Host an Auction

What it’s all about

Auctions are a fantastic way to get people excited about your event – after all, everyone loves the chance to steal a bargain! Reach out to local businesses and antique stores (as well as friends, family and colleagues) to donate goods for the auction. You can sell anything from furniture to handmade products, household goods, restaurant gift certificates or even personal services like house cleaning or painting. 

Why it’s great

  • It can be a really exciting event with bids flying all over!
  • Buyers walk away with a great item, so it’s easy to get people to support the event.
  • There’s usually something for everyone, so it can attract lots of different kinds of people.
  • There are often lots of materials available (like programmes), so there are many opportunities to explain why you’re supporting CNIB or acknowledge your sponsors. 

How to plan it

Here are a few things to consider that could make planning your auction easier:

  • The best way to approach the auction is to get items donated by individuals or local businesses.
  • If you can have any of your items signed by celebrities, they’ll probably get a lot more bids. 
  • You can either hold a silent auction, or have someone act as an auctioneer. If you can, hiring an experienced auctioneer is even better.
  • You’ll want to create a programme (list and description of the items) so people who attend your auction can take a look at what will be up for bid before the auction gets started. 
  • It’s a good idea to find a big venue so you can seat as many people as possible.
  • You may want to look for sponsors for the event who can help cover the costs of renting the venue or printing materials.
  • Setting up a committee of volunteers will make planning and executing the event a lot easier.
  • Make sure to have the items on display before the auction (along with a card that describes what the item is) so attendees can think about what they want to bid on.
  • If you’re holding a silent auction, make sure attendees know how much time they have to make their bids. It’s a good idea to make announcements as the time limit closes in.
  • You’ll want to have a table set up where people can pay and collect their item after the auction ends. (Make sure you have a cash float available for people who may need change.)

Need more help organizing your event? Visit our Planning and Promoting Your Fundraiser page.