Live Auctions vs. Silent Auctions

mike grigg auctioneer silentMost of your auction attendees have more fun with the live auction versus the silent auction at a charity event.  However, in order to sell a lot of low to mid-range valued items for a charity event in a short period of time and keep your audience captivated, a silent auction should be utilized.

Charity auctions should have no more than 8-12 items or about 45 minutes max in the live auction portion.  These should only consist of your highest ticket items.  People are not attending a charity/benefit event to hear an auctioneer all night, however in order to capture their full attention for the big ticket items, a professional auctioneer is essential.  In some cases more items can be worked into the schedule, just ask your auctioneer what he or she recommends.  

Silent auctions are ideal for charity events that have a strict time-frame and a lot of items to sell.  Attendees can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while they place silent bids on some of the lower to mid-range priced items, which can get them in the mood for the higher dollar items to be held later in the live auction.

Silent auctions have their purpose during the cocktail hour, but in order to maximize the key items’ values you must do a live auction as well.  Ask your fundraising consultant about some of the great techniques to maximize bidding during your silent auction because the average item brings about 60% of value.  Elite Auctions has a revenue enhancer to bring that number up to 80%!

If you are not holding a charity event and have more of a ballroom setting with many items to sell, then the most effective way is by live auction.  All-day events like prop auctions, memorabilia auctions, or any type of multi-item auction work best with a live auction event, because the silent auction format simply takes too long and does not keep the bidders’ attention.