In my consultations with clients, I’m often asked for my opinion about items.
- “Should we include this airfare?”
- “Will we make more money if we package THESE together, or THOSE together?”
- “How should we promote this?”
If the gala only has a silent auction, I’m never asked whether an item belongs in the silent auction or live auction – there’s no choice!
But if the gala includes both components, the “silent versus live” debate surfaces.
In this post, I want to discuss how an auction item can be affected by its placement in a silent section versus the live auction.
One of my clients has a wonderful patron who looks like Santa Claus. All around the world, people stop him to comment on his resemblance to St. Nick.
- In 2008 the charity created a fun live auction item package in which this patron agreed to dress as Santa and attend a holiday party. The item sold for almost $2000.
- In 2009, the item was moved into the silent auction. There were two active bidders, and it sold for around $600.
Why the difference?
There are specific marketing techniques that should be used for silent auction items, and a different set of marketing techniques that should be used for live auction items. But even when those are followed, there will be a difference in sale price because of the method of sale. Putting an item in the live auction will always garner it more money than what it can bring through a silent auction.
Keep this point in mind as you structure your auction.