Silent Auction vs. Live Auction

Should we have a live auction or silent auction? Or both?

Generally, silent auctions are better suited to lower-value, more numerous items, and live auctions for higher-end items. Expect your silent auction items to bring in around 50% of their retail value. Live auction items, on average, will bring anywhere from 70% to far more than their value, on average. That said, even if you only have one, or a few high-end items, make a live auction out of them!

Silent auctions typically require a lot more work for a lot less reward. It’s more work to get all those items, to display them and create bid sheets for them. Once a silent auction is over, there are more items to create invoices for and to deliver to bidders.

The best strategy is to plan from the beginning to do both, putting your ten or so best items in the live auction, and the rest in the silent auction. The live auction will create energy and excitement that a silent auction never will!

Whatever form of auction you choose, make sure to include Paddles Up. There is always more money in a room full of donors than what they can spend on items. It’s there for the asking – make sure you ask!