Thursday, June 21, 2012

Silent Auction vs Raffle

A silent auction can be a great addition to any fundraising event dinner or gala. I remember participating in my first silent auction a few years ago at a University fundraiser and I had a great time competing for items which I bid on. Silent auctions are a fun and interactive way for your supporters to donate at your event.

Silent auctions are effective because they are a win-win situation, you give your supporters a choice of how much they want to spend on items which they may acually be getting at a discount. Supporters are also in control of the amount of risk they are willing to take on when bidding for a particular item. If they want an item bad enough they have the ability to bid high to try and win it. A silent auction also takes "luck of the draw" out of the equation, this helps increase participation levels by your guests.

With raffles on the other hand, you set the price for the tickets and your guests don't have any of control over whether they win or not. You may also have to apply for a lottery license in order to hold a raffle. Another negative is that guests may be hesitant to participate in a raffle because they have to rely on luck in order to be victorious. The advantage of a raffle is that you receive money even from the people who don't win the item.

Here are a few tips for running a successful silent action:

-Have items donated from local businesses in exchange for recognition at the event.
-Make sure the items have great value to your guests. Ask if you could see yourself bidding on the item. Gift certificates for spa days, romantic weekends and dinners for two are always hot sellers.
-Have the MC make it clear what your group is raising money for and how donations will help.
-Make sure everyone understands the rules surrounding the bidding process (silent auctions may be a new concept to some of your guests).
-Make it clear what items are up for auction, use visual aids wherever possible and outline exactly what bidders will be getting.
-Don't have change on hand...silent auction bids usually come out to an uneven number like $27.85...In most cases your guests won't mind rounding up and paying $30.00. Don't forget they'll be excited about just winning the item and hopefully over-generous at the same time.

There are clearly advantages to both a raffle and a silent auction. Remember there is no rule that says you can't incorporate both into your next dinner or event.


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