If you are planning a charity fundraising campaign then you may well have come across the idea of a silent auction; a fundraising process that has raised billions of pounds for charities across the world. 

Usually held at charity galas and dinners, silent auctions are an alternative to the traditional auctioning process where people bid out loud. Instead, bids are placed in secret, with the person offering the highest figure becoming the proud owner of the auction item.  

Today, we at BidAid give you a brief overview of what planning a silent auction entails as well as a few tips, tricks and advice on how to smash those fundraising targets.  

Preparing for your event  

Whether the silent auction is the main event or a supplement of a larger get-together, preparation is key. Shrouded in tradition, silent auctions are usually high-profile, professional affairs. This is why organising your venue, your guest list, caterers, marketing etc. should be ticked off your to-do list as early as possible.  

Putting the fun in fundraising  

Charity events are renowned for seeing people let loose and spend big in the name of charity. Usually attended by professionals that want to give some of their fortune back to good causes, it is important that your auction is fun! So, think carefully when choosing your host or auctioneer, ensuring it is someone that will captivate the crowd and best promote the amazing prizes on offer. 

It is also vital that you do not overlook the offering of food and drink. Remember, people will have paid good money for their tickets. Plus, indulging in good food and drink will no doubt put your bidders in a good mood. And, bidders in a good mood are more likely to dig deep into their pockets! 

Choosing a charity and setting a fundraising goal  

As a nation, we have luckily moved on from the ‘charity starts at home’ mindset, with almost everyone being concerned with world issues such as poverty, mental health awareness and racism. However, as a community more interested in the greater good, we want to know where our donations are going and the impact they will make.  

This is why you need to make your fundraising target and partner charity clear from the offset, demonstrating to potential bidders where they should be pledging their money and why. Creating clear marketing messages that resonate with your target audience can be the difference between a good and hugely successful charity fundraiser.  

Silent auction prizes  

While fundraising is the main goal, silent auctions are focused heavily on the prizes themselves, and with attendees happy to part with big money, it is essential that they are meaty enough. Below are a few auction item categories that tend to fetch the biggest bids:  

  • Sports memorabilia 
  • Music memorabilia  
  • Tickets to shows, music concerts, the Opera etc. 
  • Holiday packages 
  • Lifestyle and fitness packages such as spa days and Personal Training programmes  
  • Artwork 
  • Ornaments and antiques  
  • Celebrity-signed photographs  
  • Courses  
  • Personal shopper vouchers  

Booklets or tablet?  

When arranging the finer details of your silent auction, you will have to decide whether you wish to conduct the bidding via booklets or mobile tablets. While both are great options, you may want to think about the environmental impact of booklet bidding. If you are planning an event involving hundreds of guests, then you will need a whole load of bidding booklets printed. This may not be the best idea if your event is based on raising funds for environmental causes.  

However, you may also want to think about the pitfalls of going all-tech. For instance, if your event will include a large number of older people, they may be more comfortable with the trusty old pen and paper approach.  

How can BidAid help you with your silent auction?  

Here at BidAid, we are silent auction specialists, running small and large-scale events across Europe on a constant basis. Having helped all sorts of event planners and charities, we basically manage everything that the auction entails, taking on much of the workload that planning and executing a charity event requires. Working as your fundraising partners, the BidAid team does everything from producing the right memorabilia and promoting the event, to transferring the funds into the charity’s account at the end of the night. 

Sourcing the highly-important memorabilia is a service that many other silent auction brands cannot offer. This includes rare experiences and signed merchandise, having auctioned signed items from high-profile figures such as Usain Bolt in the past.  

This allows for better margins for charities, not having to purchase items to hopefully sell on. So, if an item does not sell on the night, we simply take it home with us! 


If you wish to learn more about how we can help you meet your fundraising objectives through silent auctioning, contact our amazing team today. They will be sure to help!