Reverse Silent Auctions – What Are Reverse Auctions?

Who is giving you the big bucks at your auction fundraiser? If your auction trends the way of many groups, your largest donors are likely 46 years old plus. They are at least Baby Boomers, but most may be older. Certainly many of the most successful auctions Red Apple Auctions conducts are filled with 45+ year old gala attendees.

So what the heck are you supposed to do if you’re fundraising basket ideas holding an auction filled with young professionals? How will you hit a $40k goal if you’ve got a room filled with Gen X and Gen Y buyers? I’ve got a suggestion, thanks to some data published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s recent post on How Americans of Different Generations Give to Charity*. Here’s a snippet of what the research shows:

Gen X: born 1965-1980

Of those who give, 32% give less than $100

37% give between $100 and $500

Average amount to top charity: $272

Gen Y: born 1981 to 1991

Of the 54% who give, most of them — 58% — are giving less than $100

28% of them give between $100 and $500.

Average amount to top charity $161

If the average donated amount from Gen X and Gen Y is $161 to $272, you need to fill your event with low-valued items. Lots of ’em.

These folks will buy (the majority of them are giving to multiple charities already), but if you are hoping to sell a $4000 condo, maybe you should think again. (Unless the condo will sleep 10 comfortably and you’ve advertised in advance. If you’ve done that, it would allow your Gen Ys and Gen Xers to pool their cash and buy it together.)

You also might want to think twice before you package items in the silent auction.

Keep the price point within reason… don’t build enormous baskets worth $900 when Gen X and Gen Y are filling your silent auction room. Offer more items, but at lower price points.