This is a 3-part blog post, explaining why benefit auctions should identify guests with bid numbers instead of names.
- The first post looked at the benefits of using numbers in a Fund a Need.
- The second post examined the use of numbers in the live auction.
- Today we’ll turn to the silent auction.
Why you should use silent auction bid numbers (not names) on your bidding sheets.
Why do this?
It’s an easy answer.
Because you’ll raise more money.
A big misunderstanding — especially among school auction committees — is that guests will intentionally bid against one another in a silent auction if they know whom they are bidding against.
That’s not true.
For each guest that *will* start bidding against others upon knowing the competition, 99 other guests will stop.
Your bidders are more sensitive to “being nice” in a silent auction than you think they are!
Once a guest knows who is bidding against them, I often hear these comments:
- “He has way more money than I,” she’ll share, “I’ll never win it anyway.” And she stops bidding.
- “I don’t want to bid against a teacher,” another says. And she stops bidding.
- “I’ll let her have it,” one says, “I don’t need it,” a third says. And she stops bidding.
To stop this behavior, stop using names.
When bid numbers are used, guests don’t know who is bidding against them. In your bidder’s mind, the competition is deemed to be at a level playing field.
But as soon as the identity of the other bidder is known, judgements start about who has more or less money or need for the item.
Don’t invite those judgements into your silent auction.
Instead, just ask for a bid number on the silent auction bid sheet. Don’t use names.