Use the “Buy It Now Board” to Sell Small-Ticket Items at Your Silent Auction

Your auction committee likely acquired great vacations, unique memorabilia, and bucket list experiences for your live or silent auction. These are no-brainers to include in the bidding, as they are sure to get your audience buzzing.

Your committee likely also procured an array of certificates from local businesses: cleaning, dance lessons, chiropractic service, haircuts and styles, tanning sessions, massages, whitening, self-defense classes and many more services.

What should you do with these small-ticket items?

Avoid the Double Loss

Placing small-ticket items on silent auction tables is a double loss.

First, these items don’t lend themselves well to competitive bidding. The value is too low for the bidding to ramp up significantly, and these items are very easy for some to buy on their own outside of your auction.

Second, placing these items in your silent auction takes up valuable table space. Placing too many things on a table crowds your big-ticket items that would perform better without nearby distractions.

Use the “Buy It Now Board”

There is a much more profitable way to sell these certificates called the “Buy It Now Board.” Take your certificates and sort them into groups by value ranges. Place all certificates that are worth $25-$50 in one group, $50-$100 in a second group, and $100+ in a third group.

Pin each group of certificates (or photocopies of the certificates) on their own poster board. You would have a $25 board, a $50 board, and a $100 board.

Bidders come to a “Buy it Now Board” and pay a flat rate for any certificate on that board, regardless of the actual value of the certificate. For example, $25 gets any certificate on the $25 board, which contains certificates from $25 up to $50.

To purchase, the bidder gives their bid number to a volunteer at the board. The volunteer writes the bid number on the certificate (to show it’s no longer available) and on their clip board sheet to be sent to cashiering.

A nationally recognized benefit auctioneer and consultant, Jay Fiske has helped raise millions of dollars for a wide variety of organizations. Additionally, he authored The Big Book of Benefit Auctions and founded MaestroSoft (mobile bidding and event management), where he serves as CEO.

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