Another powerful school or church fundraising idea is the silent auction. This is definitely not one of the easiest fundraisers, but can be one of the most profitable. This has great money-making potential because all of the merchandise that you sell is donated to your fundraiser by parents, local vendors, and church members.

Planning should begin well in advance of your auction and you’ll need lots of school or church volunteers to help with soliciting donations, promotion, securing a location, room preparation and decoration, ticket sales and numerous other tasks.

Silent auction fundraisers are typically held in conjunction with another event like a formal dinner, a wine and cheese party or some other event designed to elicit conversation between guests.

When selecting a room for this school or church fundraiser, make sure that you choose one large enough to accommodate all of the donated goods and one that allows for your bidders to walk freely between the displays. Agoing going gone room adjacent to the dining area is best.

After the dinner, direct your guests to the auction area. As people come in to bid, register them, give them a bidder’s number, and remind them about the reason for your fund raiser. Establish a specific time for opening and closing the bidding.

Donated merchandise is creatively displayed around the room. Alongside each item is a description and information about the donor, with a bidding sheet where guests can write in their bids. Since bids are written down on a single sheet, they are available for all to see and each bid is slightly higher than the bid before it. Each bidder monitors the item(s) they have an interest in and increases their bids accordingly.

Quantity and Quality

To make your auction desirable, have a large variety of items for sale. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Memberships – golf club, health club, etc.
  • Travel tickets – trips to exotic destinations
  • Services – lawn mowing, computer repair, carpet cleaning, etc.
  • Hand-made items – jewelry, paintings, sculptures and other crafts
  • Lessons – music, swimming, skating, skiing, scuba diving, etc.
  • Other tickets – lift tickets, movies, dinner, golf course, sporting events, etc.
  • Miscellaneous – tutoring, massage, computer hardware and software, music cd’s, books, clothing, oil change, small appliances, tools, etc.


Many school or church fundraisers will hold a live auction that begins after the silent auction ends. This is usually reserved for the high-value items.

More ideas

Decorate the rooms and play music to add excitement and a feeling of importance to your fundraiser.

Sell tickets to the dinner and charge enough to cover the cost of the food.

This is Way More Powerful

Silent auction too quiet? Invite 100,000 people to your next one. Rather than limit your auction to those who can physically be there, take your auction online and get a lot more people bidding on your merchandise. Better still, get highly valuable items like cruises, adventure trips, hot-air balloon rides, etc., added to your auction on consignment. Your organization even makes money if the items only receive the minimum bid. Check it out here.



Also see: [online auctions] [other auctions]