Secrets to Procuring Great Silent Auction Items


You’ll need all of that and more. Procuring fantastic items for your silent auction is a huge job. It IS possible to get it done without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated, but unless you’re the Energizer Bunny, you’ll need help. Here are our best silent auction procurement tips.

Get Organized

Assign one person the task of managing the flow of information – someone to keep track of all of the “asks” – the requests for goods and services. Create a shared spreadsheet – we love Google sheets as it shows updates in real time and allows you to collaborate with multiple people simultaneously. With a tool like Google sheets, you can track asks so your team doesn’t waste time and energy having several people request the same thing from the same donor. Everyone can see who has asked whom for what and it’s all in one place! It also makes it easier to follow up and track the status of requests later on.

Break it Down!

If you consider all that needs to be done before the big event, you may be tempted to run for the hills and hide! Don’t do it. Instead, share the procurement burden by delegating. Have one person call 5-10 restaurants and ask them to donate gift cards. Ask another to call spas or salons for gift certificates for services or products. (Now you’re on your way to creating a “Pamper Yourself” basket – we’ll have more advice on building packages here.) Once folks start to procure items, not only will THEY feel accomplished (and subsequently motivated to continue), the entire job will be less overwhelming.

Call in Favors

Your board members and key volunteers want to help, so ask them! Who can get the ball rolling with a donation? Any board members or volunteers work at Nike, for example? Can they procure activewear, shoes, an invitation to the coveted Nike employee store? Are any of your board members friends with someone who owns or manages a winery? Vineyard visits, especially when there’s a personal touch involved, consistently sell well over value!

Set Deadlines + Check in Regularly

For many, it’s easy to procrastinate if you don’t have a deadline. So set firm deadlines!

Clearly communicate your expectations for when you’d like to have the requested items in hand. Then check in regularly – send a quick email or text to see where your team members are in the process, and if they need any further support.

Procurement Parties

There are a number of ways to host procurement parties. Maybe you know a restaurant owner who’d be willing to offer up a private room for your good cause. Invite guests to a fun night of appetizers and drinks, and in return, ask them to bring something that’ll be featured in the silent auction. Or make it a work party – offer the appetizers and drinks, but have folks also bring their phones and laptops. Enjoy a social hour, then encourage folks to get to work calling businesses and requesting donations. The energy and atmosphere created by a group effort often leads to fun AND productivity. Win. Win!

We know loads of ways to improve your silent auction while increasing your ROI and we’d LOVE to help make yours as lucrative as possible. Reach out – we can’t wait to work with you!