• AmFund

The Highest Bid Wins: The cons of the “Buy it Now” Option

A good silent auction will keep your guests engaged throughout the event. The idea is to get your guests into the habit of participating in the auction. Remember, your message should always be this: the highest bid wins! When you offer a “Buy it Now” option on your auction bid sheets, you minimize the amount of participation that your guests will have with your silent auction.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the other negative impacts that the “Buy it Now” option can have on your event.



Setting a limit on your items is never a good idea. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the “Buy it Now” option will accomplish. Your bidders will only bid up to a certain number that you set as the “Buy it Now” option. While this set number may be the real value of the item, your goal is to make as much money as you possibly can to help support your organization’s cause. For this reason, you should always stick with the message that we mentioned above: the highest bid wins! You are more likely to receive a bid that exceeds the value of the item when you go with this setup.


Guests feel cheated when the auction becomes a store. The “Buy it Now” options essentially turns the auction into a bargain-hunting store. Many of your guests will feel cheated as if they were merely shopping around, instead of being a part of an exhilarating silent auction bid.

Don't forget, you want them to feel as though they are "Winning" something and supporting your organization, rather than "Buy" something. Compare these two sentences: "I won this necklace in support of the XYZ foundation" vs. "I bought this necklace at the XYZ Foundation." How would you prefer your guests recounting the evening to their friends and family?


Remember this as an additional tip with your silent auctions: you always want to keep your guests moving forward in their giving opportunities. Keep your fundraising components separate so that your guests don’t “Think about it, think about it, and then forget about it.” In other words, keep your silent auction separate from your other fundraising opportunities in your agenda so that your guests can stay focused on putting in the highest bids for the items that they want.



Avoiding the “Buy it Now” option is just one of many tips that can help lead your organization towards a successful fundraising event. If you are looking for more tips and insights to help out with your next fundraising event, reach out to us at AmFund. Our friendly, experienced team will make sure your next fundraising event is a success!


*When the buy it now option works best: too many items, stick your less expensive valuable, open auction 2 weeks early online with buy it now options, don’t bring sold items to event. This allows you to focus on the higher end items at the event and increase the chances of competitive bidding. If you don’t have an online platform, save those items for another event or a door prize or raffle.

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