What is a Charity Auction?

Malcolm Tatum

Charity auctions are events where goods or services are sold to the highest bidder in order to raise money for some type of charitable cause. A charity auction may be held to raise money for research on various diseases, help fund community programs operated by non-profit organizations, or to create resources for emergency assistance in the local community. In any event, the charitable auction has a specific goal in mind that is likely to benefit the community in some manner.

Handmaid quilts are often included as part of a silent auction for a fundraiser.
Handmaid quilts are often included as part of a silent auction for a fundraiser.

In terms of structure, a charity auction can take on many forms. A silent auction paired with a dinner is often used by non-profit organizations as a fund raising event. Tickets for the dinner are sold to defray the costs associated with holding the dinner itself. After dinner, attendees are allowed to browse through an area where the auction items are on display.

Charity auctions may include handmade clothing.
Charity auctions may include handmade clothing.

Get started

Want to automatically save money while you shop online?

Join 3 million Wikibuy users who have found 
$70 million in savings over the last year.

Wikibuy compensates us when you install Wikibuy using the links we provided.

With a silent charity auction, a clipboard or notebook is placed at each display. Guests can record their name and the amount they wish to bid on that particular item. Others may pass by the display, note the current high bid, and choose to either record a higher bid or move on to another display. At the end of the evening, the high bidders for each of the items on display are announced, and payment arrangements are made.

It is also possible to structure a charity auction as a public auction, complete with an auctioneer. With this approach, the live auction is open to the general public. Anyone can bid on any item as the auctioneer announces it. The event can take place at an auction house or at a facility owned by the charity.

In order to conduct a charity auction, it is important to secure items that are likely to be of interest. Often, items donated by local businesses can draw in a sizable audience and increase the chances of making a great deal of money from the event. In return, the businesses are recognized for the donation, both at the live auction and through any printed advertisements regarding the upcoming charity auction.

Choosing the right date and time for the charity auction depends a great deal on the culture in the local community. Generally, it is not a good idea to hold the auction at a time when it will compete with other major community events, as this will likely minimize the number of people who attend the auction. Working with community leaders to identify the best date and time for the auction will not only prevent schedule conflicts for would be attendees, but will also increase the chances that local leaders will use their social networks to promote the auction. As a result, the turnout for the event can be much higher and increase the potential to generate a lot of income from the auction activity.

Gift baskets may be auctioned for charity.
Gift baskets may be auctioned for charity.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?