For your silent auction to be a complete success, you need to be prepared for every possible detail all the way through to the end of the event. Never open your silent auction until you are fully prepared for every aspect of the event. Specifically in this blog article, we want to focus in on the end of the silent auction event: the silent auction checkout. The checkout process often gets overlooked by many organizations. Without an organized checkout plan in place, you run the risk of unintentionally penalizing some of your best supporters.
Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks to help you develop a flawless checkout process at your next silent auction.
Never do early check outs
This is one of the more common errors that can occur. Organizations will often provide an early checkout for a guest or two as a courtesy.
Once you do this for just one guest, the “stampede” begins. You will be overwhelmed with checkout requests at a time when your staff is not fully prepared to handle them. Do not station any personnel at the checkout tables until the moment you are ready to open. At the end of the day, stick to this rule of thumb: No matter how convincing the reason you’re your guests, never allow for an early checkout.
Designate a checkout “work” area
When the silent auction closes, take all of the checkout paperwork to a quiet work area. This separate work space will allow your checkout workers to get organized away from the chaotic event space.
Organizing the paperwork
Discuss a plan of organization with your checkout workers ahead of time. Having a plan in place will eliminate confusion on the spot and significantly speed up the checkout process. Don't get buried in closeout paperwork!
Here are AmFund’s recommended steps to help keep your checkout paperwork organized: Combine the paperwork for all items purchased by each bidder and then total the entire amount for each bidder. Staple each bidder’s paperwork together and assemble all paperwork in alphabetical order. Lay out each bidder’s paperwork on the checkout table in the same alphabetical order. This makes each bidder’s checkout information and receipts easy to find. Have the names facing you, so that bidders don’t try to select their own paperwork.
A few more tips that are sure to help with checkout:
· Table location is key. Make sure the silent auction checkout table is located in a visible area just outside the main room. The table should be between the main room and the exit. Bidders should have easy access back to the silent auction area for easy pick up of their winnings.
· Lighting and power access are must-haves. Make sure your silent auction area is located in a spot with good lighting. You will also need easy access to power and signal for credit card terminals (always be sure to bring a manual credit card swipe machine in case of any technical errors).
· Test out your silent auction setup. Do a test session of your setup ahead of time. This will give the opportunity to work out the kinks of the setup before guests arrive. Once guests arrive, it’s nearly impossible to make major changes to your setup.
It’s important to get the checkout process right. If you do not have an organized checkout process at your silent auction, you may unknowingly upset some of your biggest supporters. For more tips on checkout and other components of coordinating major fundraising events, reach out to us at AmFund today.