So what’s it like to hold a silent auction with AFGI?

Silent Auction - Silent Auctions with

AFGI is Canada’s top live and silent auction fundraising experts. We have been in business for over 40 years and have provided our clients in Toronto and the GTA professional auction services at a silent auction or charity fundraiser at no cost, no risk and without hidden fees. If you are organizing a charity fundraiser for your non-profit please contact us so we can share how we help you raise money for your worthy cause.

Below we recently caught up with a client we helped a couple of years ago. Here’s what they had to say about working with AFGI.

Q:           What kind of event were you holding?

A:            Well my family had recently experience a brush with cancer with one of our family members. Fortunately the person went through treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and after a few months of treatment the cancer went into remission. We were so grateful that we wanted to hold some sort of fundraiser to support cancer research and the Princess Margaret Hospital. So we decided to hold a dinner as a fundraiser.

Q:           Why did you decide to hold a silent auction?

A:            When we looked at our event we realized that we had a cocktail hour with no entertainment. We also thought there would be an opportunity to raise more funds beyond the price of the event ticket – so we started thinking about having a silent auction set up during the cocktail hour prior to the dinner.

Q:           How did you find AFGI?

A:            We started with a google search! And it was pretty apparent that AFGI had a long history of producing excellent silent auctions. So we contacted them and told them about our event…from the first phone call they were fantastic to work with and very helpful.

Q:           Silent Auctions sounds like a lot of work…how did you find the experience?

A:            That’s what we were worried about! There was no way my family had the time to call companies and ask for donations or organize all the pick up of items. To our great relief AFGI did all of that! Not only that but they also took the time to ask about who was attending the event and what we thought our guests would be interested in. We knew a lot of the people attending and knew they were interested in sports – so AFGI pulled together a great selection of items that included sports memorabilia.

Q:           What did you learn from holding the silent auction?

A:            A lot! I honestly don’t think our event would have been nearly successful had we not had a silent auction. At the beginning we thought a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and some speeches would be enough. But the silent auction added a whole other layer of entertainment and excitement to the event. We actually had to extend our cocktail hour to accommodate everyone who wanted to bid on items! I noticed it was a great way for people to meet and make small talk during the cocktail hour, not everyone knew each other but by the end of the event complete strangers were chatting away to each other. We also noticed that people that finished eating a little early got up and wandered around the silent auction items to take a second look. AFGI left all the items out until after the event and people were still making bids on the way out!

Q:           How much did your charity make from the silent auction?

A:            We made $2000.00 for the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Q:           Would you use AFGI again?

A:            Oh definitely! We only had to meet with them a couple of times to discuss what we wanted and then AFGI just did everything related to the silent auction. They set up everything, created all the bid sheets, stayed during the event to answer questions and then removed all the items at the end of the event. We would never have been able to pull of a silent auction of such high quality without AFGI

The Benefit of Holding a Silent Auction for your Non-Profit


If you are a non-profit and are looking for a unique way to raise money for your organization you should consider holding a silent auction. Beyond the money you can raise from the auction, there are a couple of other reasons for your non-profit to consider holding this fun event.

The concept of the silent auction is fairly straightforward:

  • non-profits solicit goods and services from businesses
  • items are then usually assembled into an event space and guests are invited to attend for a set duration of time
  • the event can be ticketed or open by invitation
  • guests are invited to ‘bid’ on the items on a sheet of paper placed in front of the item (the paper takes the place of the auctioneer – hence the term ‘silent’)
  • bidding will close at a set time and whomever has the highest bid on closing ‘wins’ the item

There are number of themes that your silent auction can take advantage of.

Artwork, Jewelry and Collectibles

Some of the most heavily sought after items at silent auctions are artwork, jewelry and collectibles. Offering framed prints, estate jewelry and other fine art associated collectibles is a sure way to get people bidding on unique one-of-a kind items they can’t find anywhere else.

