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Silent Auctions: What’s The Perfect Number of Auction Items?

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silent auctions: what's the right number of items

Before we can determine the right number of items for your auction, we need to answer a few questions.

silent auctions what are your revenue goals

Let’s say your overall revenue goal is $50,000. You have 400 guests coming to the event, and you have one hour for your live auction. How do you make your goal?

Knowing you’ve got only ONE hour, definitely ask your auctioneer how many items they can sell within 60 minutes and STILL have time for a special appeal.

Depending on their speed, somewhere between 10 to 15 items per hour is reasonable. If last year’s live auction items averaged $2,500, with 15 items in the live auction that’s a projected total of $37,500. Well on your way to $50,000!

silent auctions how many bid units will be there

Now let’s look at your BID UNITS.

In an earlier post, we talked about How To Calculate Your Bid Units.

So with 400 guests, we’ll divide by 2 to get 200 Bid Units.

The guideline for Silent Auction items is to take your total Bid Units and divide that number by 2.

The number of Silent Auction items should be at max HALF the number of bid units.

With 200 Bid Units, we should have 100 Silent Auction items OR FEWER... please make it fewer!

If you offer too many items it can water down your bidding, and overkill can get in the way of reaching your goal, so let’s check the math.

silent auctions how much time do you have

On average, if your silent auction items have sold for around $250, to reach your goal you still need an additional $12,500 on top of the what you projected for the live auction.

$12,500 divided by $250 means you could have as few as 50 silent auction items and still make your goal.

Keep in mind some packages will sell for more and some for less, but the average from previous years should give you a very accurate estimate on how many items you need.

silent auctions what was the average sale price last year

Now, if this happens to be your inaugural event, and you don’t have sales averages from previous years, I would recommend being a bit more conservative in your estimates so you can be pleasantly surprised with your end results. Then next year, you can adjust accordingly.

Let’s go raise some money!!

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