Congratulations! You’ve successfully orchestrated a fundraising event, and you and your team are putting the finishing touches on your plans before your event goes live. Your final task in the planning process is to make sure you have amazing silent auction items for your guests to bid on in order to increase your proceeds.The problem is...it’s a struggle to find a high enough volume of unique high-value items. What next? Luckily, we have the perfect solution…consignment auction items! Consignment items are high-value and unique auction items provided by a third party for your event. Typically, consignment items focus on the following categories:
Most consignment auction companies offer items to you at no risk, meaning if no one bids, you owe nothing. The item simply needs to meet a reserve price, and then your event receives anything over that. While this seems fantastic, it’s a good idea to follow some basic strategies when using consignment items. But first, let’s go over a few reasons why consignment auction items are a great idea for your next auction!
One of my favorite reasons for including a collection of consignment auction items in the event that I host each year is that they add a true wow factor to your auction. Sure, most of your auction items will be donated by local businesses: things like gift cards, experiences around the city, and more. While these items are the lifeblood of your auction, they do not have as much potential buzz for your audience. By including a few high-value consignment items – exotic vacations, concerts, signed memorabilia – you will be able to attract more of your supporters to the silent auction. Even if they do not bid on your high-value items, they will most likely browse the rest of your items and hopefully submit a bid. Here, the wow factor of your consignment items will act as a magnet to increase your overall number of bidders, resulting in higher bid frequency and proceeds.
In addition to adding a wow factor to your silent auction, consignment items can help save you a ton of time in preparing your fundraising event. In our experience, finding silent auction items of any kind is extremely time consuming. We usually devote an entire team to this effort for our annual fundraising event. On top of that, it can be nearly impossible to have high-value items donated to your event at no charge.Consignment items, on the other hand, are extremely easy to find – simply contact one of the many consignment item companies available (we’d happily recommend a few), and they’ll immediately send you a comprehensive list of high-value and unique consignment auction items. Now you can spend your time putting the finishing touches on your fundraising event rather than devoting hours to searching for unique and engaging items for your silent auction.
Of course, our favorite reason to use consignment auction items is to increase your profit for your event so that you can donate more money! As mentioned, high-value items will attract more bidders to your auction, resulting in higher bids and proceeds generated. In addition, high-value items will bring in high-value bids! While a portion of the bid for your consignment items will be paid to your item provider, you should still expect to make a decent amount of money on these items. Furthermore, most consignment auction item providers have multiple versions of each prize in their catalog. This means you can reward your underbidders – any bidders who are not the top bidder on an item – with the prize even though they are not the highest bidder. By offering your consignment items to the top three bidders, for example, you will dramatically increase your revenue, proceeds, and bidder satisfaction making this your best silent auction yet!
While consignment items can be a perfect way to attract more bidders and boost your silent auction proceeds, be careful with your strategy. We do not recommend having 100% of your items come from consignment. Having too many consignment items will result in a higher amount of your auction proceeds being paid to your item provider rather than going to your event. Furthermore, you will only make money on your consignment items that receive bids over their reserve amount. In this case, your bidders may think they are making a sizable bid – and contribution – to your cause, while most of that bid is going to the consignment item provider.In summary, our recommendation is to use a small collection of silent auction items at your event in order to draw in a larger audience and still make a decent profit to donate to your organization. You can find more tips and tricks on how run a successful silent auction here. Good luck!