5 (Financial) Tips for a Silent Auction

This past weekend, my wife and I had the privilege to attend a fundraising gala for Sparks of Hope.

Sparks of Hope is an amazing charity (empowering abused children to thrive), and they put on a remarkable fundraiser (with hundreds of generous donors).

The event had guest speakers, festivities, dinner, a live auction, and…a silent auction.

Silent Auctions

Silent auctions are great for having fun and raising money, but they are not the best for our family’s budget.

Our personalities are ones where we hate to lose.

Whether it’s a game of ping-pong ball with best friends, playing Scrabble just the two of us, or an office team event, we both are a bit competitive and like to win.

And winning isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as no one is hurt.

But in a silent auction you “win” by paying for your prizes, so winning a prize may hurt you financially.

We didn’t end up being hurt this time but it was a good reminder about how quickly money can be spent. Before our next silent auction, we’ll review the 5 (financial) tips for a silent auction below – and have no surprises.

5 (Financial) Tips for a Silent Auction:

  1. Go with a maximum budget/donation in mind. (You don’t have to spend the maximum, but if you decide you want to, you can always donate the remainder to the charity.)
  2. Take a full viewing (research) pass of the silent auction, before beginning your bids. (There may be something you like more down the line.)
  3. Only place bids (in total, all items your name/number is on) up to your maximum. (Not always fun, and requires you to keep track, but your wallet will thank you later in the evening. Remember, there’s a chance no one will bid after you, and you may be stuck with everything you bid on.)
  4. As others outbid you, only bid again (in total) to your maximum. (This requires to you to start paring down your selections – as one item’s price goes up, you have less for any other items.)
  5. Take one last walk around the table before the event closes, but don’t hover or make any last-minute bids. (In the last second haste, you may be forgetting about another outstanding bid and go over your budget.)

Enjoy fundraisers.

Give gifts and donations to those in need.

Just make sure your budget, cash flow, and priorities do not suffer in the process.

Do you enjoy silent auctions? What rules do you hold yourself to?


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