Add Revenue to Your Event with a Silent Auction



The average amount raised in a silent auction is $2,000. Silent auctions are a staple item at most golf events and gala dinners. There are two general rules to follow when doing a silent auction:

1) Get most of the items donated, and

2) Make sure you have a range of items from very inexpensive too expensive. It’s very easy to find consignment items for a silent auction.

However if you do a silent auction with only consignment items, chances are you’ll make very little money. You have to have some unbelievable bargains in your silent auction and when you feature consignment items, the starting prices are generally too high to foster a bidding war between several people. Here is the big downside to silent auctions: You need to have the full participation of your committee in finding and/or donating great items for the silent auction. The amount of time it takes to solicit for items, get them, store them, transport them, categorize them, promote them and administer the sale of them adds up very quickly. Most silent auctions wind up being much more work than they are worth. I’m not saying don’t do a silent auction, but know that the amount of time you spend on it can quickly get out of hand relative to the return you’ll probably realize. If you wind up clearing the average of $2,000 from your silent auction, you may just be better off adding one or two great items to your raffle and selling more raffle tickets.  The average amount of administrative time it takes to run a silent auction is 200 hours. If you clear $2,000 and you’ve spent 200 collective hours on a silent auction, the return is probably too low. Keep track of the time your committee members spend and measure the return on investment.


– Collect 15-20 items and gift certificates as you would for a silent auction, but sell raffle tickets for those items. Place items on tables with a fishbowl next to each item and let people place raffle tickets in the bowl of the item they like. You’ll greatly increase raffle ticket sales – and save yourself the headaches of reconciliation.

– Assign each committee member with the task of getting two silent auction items donated and award prizes to the person who gets the most silent auction items and the person who gets the item with the highest retail value.


A.J. Ali is a writer, producer and TV host who has a passion for wellness and a love of golf. During a 30-year career as an event producer and consultant, he raised more than $25 million for charity, mostly through celebrity-driven golf outings. His books include “The True Champion’s 30-Day Challenge,” “Tee to Green: How to Use Golf to Make More Money,” and “Supercharge Your Golf Event!: 18 Steps to a Successful Golf Fundraiser.” He is also the Co-Founder, with his wife Jane, of a wellness and cancer prevention nonprofit called Marathon of Miracles — and the creator of that nonprofit’s “Golf to End Cancer” program which is the leading cancer-related charity in the golf industry – visit


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