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.