Auction Planning – Avoid These Common Mistakes!

It’s auction planning time! You and your committee have wonderful ideas to make it the best event ever for your organization and guests. There are a lot of theories what works well and what to avoid, but how will it stand up in practice? We have put together a brief list of ways to prevent scenarios that may end up disappointing your most important asset, your supporters.

Sometimes Less is More!

You have more auction items than you have bidders.

Having more items than bidders can create an overwhelming experience for your guests. Competition is a good thing in auctions! Try to package smaller items together in one package. It’s wonderful to have many donations however, packaging them together creates a better buying experience for your guests and reduces the check-out line as well!

Example: Your organization has received several admission tickets to different museums and zoo’s around town. Consider packaging them together to create a ‘Family Outings for the Year’ package. You could throw in some pizza or restaurant certificates as well.

Examples: Dinner and a Movie, Dine Around Town, Romance Package (Dinner, wine and chocolates with a stay-cation at a nearby hotel.)

Let’s Keep It Open!

You think you will create more revenue if you extend the closing time another 15 minutes.

The first reaction you will have from your guests is disappointment that they thought they won an item and now someone else has outbid them. Don’t penalize your guests for playing by the rules! Consider the timeline prior to the event and try to stick to it. This is especially important with mobile bidding. You advertised or announced the closing time and now you threw in a wrench at the last minute Again, your guests that thought they were done lost out on something they really had their eye on winning.

Keep in mind that this can also create an argument among bidders as to who rightfully won the package. Try and stick to the timeline!


Keep it Open Until the End of the Night! 

Keeping a silent auction open until the end of the night creates several issues:

Guests don’t know how much money they have to spend on the live auction or simply donate, so they don’t bid or donate!

Check-out becomes a nightmare for guests that want or need to leave before the auction closes and in turn, many packages are left behind because the winner had to leave before they could pick up their packages. (Now it’s the committee’s responsibility to secure and take those packages with them at the end of the event.)

Item Pick Up area cannot be prepared efficiently.

On the Item/Package Pick-up Note:

Bolder Events highly recommends a well-thought-out plan in place before the event commences for that process. The venue, timeline and packages all come into play in that decision.


Mark it Down! Sell Sell Sell

Our recommendation is to wait until the auction officially closes before marking anything down. The mark down sale or ‘Fire Sale’ sends a message to your guests that they should wait to bid until just before the auction closes.

There are usually packages in every auction that do not promote bidding as well as others. A specific date use, multiple services that sometimes are geared more for donor promotion than bidder value or items that were donated multiple times. That is OK! Bolder Events recommends reviewing those unsold packages after the auction closes and making decisions based on their donor and value. Bolder Events is prepared at that time to set up a ‘Fire Sale’ with sheets for guests to bring up to check-out and buy at the price agreed upon by you, our valued client.


Our team at Bolder Events is ready to help and assist you with all your decisions and processes. Please consult with your event manager to ensure a seamless, stress free and fun, successful event!

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