Effective marketing for a silent auction fundraiser

Published on 16 Nov 2022 by Auctria

A silent auction is a fundraising event featuring an auction with a twist where guests place bids silently, either on paper bid sheets or via mobile bidding software to win an item. As tradition, the highest bidder wins, and you raise money for your charity. Once you’ve decided on the date, time, and venue of your auction you’re ready to market it and here are some great tips:

  1. Email marketing
  2. Social media marketing
  3. Word of mouth marketing

1. Email marketing

You may want to send out a mass email in a large campaign to a long list of invitees, via a service like MailChimp. There’s also Mail Merge which you can do yourself on most computers. Whichever you choose, it’s advisable to send out at least two campaigns - an introductory email and a final reminder.

Introductory emails

This can be sent out as soon as you’ve finalised your event details, giving your invitee list chance to save the date and make plans for attending the auction. Your aim is also to create excitement, generate awareness and start conversations, but not to be too long-winded. Ensure you give all the details of the event as well as all the background information on the charity you’re fundraising for, who will be hosting the auction itself - if it’s a guest host – and, if you have sponsors, who they are and how they are involved. Plus, if there’s a fundraising figure you’re aiming for, mention this too to get your would-be bidders motivated!

“Another thing you can do is to talk about your auction items, as a teaser for your guest list,” says Dom Francis, a business blogger at Write my X and 1 Day 2 write. “Talk up these items, and why they are special. Include attractive professional photos to really whet your invitees’ appetite.”

Final reminder emails

Contact your invitee list again a week or so before your auction to remind those who are already coming, and to give a nudge to those still undecided. Lay out all your details once again and give the start time of the event, as a countdown always generates excitement! If you have any new information, provide it. And acknowledge your sponsors yet again.

A day or so before, send another email as a last-minute reminder. Keep this short and sweet, without alienating those who are already committed to coming.

2. Social media marketing

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, aim to post at least three or four times per week, per platform, about your silent auction.

Always include the basic information about your fundraiser: the charity you are fundraising for, the date, time, and location. Let people know how they can participate. Include photos of your bid items or feature them in videos or reels. Think about your captions, and make them snappy, informative, and engaging. Where you can write more, like on LinkedIn, you’ll have more space to add exciting detail about each of your items. If you’re using Facebook, create an Event page, so your followers can invite their friends.

Don’t forget to use hashtags but consider quality over quantity. “Too many hashtags will make your post look overwhelming and spammy,” says Birdie Jackson, a journalist at Origin Writings and Brit Student. “Use no more than three hashtags per post, making them super relevant to your cause, and don’t forget to tag your sponsors or other supporters.”

3. Word of mouth marketing

Tell everyone! Word of mouth may be a very traditional form of marketing, but it is still effective in conjunction with all the more “bells and whistles” approaches. Make sure to tell friends, family, and colleagues all about your silent auction and spread the word! You can also be mindful of creating social media posts so catchy that they will encourage your followers to talk about your event.

Organising your silent auction is half the task ahead of you in your fundraising endeavours, the other half is making sure the right people know about it, and attend. The above tips should make sure you have all bases covered and ensure you have a well-attended and successful silent auction.

Special thanks to George J. Newton for the expert advice. George is a business development manager writing for Write my research paper
and Dissertation writing service. George has been working for a non profit for 5 years before he moved to another city. He also writes articles for Next Coursework.