Pros and Cons of Auction Fundraisers

Published on 25 Feb 2016 by Auctria

Pros and Cons of Auction Fundraisers: Live, Silent and Online

The overall routine is similar: donations are requested, donor and donor information is recorded, then promote the auction to bidders and let the fun begin. At this point you may not know if you want to run live, silent, online or a combination of a few.

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Each auction type has benefits and disadvantages. Consider this:

SILENT auctions

Are conducted at a location, each attendee is assigned a bidder number to retains anonymity.

Each auction item has a bid sheet placed in front of the goods and/or a display page. Donors bid silently on bid sheets until a set time. When time is called the bid sheets are collected and the highest bidder is the winner. Here are a few more tips to simplify a silent auction.

PROS of a silent auction:

  • Social competition can be healthy for raising bids
  • Anonymity for bidders
  • Auction activity can occur while other presentations are ongoing
  • Actual goods can be on display
  • Many times at an event alcohol is available, donors tend to be more generous in a spirited atmosphere
  • Last minute bidding frenzy can increase final bids

CONS of a silent auction:

  • Limits bidding to attendees only
  • Auction items need to appeal to the audience that does attend
  • Attending the silent auction event usually incurs a couvert charge, attendees may use their philanthropy budget on attending the event rather bidding on auction items
  • Location, date and time may encumber a high attendance rate
  • During the silent auction filling the time between open and close entertainment must be provided to keep donors on location and bidding

LIVE auctions

Are conducted by an emcee or auctioneer at an event.

Live auctions tend to be pragmatic and useful for larger ticket items. Multiple bidders will need to have interest in the auction item to encourage the back and forth bidding activity. Live auctions do well when kept to no more than one hour.

PROS of a live auction:

  • Using a talented emcee can increase bidder activity
  • Social competition can be healthy for securing bids
  • Bidders may like the spotlight and prefer live action
  • Bidders tend get caught up in the moment and many times at an event alcohol is available, donors tend to be more generous in a spirited atmosphere
  • Flexibility is inherent with a live bidding, if an starting bid seems too high the live auction can create the urgency to bid
  • Emcee can help sell the item with a more detailed description or modify the starting bid gain interest to initiate activity

CONS of a live auction:

  • Items at live auction are higher start prices so may exclude some bidders based upon person budget constraints
  • Only bidders in attendance can bid


auctions can reach a much broader audience.

Online auctions add a layer of flexibility for both the auction itself and the participants. Similar to traditional silent auctions there is a start time, end time, and the bidding process takes place in between but completely web based.

PROS of an online auction:

  • Increase the number of bidders simply by sharing the auction website
  • Online allows donors to bid from the comfort of their own location
  • Bidders can live and be anywhere there is internet access
  • Auction website can offer detailed descriptions of auction items and many photos
  • Bidding and rebidding can be instantaneous
  • Proxy bidding is easily be managed
  • Buy-it-now can be added to the auction
  • Auction can be open for any timeframe
  • Extend the auction time from a few hours to days if need be
  • No need for the additional workload or making and marketing an actual event.
  • No need to sell tickets for an event that may compete with the pocketbook of bidding on auction items

CONS of an online auction:

  • Social backdrop to the event goes away
  • Donations need to be delivered or shipped after the event has concluded
  • Lessens a personal connection to the event

WHY use Auctria?

WITH Auctria silent auction administration is streamlined. Conduct the silent auction, create display pages, bid sheets, record final bids, collect payment and provide receipts simply and easily from Auctria.

WITH Auctria Live auction simple. Set up the live for success by promoting the live auction items ahead of time online and at the event. Provide the auctioneer with display page descriptions and instructions for starting bids and increments. A spotter can record the final bid and collect payments immediately using the Auctria program.

WITH Auctria online bidding is always current and instantaneous. The bid is recorded and the most recent high bidder is notified with an outbid notice. This encourages the next level of bidding to take place.

Auctria streamlines the entire auction fundraiser process, is ALWAYS current, and provides an exclusive website for the auction. Demo Auctria for Free for as long as you want. No hard-core sales pressure.