Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 14, 2018

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Blind Auction Fundraising

by Matt Armstrong

Consider raising funds for your special cause with a Blind Auction fundraising event. They are fun, exciting and easy to organize. In fact, there are several ways to organize a blind auction.

In a typical blind auction fund raising, people are invited to donate items for the auction. Each of the items is wrapped, by the donors or volunteers, so that bidders cannot tell what they are bidding on. Hence, "blind" auction.

The items are given a number and put on display some time before the actual auction. Guests have fun trying to guess what each item is. At some blind auctions, items are tagged with helpful hints. Guests then bid on the item numbers that interest them.

Blind auctions fundraisers are usually part of a larger event, such as a charity dance, dinner or fair. The items make an attractive display and the auction itself usually takes place towards the end of the event, as a grand finale.

Regarding donated items, it is a good idea to set guidelines regarding the type of items that can be donated. This will ensure that items are not inappropriate or dangerous to your guests. You can also suggest a minimum value so that all winning bidders will get a worthwhile item.

Local business and individuals may wish to donate high-value items to your blind auction fund raising event. If so, you can put them into a separate "premium" auction, for an exciting grand finale. Alternatively, you can mix the expensive donated items with the others for added excitement as everyone tries to guess which ones they are.

Donors can have fun too. You can invite them to wrap the items in a way that disguises their true weight, size and so on, and have fun writing mysterious clues to what the items are. Children especially will have great fun with this, making small items large, light items heavy, and so on.

The actual auction can be done in the traditional way, by a volunteer acting as auctioneer. Perhaps you can persuade a professional auctioneer to volunteer their services. Professionals are usually very entertaining.

Alternatively, you can use a silent bidding system. In silent bidding, people write down the number of the item they want and the amount of their bid. Winning bids are announced at the grand finale. A simple way to do this is to place a clipboard or box (if you want to keep bids secret) by each item.

Many organizations have great success with blind auctions and they become a popular annual fixture. For your own blind auction, there is plenty of scope to use your imagination to use your imagination and make your blind auction fundraising event unique and exciting.

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