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Don’t Underestimate the Value of Item Placement at Your Virtual Silent Auction.

We’ve discussed the importance of the proper placement of items at your in-person silent auction in a previous blog entry. Even though that information remains valuable, it’s time to look at this topic from a different angle: the virtual silent auction. Yes, most nonprofits are sticking with the virtual approach for their fundraisers for the time being. It remains the safest way to raise funds during the pandemic. With that in mind, we will continue to offer tips and advice to improve your virtual fundraising strategies. This entry will focus on how your items are strategically placed in your virtual silent auction layout to maximize funds raised.

Why is the placement of items so important?

Maybe the placement of items isn’t an aspect of your fundraisers that you considered in the past. With so many other components to plan out, this is one area that is easy to overlook. But the placement of items is unquestionably essential. An item placement strategy ties heavily into the financial success of your event.

The placement of items plays into the mindset of your guests who are considering their bidding options. The way items are grouped, the way items are compared next to each other, and other such placement methods will affect how your guests might bid. Even in the virtual setting — it’s so important to consider the layout and placement of your items.

DO NOT group your items in specific sections.

We start here with this piece of advice because it is one of the most common errors that we see at silent auctions. Grouping your items into specific sections, such as a “sports memorabilia,” “alcohol section,” or “jewelry section,” will make it so that your guests only visit the sections that sound interesting to them. By setting things up this way, your guests will likely miss out on other items that they might have placed bid on. Generalized groupings that appeal to a large general audience, such as travel is fine, however, don’t limit your viewership when it comes to more specific sections such as “clothing,” “household,” “outdoor,” or “gardening”.

When it comes to the virtual setting, creating separate specific item groups is an easy mistake when creating a virtual layout. It may seem like an organized way to set up your items; however, you will be much better off randomizing your items so that you get more views across all of your items.

Separate similar items

When you set up your virtual layout, keep similar items separated from each other. Side-by-side comparisons usually make it so that only one item ends up getting the majority of bids. For example, if you have two autographed jerseys by two different football players, separate them in your virtual layout. One player may be more popular than the other. If you put the two jerseys side by side, most bids will go to just that one player.

Mix men and women’s items together

This idea goes back to what we said earlier about grouping. When you set up a virtual fundraiser, your first thought is to separate items into groups — such as men and women. Keep in mind men will often buy for women, and women will often buy for men. Mixing the items randomly in your layout will increase the chances of getting viewed and receiving bids.

Create a simple layout for easy online navigation

Last but certainly not least, consider the way your guests navigate through your items in a virtual silent auction. Choose a simple visual presentation that allows your guests to view the item, read the description and place a bid, all with relative ease. If your layout is too busy or confusing, your guests will quickly get frustrated. Keep this in mind: simplicity is the key!

If you need help with the strategic placement of your items at your next virtual fundraising event or would like to be considered for our Fundraising Travel Program, contact the American Fundraising Foundation. Our team of experienced fundraising experts will do everything possible to make sure your next event is a success. As always, thanks for reading, and stay safe!


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