September 22, 2015 8:41 pm Published by

Here’s how profit from a benefit auction typically breaks down:

  • 60% comes from the live auction and fund-a-need (special appeal)
  • 30% comes from the silent auction
  • 10% comes from miscellaneous (games, raffles, etc.)

Let’s focus on the miscellaneous 10% and why it’s so important. True, it is a tiny chunk of profit – perhaps not even worth the effort that went into it you might say. But it is powerful to your event for another, very vital reason. It keeps the non-bidders and those who won’t win involved.

Why is that important? Most of your guests cannot statistically win something. Assuming that you have about half the number of items as there are guests in the silent auction not everyone can win something. Even more so with the live auction, if you have 10 – 15 items being sold only that amount of guests can win.

So what about these guests? If they don’t win a silent or live item how can they contribute financially to your cause? Games, raffles and activities, that’s how. These activities usually have a low buy-in amount so almost anyone can afford $10 – $25 to play something like a raffle, Heads or Tails or Wall of Wine. This is great for those guests that don’t have deep pockets like your power bidders in the live auction do.

It’s important to have a few activities at your event so you have that competitive edge, too. If I have a choice of two fundraisers to attend that night, I want to go to the one that will be the most exciting. I don’t want another predictable evening where there’s little to do other than circulating the silent auction tables, making small talk with other guests and hoping the live auction starts before my babysitter goes into overtime. I want to go to where the fun factor is so high that I’ve forgotten I’m even paying a babysitter!

Plus people like to play. It’s why carnivals are so popular. We want to test our skills. There are so many choices and variations for games, raffles and activities that the combination is endless. You can offer something different each year and that will help bring your guests back time and time again.

For your next event consider having a sub committee that organizes activities that will be best for your particular group. Really cater to what they will find fun to play. You and your guests will be glad you did!


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This post was written by Dean Crownover

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