Silent auctions are a way to raise funds for your charity. A silent auction can be very profitable because there aren't many upfront expenses. You request items from businesses in the community to be donated for free. Then you place those items on a table with a sheet of paper and a pen. Guests bid on the items they want. The highest bidder at the end of the night gets to keep the item. The charity keeps the money. Getting businesses to donate items is not hard if you know how to ask for them.
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Things you need
Create a letter to mail to some businesses. Start off by talking about your charity and why it is in need of funds. Then share how the business can help by donating an item or service. Let the business know you will be willing to provide it with a tax deductible receipt for its donation. Finish the letter by including your contact information.
Organise a team of volunteers. You may want to get one volunteer for each town in your area, unless the town is rather large. If that's the case, get two or three volunteers for each town.
Send volunteers out to personally visit businesses and talk with owners. Volunteers should bring a copy of the solicitation letter and a pamphlet that describes the charity. This is the best way to get several donations on the spot.
Accept donations of any size. Some restaurants may not offer you an item, but rather a coupon for a free dinner for two. Remember, every donation is a chance for your organisation to raise money. Having both small and large donations allows bidders of all income levels to attend the auction and bid on an item.
Call any business owners who were not available at the time of the initial visit. The owner may have received your letter and message from your volunteer. When you call to follow up, the owner has had time to think about the auction and may now have an item in mind.
Pick up all promised items before the auction date.
Tips and warnings
- You can also place an ad in your local newspaper requesting items for donation for your silent auction.
- Accept "No" for an answer. Not all businesses will be in a position to donate items. If a business says no, cross it off your list and move on. You don't want to be accused of harassment.
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