Silent Auctions Move Online

The Silent Auction / Pub Night combination like that being run by VTEA can be a most useful contributor to the funding of the charity. Folk get together for an enjoyable evening and at the same time the charity gets a useful influx of cash. Depending on the value of the items being auctioned, the contribution for the charity can be very significant.

Now Jon Carson, CEO of online auction platform cMarket, suggests that, as with so many other events, the Internet is changing the way things get done. He suggests that the time for Silent Auctions is over and that Online Auctions Provide Greater Convenience and Fundraising Potential.

Although he acknowledges that live auctions are alive and doing fine, he believes that silent auctions are broken. He cites a number of reasons for this but the biggest killer in his opinion is the lack of “competitive arousal,” a condition that Carson describes as “when things get silly before the auction closes.

Clearly, a live auction still has this last-minute frenzy built in, as bidders pay rapt attention and vie to get their bids in while in direct competition with one another. A silent auction, however, dilutes the frenzy; conversation, entertainment, and food compete for attention with the items up for bid. “The clipboard doesn’t exactly get up and follow you around the room,” Carson says.

The online auction changes this, allowing charities, colleges and universities to tap into their unique resources, target a wide range of bidders, and use tools that eliminate the need to lug items for bidding to and from the event venue.

The Internet removes the barriers of time and geography. This is particularly important for higher education, because alumni are dispersed. With the Internet a fund-raising auction can reach a much larger audience of alumni, including those who could not travel to a silent auction event and those who could not make it because of time constraints and/or scheduling difficulties.

Obviously, the fundraising potential of an event increases dramatically if one can target bidders in several different time zones and walks of life, rather than simply those who can attend an on-site event.

It seems quite clear that as with so many other events and processes, the online version of the auction brings many advantages over silent auctions and even over live auctions and all at a reduced cost. That’s an unbeatable combination.