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Charity Auctions: Extending Your Silent Auction Will Actually Lose Money

Home > Blog > Silent Auctions > Extending Your Silent Auction Will Actually Lose Money

ticking clock on the word GO!

At every benefit auction, the clock is ticking against you. I’ve seen it time and time again.

The silent auction feels like it’s not bringing in enough money, and the auction chairs start to PANIC.

So they extend the silent auction by 15 minutes...

Another 10 minutes...

Should we extend more???


But if you start stretching everything out, you are hurting MUCH MORE than just your timeline. You are letting money walk out the door.

Here's how to SAVE your bottom line.

Time is money, please don’t go giving it away on event night.

Once folks stop bidding during your silent auction, it doesn’t mean they need MORE time. For whatever reason they are DONE. They are over it, and that is your signal to move on according to schedule.

You might think that giving them more time will help, but what that’s REALLY doing is hurting your bottom line for the rest of the night.

Let’s say you stretched the silent auction by 15 minutes... that puts CATERING 15 minutes behind, too.

“Shouldn’t we wait until everyone is done eating to start the live portion of the program?” NO WAY...

“But people need food before we can start talking, right?”


Get your live program underway at the SCHEDULED time, even WHILE your talented caterers keep serving. In fact, sometimes having the caterers moving in tandem with your speakers is HELPFUL. If their mouths are full of food, your guests won’t be chatting while you share your mission overview.

Here’s the deal: if you start giving away your time at the TOP of your night, you are taking it away from other more PROFITABLE portions of the evening, including your LIVE AUCTION and SPECIAL APPEAL/FUND-A-NEED.

Yes, your audience will probably stick with you to the end of the night, unless the end of the night feels like it’s rolling into the next morning, and then they may start to feel a tinge of RESENTMENT.

That’s certainly not the best mindset for GIVING, so it’s best to end your event night at a REASONABLE hour and honor your attendees’ time.

If you feel like your silent auction could have had a longer timeline, make a note and plan accordingly for NEXT year.

If the caterers didn’t get enough time to prepare, make a note for NEXT year.

Don’t undermine your revenue THIS year... course correct for NEXT year.

And by all means, do NOT let money walk out the door because you gave all your time away early in the night.

Stick to your timeline and keep your guests, bidders, presenters, staff, and volunteers happy, and they will continue to support your mission for years to come.


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