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.