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Ron Hershco on Non-Profit Silent Auction Event Bidding Options

As a well-known philanthropist, Ron Hershco, has the pleasure of frequenting a number of non-profit events each year. We sat down with him to get his take on some of the different options in silent auction bidding.

“Silent auctions are one of the primary means of fundraising at many non-profit events,” says Ron. “Aside from corporate sponsorships, event ticket sales, and other cash donations, silent auctions have the ability to bring in tremendous revenue for the non-profit. It is also gives attendees something exciting to take part in, all the while benefiting the cause. But, bidding needs to be easy, otherwise people won’t be as apt to take part in it…or spend as much – which is of course the primary part of fundraising – to garner funds necessary to benefit the community.”

Some tips from Ron Hershco:

  • Paper bidding: For smaller fundraisers where guests and the silent auction are in the same room, paper bidding is a terrific option. It is free and easy to mange. Each silent auction item has a corresponding paper with lines for bidding amounts. Bidders simply put their name and the amount they are bidding. The downside for paper bidding is that it requires the bidder to go back and keep checking on the item in order to bid up the amounts. This can lead to lower bid amounts and not as many people bidding.
  • Mobile bidding: In the last couple of years more and more non-profits are using mobile bidding, such as 501 Auctions, to manage their silent auctions.  Mobile bidding is great because guests use their mobile devices to bid. This means they don’t need to be in the room with the silent auction items to place a bid. And, many mobile bidding options send you a message when you have been outbid so all you need to do is press a button on your phone to place a higher bid. The downside is that there is usually a fee to use the company and they typically request a percentage of auction sales. These fees can eat into a non-profits fundraising revenue for the evening.