Recently, BW Unlimited was assisting a Charity in the Washington D.C. metro area with their fundraising event and during the event check-in we spoke to hundreds of happy people as they signed up for their Bidder Numbers. If you are not familiar with “Bidder Numbers”, they are given to each guest during check-in, in exchange for their contact information. A bidder number is quite simply a large card with a big black number on it. Guests use this number to bid on the Live and Silent Auctions. On some occasions, depending on the event, a guest may even purchase raffle tickets using this number. At the end of the event, each guest will check out and pay for each item on which they were the highest bidder as well as the raffle tickets they purchased.
While watching the Silent Auction, I observed many people browsing through the items and monitoring the bidder sheets of specific items on which they wanted to bid. Interestingly, I watched as two gentlemen closely inspected one particular item. They both stood talking about it and openly commented how fantastic it was. Over the course of the evening I watched both of the men independent of the other come to the Silent Auction table and bid on that specific item.
As the bid price climbed higher and higher I watched as they would place their bid and look around the room to see whom they could possibly be bidding against, when unknowingly, it was their friend. As we announced that the Silent Auction was closing, both men went straight to the item and again began to bid. Suddenly they both started laughing loudly finally aware that they were bidding against each other. Ultimately, one of the gentlemen gave way to the other allowing him to win the bid without any further competition. The most important thing to note in this example is that the final bid amount was fantastically high.
How did they not know who they were bidding against, its simple; they were each using a Bidder Number. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen charities who choose to use bid sheets with bidders names, not do as well as those who use an anonymous Bidder Number.
For example – if you went to a Charity Fundraiser and went to bid on an item, but saw that your friend or coworker had previously bid, would you bid against them? Most would answer with a resounding, “No, they would not”. Utilizing Bidder Numbers makes the bidding anonymous therefore allowing for the maximum profitability potential for the charity hosting the event.
How it works – during guest check-in, there should also be a table for Bidder Registration. Your guests sign up and provide their name, address, phone number and email address. Once they fill out their information they are provided a bidder card with a large black number on it. After the event, the charity maintains the bidder registration for various reasons but can also utilize it for event marketing. It also provides a simple way to contact bidders who leave the event without picking up or paying for the item or items they won.
There are several other notable reasons that charities should utilize bidder numbers especially during a Live Auction. After an item sells, the winning bidder raises the bidder card with their number on it for the Auctioneer to acknowledge and call out to the Auction Clerk; this also eliminates the need to write down a buyers name and information in a high pressure situation.
Let’s speak directly to a company-sponsored table of ten (10) people who were given the tickets for free. The charity will not have the contact information for the guests sitting at this table unless they were registered as bidders when they checked in. Make sense? While planning your next event, we recommend using the Bidder Number process and watch as the bids for your event items climb higher and higher; plus, you will benefit in having the contact information for all of the guests.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a leader in Charity Fundraising in North America in a “One Stop Shop” setting. The fundraising experts at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising monitor successful fundraising trends, as well as negative trends, in charity events across the country. BW Unlimited can guide you and your charity through the myriad of fundraising pitfalls through the planning and hosting of your next event. If you would like our help, don’t hesitate to contact us at 410-658-8808 or contact us through our website today at www.BWUnlimited.com.