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Act Now! The Importance of Urgency at Silent Auctions

There’s no question that the silent auction portion of your fundraising event is crucial to helping your nonprofit organization raise funds. For this reason, your silent auction must be presented in a way that gets your donors ready to bid! In this blog, we will talk about the secret ingredient to a successful auction... urgency, and how to establish an urgent tone at your next silent auction event. This can make the difference between just meeting the starting bids versus encouraging your donors to competitively bid up your items.



Why So Urgent?


As you can see by now, urgency is the keyword here. Let’s take a second to consider why this term is so important concerning the way you execute your silent auction. Here are a few simple sayings to consider:

“The silent auction closes at 7:30 PM.”

“The silent auction closes in 1 hour.”

“The silent auction closes in 60 minutes.”

“The silent auction closes in just under 59 minutes!”

Which one of the above sayings gives you the biggest sense of urgency? You should be thinking about the last one on the list, “The silent auction closes in just under 59 minutes!” Even in this simple example, you can feel the urgency in the way those instructions are given. With this saying, your guests are much more likely to take action.


Tips to Create Urgency


Now that we have a better understanding of why it’s so important to create urgency at your silent auction, let’s take a look at some creative ways to execute this initiative.

Set a timer. Nothing creates urgency like the ticking of a clock! Since we are all doing virtual events, for the time being, it’s easy enough to put one up on the screen for all to see as well as next to each silent auction item.


Explain the consequences of missing out. For example, you have 15 minutes to bid, don’t lose out on this once-in-a-lifetime trip!


Use time-related words. When giving instructions, be sure to use words such as now, quick, seconds, close, never, approaching, and hurry. “Act now” is a tried-and-true saying that works very well or “this is your fair warning.”

Create competition. Make sure your guests are aware of the heavy competition that occurs during silent auctions. Stirring up competition brings out the big bidders!


Find A Good Balance

It’s easy to see how an urgent tone can help at your next fundraising event. However, be sure not to go overboard with your tone. Don’t drown out your event with constant urgent warnings. Rather, spread them out across your event using strategic timing, building with more frequent messages as the close approaches. For more detail on Strategic Auction Timing, stay tuned for our future blog.

Think of your messages to drive urgency like an eBay auction, no one bids until the very last minute because they have received notifications about the imminent closing of the item! This is the reaction you are looking for when it comes to your silent auction.




Our team here at AmFund is equipped with years of experience in delivering successful virtual, hybrid, and in-person fundraising events. If you need further assistance learning how to create ways to create urgency at your silent auctions, please contact us today.

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