Need some fresh silent auction ideas? Electronic devices are in fashion.

Three items no bid sheets

What’s missing from the silent auction table in this photo?

There are no bid sheets. You see three items, and no bid sheets.

Your silent auction can now “go digital” through the use of handheld electronic devices.

There are a handful of companies offering electronic bidding technology. Each has their own approach.

At this auction, guests were handed the electronic device (the size of a cell phone) when they registered. They carried it with them and when they wanted to bid, they entered the item number and pressed a button to record their bid. The wireless network allowed them to bid wherever they were … in front of the item, sitting at their table, or in the bathroom.

The devices are used for silent auctions and cash appeals where the bidding is slower. They aren’t used for live auctions.

(For you tech-y readers: I’ve worked one benefit auction in which we did have live internet bidding. That auction used software made for commercial auctions, not benefit auctions. The technology exists for you to use internet bidding in your benefit auction, but most groups don’t use it.)
I wanted to give my thoughts on the advantages of these devices as a preview to Thursday’s FREE technology call.

1. Ease of bidding
By far, the biggest advantage is how easy it is to bid. Rarely are venues ideal for silent auctions. If you have 600 guests and 100 items all squeezed into an ill-shaped space, the devices make it easy to bid without leaving your group conversation.

Guests still seem to take a look at each item upon arrival, but once they’ve seen it, they don’t go back. They often place their first bid during their initial walk-around, and thereafter bid from wherever they happen to be.

If your silent auction is crowded (lots of people with no room to maneuver), this technology is a definite plus.

2. Men love them.
Not to say that women don’t like them, but the marked difference here is with the men. Silent auctions have traditionally been the domain of women, but give a male one of these, and — as one guest told me — “He’s hogging it like it’s our television remote.” If your auction has more men then women, keep this in mind.

My thought: Can you hand out two per couple, so both partners have a shot at bidding?

3. Streamlined appearance on the silent auction tables
As you can tell from the photo, your silent auction tables will look sleek. Without the added clutter of bid sheets and pens, your tables appear clean.

Click here to READ the rest of the article on Red Apple Auctions
Benefit auctioneer Sherry Truhlar publishes “Benefit Auction Ideas,” a bi-monthly e-zine for auction chairs seeking to improve the financial results of their charity auctions. Get your own copy — and a F’REE gift! – at Red Apple Auctions.

Don’t forget, there are more useful articles on her blog.

By Sherry Truhlar.

About the author

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