A silent auction offers a way to generate funds to help pay for a golf tournament or to raise money for a charitable cause. It’s an easy and inexpensive format because you don’t have to hire a professional auctioneer and you may receive donated items. The format also allows you to extend the auction over a full day, or even several days, permitting more people to place bids.
Put all your auction items on display, using tables, shelves or counters. Place a bid sheet alongside each item. It’s a good idea to list a minimum starting bid, particularly on consignment items, to ensure you’ll make a profit on the items. You might also display the name of the person or organization that donated the item. Bidders write their names and bid amounts on the sheets. Each new bid must exceed the amount of the previous bid.
If you’re raising money for a charitable cause, many individuals or organizations will be happy to donate items to your auction. Even a for-profit auction can generate donations in exchange for publicity. Celebrities and large organizations frequently set up procedures through which auction items may be requested. PGA Tour player Mike Weir, for example, lists an address for auction requests via his website.
If you can’t generate enough donations, some companies will sell you items at a wholesale price, perhaps in exchange for the exposure. You then try to sell the items at a profit. Alternatively, specialty auction companies may offer items on consignment. You simply return any items that don’t sell during the auction.
Types of Items
Just because your auction takes place during a golf tournament doesn’t mean the sale items must be related to golf. Many golf tournament participants will likely be interested in items from a variety of sports. Major league baseball teams, for example, typically have programs through which they’ll donate items to charitable auctions. Items not related to athletics may also be popular. If you’re holding a men’s golf tournament, for example, but spouses are likely to attend a post-tournament dinner or ceremony, be sure to have items of interest to women -- or vice versa for a women’s tournament.
Mix of Items
It’s a good idea to feature a variety of auction items. Mix some inexpensive items in with the big-ticket prizes. Offer merchandise along with experiential items such as golf lessons, rounds of golf at exclusive courses, or vacation trips.
While bidding at a silent auction is typically performed in person, you may wish to display your items online in advance of the auction and permit viewers to place bids via e-mail or phone.