Experience Packages

Experiential auction items are always popular. You can offer your clients everything from day-trips in your local area to multi-day vacations. Beyond auctioning off hotel nights and flights you can also offer all-inclusive getaways or airmiles for guests to use on their own. Many organizations also choose to develop experience packages related to the purpose of their non-profit (think art museum offers an art-viewing trip to Paris).

Genuine Sports and Hollywood Memorabilia

Memorabilia, whether from the world of sports or Hollywood, always make for successful silent auctions. You can offer: signed memorabilia, posters and tickets from past events and items of historical value. When organizing a sports related event you will also want to make sure you offer items from local sports teams. Many organizations incorporate sports-related experience packages to their event – tickets to a big event, meeting a sport legend – are guaranteed to drive the bidding (and your donations) up.

Spa and Wellness Packages

Spa days, massages, meditation, yoga classes – these items have never been more popular! Of interest to both men and women, these items make for great gifts at any time of the year. Spa packages can also be incorporated with weekend getaways.

Numismatic Collectibles (Coins, Banknotes, Silver & Gold Bullion)

One of the most traditional items of any auction are numismatic collectibles. By providing an interesting array of coins, banknotes and even silver & gold bullion, you are giving your guests the opportunity to learn more about the value for these sought after items.

Food Items/Restaurant Gift Certificates

For years people have been interested in fine foods and hard to get items – which is why food items have become so popular at silent auctions. People will gladly bid on baskets of items of their favourite goodies. You can also offer restaurant gift certificates from the best restaurants in your city. The advantage of offering food/restaurant items is that the restaurants located in your city will be eager to promote their offerings to your audience as a way to market their business/restaurant.

When planning your silent auction you don’t need to be constrained by one of the above themes – you can combine all of the items above to give your guests an incredible selection of bidding options to choose from.

Building your Donor Prospect Pool

Silent auctions are a wonderful way to attract attention to your organization and increase the people in your donor prospect pool. Many organizations choose to combine their silent auction with a dinner or cocktail party – creating a fun event allows you to sell tickets through your established fundraising channels and beyond. It is also a good opportunity to invite individuals that may be entirely new to your organization.

As any fundraising professional will tell you, identifying and cultivating a potential donor takes great time and care. If you are an organization that holds events for donor cultivation then you realize the time it requires to create a unique event. Holding a silent auction accomplishes these goals – you can tailor the auction to suit your guests preferences, and instantly create a fun event where you can meet your guests and network. Silent auctions are also great ways to get your board or fundraising committee involved, by asking your high-level volunteers to help sell tickets for your event you are expanding your community with like-minded people. While a lot of work, silent auctions can create contact point with potential donors that can establish fundraising patterns that can contribute to your organization for years.

At AFGI we offer professional management of your silent auction; we work closely with our clients to ensure that your event is held to the highest standard. One of the most time-consuming parts of organizing a silent auction is gathering items to be auctioned off. This is where AFGI can truly help your organization – we can provide you with a large assortment of items for your silent auction. Auction items can be tailored to your audience and your event theme. Our staff are experienced in setting up and dissasembling your event space and will be present throughout the event to offer assistance to you and your guests. We also manage all of the bid sheets and the opening bid process. AFGI has mastered a quick and efficient check-out process POS technology and will provided you with a detailed summary of all bids along with a final reconciliation.

At AGFI we pride ourselves on executing events that sets us apart in the industry. We apply proven marketing techniques to your silent auction and strive to make your event memorable.

We look forward to working with you!

AFGI will motivate your guests to feel generous with their hard earned money by:

  • Applying proven marketing techniques
  • Having the right products in front of them
  • Putting “show business” in the auction and create a thrill of bidding that will drive up bidding on all items

Many organizations do not exploit the more powerful strategies that make fundraising auctions successful because they don’t know about them.

People who attend charitable events with AFGI managing the auction, come away feeling they have received something of value, as well as that they have given to a cause they believe in.


