A Beginner’s Guide to Silent Auctions

Silent auctions seem to be everywhere these days. According to experts at the Westlake Village, California, Bang the Gavel Auction Services, charities and nonprofit organizations are two of the largest groups to use silent auctions because they are great fundraisers. Silent auctions are quieter than live auctions, their more animated counterpart. A silent auction typically consists of a table or floor display of items up for auction. Items may include anything from art to vacation packages. Potential bidders inspect the offerings and write their bids on bid sheets. Written bids are taken until time’s up and the item is awarded to the top bidder. If you’re curious about silent auctions and wonder how to take part, follow these tips to get started.

Don’t Throw Caution to the Wind

Before the auction begins, check out the rules. Most silent auctions have a list of rules that spell out acceptable behavior, and most important, unacceptable behavior. Most silent auctions are raising funds for charity. There’s no excuse for aggressive or ruthless behavior. Here’s a list of bidder don’ts:

  • Never alter another person’s bid to give yourself the edge.
  • Do not under any circumstances move or relocate items on the auction block.
  • Do not display aggressive behavior toward other bidders.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what you should do.

First, find out how to pay for your item if you win. Does auction management accept checks? How about credit cards? Don’t go into the auction, bid and win an item and not have the correct means to pay.

Inspect the items up for bid and choose one or two for the top of your wish list. Concentrate only on those items. Before bidding, decide on the maximum limit your budget allows and stick with it.

One strategy winning bidders use is to buddy up with someone who is bidding on different items. You can keep one another informed about current bids on each item and, if allowed, place authorized bets for each other. Working with a buddy is a great way to keep a closer eye on the bids for your favorite items.

You will most likely develop your own bidding style. Some bidders place bids early and often throughout the process. Others wait until the last minute. Either way, the last 10 or 15 minutes is crucial. Most likely, there will be an announcement about the amount of time left. That’s when you move close to the bidding table with pen in hand. If others bid on your item, you can quickly dive in and bid higher. Of course, you should always be polite while diving in. Pushing and shoving are not allowed.

Keep in mind that the silent auction is most likely a charity fundraiser. Don’t place too much emphasis on getting what you want. Remember the reason you’re there. Win or lose, there’ll be other silent auctions with wonderful items up for bid. You’ll win some and lose some, but you’ll also have a lot of fun.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *