Sponsored by GalaBid– a digital fundraising platform that helps thousands of nonprofits raise funds through live and online silent auctions, digital raffles, and donations.

Online silent auctions help non-profits raise funds effectively without having to organize a full-scale in-person event.

With a comprehensive fundraising platform, organizations can manage and run an exciting digital auction. Supporters simply need a mobile or desktop device to participate.

However, one crucial factor that can make or break your silent auction’s success is the prizes you offer. Selecting compelling items that appeal to your audience can significantly impact your fundraising results.

Let’s explore how to manage your prize items so they make an impact in your next online silent auction:

1) Choose Prizes to Suit Your Audience

When selecting items, it’s crucial to keep your audience in mind. Understand your donors’ interests, demographics, and preferences. By doing so, you can choose prizes that appeal to them personally. According to research, 72% of donors are more likely to contribute to a silent auction that offers items they find personally appealing.

Tip: for example, if your supporters are predominantly young families, offering items related to children’s activities, education, or family experiences can be more enticing.

2) Appeal to a Range of Budgets

Your donors and supporters will have different financial capacities. With current economic conditions being tough for many people at the moment, it’s important to offer items at a range of price points.

To maximize your fundraising efforts, offer prizes that cater to various budgets. Statistics reveal that events with items covering a broad price range tend to achieve higher bids.

While it’s great to have one or two stand-out prizes (such as a dream vacation), ensure you have some lower-cost items alongside more high-end offerings.

Tip: Include gift vouchers for local shops and cafes, food hampers, small sets of bath and beauty products. These are all special prizes but won’t stretch the budget for those with limited spending capacity.

3) Find the Right Tech to Showcase Items and Make Bidding Easy

Your digital silent auction platform needs to look great and be easy for your auction bidders to use.

A successful online auction needs to showcase prizes in the best possible way. Choose a digital solution that can display high quality images within a comprehensive online catalog. It should also include prize descriptions, and a clear layout.

Your auction participants should be able to bid in real-time and see on-going bid activity right up until the auction closes.

Tip: It’s important that your online silent auction platform is simple to use and requires minimal instruction for participants. Ask platform providers to set up a test auction so you can see how easy it is for your supporters to access and use.

4) How to Source Prize Items

Sourcing great prize items can be time consuming, particularly if you’re relying on donations or partnerships.

Consider reaching out to local businesses for donations of services or physical prizes. This can work particularly well for local non-profits with a strong community support base. The donating business can support your cause and receive promotional exposure as part of the fundraiser.

Your non-profit supporters can also be a great source for prizes. Reach out via email, or on social media, and ask if anyone has specialized skills (such as personal training) or runs a business (such as a bakery) and could donate their goods or services as a prize.

Sourcing major or unique prizes, like overseas vacations or exclusive memorabilia, can be challenging. Consider working with a third-party organization who specialize in providing exclusive prizes for fundraising auctions.

Tip: When using a third-party prize provider always check the conditions of service to make sure your non-profit won’t be charged if an item doesn’t sell. GalaBid offer a prize service on a no-risk basis, which means any item that doesn’t sell at auction is simply returned to the GalaBid shop with zero cost to you.

5) Set the Right Price

Pricing your items correctly can be tricky. Price an item too high and it might not attract bids, price it too low and you may not raise as much as is possible.

Consult with experts, look at past auction results, or review general retail prices to determine the appropriate starting bids and bid increments (how much bidding increases by each time).

Tip: Once the auction is underway you can monitor bidding and see how items are performing. A flexible fundraising platform will allow you to adjust minimum bids and bidding increments in real-time. This means if an item is getting lots of bids you might want to increase increments. Conversely, if an item has zero bids you can reduce the minimum bid price to get bidding started.

6) Make Claiming and Accessing Prizes Simple

Be clear about how the prizes can be claimed and accessed. Provide instructions on your online silent auction website, or through emails and social media. Make the process as straightforward and as clear as possible. This reduces friction for your participants and ensures a positive experience for prize winners.

Consider the logistics of getting your prizes to winning bidders. As online participants may not be able to collect their prize at the end of the fundraiser in-person, you may need to post the items. This can be costly if the prizes are particularly big and bulky.

For online silent auctions with participants spread over a wide area (you may even have global bidders), online vouchers and tickets are a good way to reduce the logistical load.  A good quality platform will automatically send vouchers once payment has been made.

For local auctions you might arrange for physical prizes (such as food hampers and beauty sets) to be collected from a specific location on an agreed time and date.

Tip: GalaBid offers a full booking service for prizes they supply to fundraising auctions. This means for major prizes, like vacations, GalaBid looks after the auction winners directly to ensure relevant details are taken care of quickly and smoothly.

In Summary

Creating and managing an effective online silent auction prize range can be time consuming. However, with the right digital platform, generous donors, and a little knowledge – your prize range can help deliver a fantastic fundraising result.

Live Demo

Organising a fundraiser that really makes a difference can be challenging. GalaBid makes it easy with an intuitive fundraising platform packed with over 100 effective features. Want to see for yourself? Check out our free demo!

About the Sponsor

GalaBid is a digital fundraising platform that helps thousands of nonprofits raise funds through live and online silent auctions, digital raffles, and donations. GalaBid offers a comprehensive range of fundraising solutions compatible with any mobile and desktop device. Easy and fun to use, GalaBid’s fundraising software is loved by nonprofits and their supporters. Plus, our dedicated live chat support team is available to assist throughout your fundraising journey.