Last time I counted, there are 157 points you need to meet in order to ensure your silent auction will rock. Covering all of those would make for a hideously long blog post, so I’m going to talk about a mere three points.

I’m calling it “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

The Good

One of the smaller auctions I work has about silent auction ideas 200 guests. Year after year this group has consistently managed to make their silent auction adorable. How do they do it? One point they do exceptionally well is to offer fetching displays with clear signage.

Imagine, 12 wines, none of which are overly expensive. Tagged as “Screw Top Elegance,” the fun box flirts with bidders. But the nonprofit doesn’t rely on that alone. They provide clearly displayed signage listing the wines to make it oh-so-easy for guests to understand the package.

The Bad

Two years ago I worked a silent auction in a five-star property. Many aspects of the evening stung my heart. The committee was short on volunteers so despite securing some nice donations, many items never reached their sale potential.

Case in point: Lovely candlesticks with the bid sheet in front of them. Stop before you bid. Read that bid sheet and you’ll learn that dance lessons – not candlesticks – are for sale. The candlesticks were part of the hotel’s decor and happened to reside on that table.

Deceiving displays confuse guests.

Even if you get high bids, you risk complications at check-out when a guest says, “I didn’t bid on dance lessons. I bid on candlesticks.”

The Ugly

How many items can you fit on an 8′ table?

More than I ever dreamed! Yikes! I have seen a few too many items for a silent auction table.

Crowding and doubling up items on a table isn’t a good way to present your packages. Sometimes our auctions are limited by the amount of space we have. Either we need to ante up and rent a larger venue, or scale down the auction. When presented with an overcrowded silent auction table, guests can become overwhelmed. Some won’t stop to look at any of the items… others might stand in one spot forever, preventing others from viewing.