricing
- Lowest individual ticket price: $0. (One event charged $25. The next highest was $50.)
- Highest individual ticket price: $500
- Mode individual ticket price: $150
- Average individual ticket price: $178
- At some schools, discounts for faculty ranged from “free to attend” to a 50% discount.
- It should be noted that some events advertise an individual ticket price, but the gala is filled through sponsor tables and no individual tickets are sold, anyway.
Benefit Auction Attendance (not including volunteers)
- Smallest event guest count: 120
- Largest event guest count: 910
- Mode event guest count: 300
- Average event guest count: 327
- Least amount raised in live auction: $8900
- Most amount raised in live auction: $105,250
- Mode amount raised in live auction: $37,000
- Average amount raised in live auction: $30,000
- Average sale price of a live auction item: $3353 per item
- Mode, median, and average number of live auction items offered: 10 (total range was 3 items to 28 items)
Paddle Raiser / Fund a Need
Not all events included paddle raisers. Others only had a paddle raiser and skipped a live or silent auction.
- Least amount raised: $7850
- Most amount raised: $472,500 (One event had a guest make a surprise $1 million gift during the fund a need. That result skews the statistics so much, I’m not including it.)
- Average amount raised: $72,906
- The breakdown
- 52% of events including a paddle raiser generated $0 to $50k
- 30% of events including a paddle raiser generated $50k to $100k
- 15% of events including a paddle raiser generated $100k to $250k
- 3% of events including a paddle raiser generated $250k to $500k
It’s too difficult for me to accurately track silent auction data across my client base as each committee categorizes it differently.
- Exactly 50% of those events with silent auctions had guests use mobile bidding to bid on the items.
Do you feel better or worse about your benefit auction?
Ready to raise your ticket price?
Ready to sell fewer live auction items?
What changes might you be making to your event, based on these numbers?
Post your thoughts below.