Silent Auction – How To

How to Run a Successful Toronto Silent Auction Event for a Non-Profit, Charity or Community Cause

Are you looking for a way to generate some much-needed funds for your minor hockey team? Maybe your non-profit is searching for a way to spread awareness of your cause and earn some money at the same time? Not-for-profits across Canada have exceeded their fundraising goals with silent auctions, we should know, we’ve helped many of them.

School events, sports teams, community groups and various other charities and non-profits have hosted successful silent auctions to raise funds and educate people about their causes. A silent auction can be a stand-alone event, or it can be a part of a larger function such as a conference, an awards event, or even a black-tie dinner. The goal is about giving people a good time, the best silent auctions achieve this while earning revenue at the same time.

Successful silent auctions take a lot of time and experience to plan, market and execute. Without a strong strategy, your charity auction can quickly go from being profitable event to becoming a bust and even costing your group money. With so many moving pieces a professional silent auction company can make this project less daunting with a well-planned and executed strategy.

The format of a silent auction will vary slightly from auction to auction, but most of the core elements will remain consistent regardless of the event. During the auction, items that are being auctioned off will be displayed on tables throughout the room. There will be a bid-sheet in front of each item. Formats will vary but a typical bid-sheet will contain a brief description of the item, its estimated value, a minimum bid and an area for attendees to write down their name, contact information and bid amount. The silent auction provides an excellent opportunity for attendees to take their time and properly inspect each of the items for auction. Bid-sheets are an excellent way to generate both excitement and competition amongst auction attendees. An experienced auctioneer will increase engagement by carefully designing a floor plan that highlights each of the items in the silent auction. The auction event ends by organizers collecting bid-sheets at a pre-determined end-time and the winning bids are announced – with the lucky winners paying for and taking home their items.

Even the best-planned charity auction cannot succeed without the help of a strong team of volunteers. We’ve worked with charities and non-profits from coast to coast (including many in the Toronto region) and we’ve worked with some passionate and hard-working volunteers. There are many hats to be worn during a charity auction such as inventory management, auction set-up and take-down, marketing, locating auction items, handling money, and dozens of other responsibilities. We’ll work with your team of staff and volunteers and give them the training they need to excel in their respective roles during your auction event.

Every silent auction is unique but having a great selection of inventory is the best way to make the event a success. Sourcing items that your attendees will be excited to bid on can be challenging, especially during your first silent auction event. Over the years we’ve found success by offering gift certificates to local restaurants, bottles of nice wine and liquor, hotel stays, tickets to an upcoming entertainment or sporting event, autographed memorabilia (especially effective during a hockey fundraiser), gift packages and even vacations packages. An experienced silent auction professional will help source items and organize them in a way that increases both foot traffic and interest. It’s important to really understand your audience and hand pick auction items that appeal to their unique style, tastes and budgets.

We are now living in a digital world and the Internet has transformed many industries, including charity auctions. Along with holding a live silent auction event, many of our clients have found additional success by including an online bidding component to their auctions. Listing auction items in advance with detailed images and descriptions can help generate more engagement and cause more people to register for both live and online silent auction events. Hosting your auction online opens the door to a national audience and offers some exciting online marketing opportunities. A well-designed silent auction will only benefit from having an online component to it. At AFGI we have created a turn-key solution for your online auction needs, learn more by visiting

Our team of experienced auctioneers at AFGI will take your Toronto silent auction event to the next level by leveraging our years of experience marketing auction events, ensuring the right items are included in the event, creating an exciting silent auction powered by experience and organization. We work hard to ensure your guests walk away from your auction with a feeling of excitement, generosity, and value. Over the years we’ve run some of the Toronto region’s most successful silent charity auctions and we’ll bring this experience to your next fundraising event. At AFGI, your success is our success too, contact us to learn more about how we can generate more funds for your cause with a well-planned silent auction event.