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Why the Placement of Items at your Silent Auction Matters

We all know how much work goes into gathering items and donations for live and silent auction events. It takes time, effort and the right connections to put together a collection of attractive items for your event. High end items are especially coveted; these are the items that bring in the biggest bids.


Now that you have your items ready for the event, it’s time to consider how you will place them for your guests to view and bid. When it comes to silent auctions, this is a crucial planning step that will ensure that all of your hard work pays off in the end.


Avoid grouping similar items together

This is probably one of the most common errors at silent auction events. Grouping items into sections, such as a “sports section,” “wine section,” or “jewelry section” will encourage your guests to only visit certain sections that they believe to be of interest. Randomizing your items throughout the event space will put all of your guests in the best position to view every item. This type of strategic placement will garner the highest amount of bids for your event.




Side by side items create unwanted comparisons

When you put two similar items side by side, people will often compare the two and only place a bid on one of those items. For example, if you have two similar necklaces placed right next to each other, many of your guests will instantly decide one is better than the other. This will limit the bids to one item. When the necklaces are spread out, most people will bid on both items; this will make it more difficult for guests to decide which necklace they actually like best.


Never offer duplicates — even high end items


Steer clear of offering duplicate items. In doing so, you devalue the item. When you see the exact same item show up more than once in a silent auction, the item is often perceived as common and unexceptional. If you have two identical high end items, you are better off holding on to one of them for a future fundraising event. In the long run, you are more likely to get more money for them in separate events.



Be sure to mix men and women’s items together

This idea stems back to the avoidance of creating “sections.” When it comes to men and women’s items, the same rule applies. Men and women often bid on items that they plan to gift to one another. For example, a man may see a pair of earrings that he plans to give as a birthday present for his wife. Mixing the earrings in randomly with all of your items makes it more likely that men will have a chance to bid on them.


The strategic placement of your items puts your fundraising event in position to receive as many bids as possible. For more silent auction tips, contact the American Fundraising Foundation.

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©2020 by American Fundraising Foundation, Inc.