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Which Generates More Revenue, A Raffle, Live Or Silent Auction?


It is undeniably difficult work to raise money. You need to approach each fundraising event strategically, as well as develop a charity brand that appeals to contributors. Also, it can be challenging to pick which options are ideal for your organisation when there are numerous fundraising techniques available.

Some of the most popular methods of fundraising now used by organisations include live auctions, silent auctions and raffles. All of these methods have their merits, but none of them are perfect. For instance, live and silent auctions often bring in huge amounts of money, whilst raffles are excellent for raising smaller donations.

The question of which method raises the most money has no clear answer. Each fundraising method has its purpose and effectiveness at certain periods. In this article, we’ll give you ideas on how these fundraising methods work to help you determine which one generates more revenue and fits your needs.

About Live Auctions 

The most traditional kind of auction is a live one. During these events, a number of participants place live bids on various things. An auctioneer manages the process and keeps the audience engaged until the highest bidder gets the item. 

Traditional live auctions occur in person, but in recent years, online events have increasingly become popular. Live auctions create excellent events on their own due to their energetic nature. Other advantages of live auctions are: 

  • A skilled auctioneer can spur more bidding action.
  • For winning bids, social competition is beneficial.
  • The attention and live action may appeal to bidders.
  • A live auction can generate a sense of urgency to buy if the opening offer looks high.
  • The auctioneer can raise interest and assist in selling the item by modifying the opening bid or giving a more clear overview.

Not only these, items sold in these events often fetch a high price. Several auctions include premium items like vacation packages, so affluent donors are drawn to them. Examples of goods that do well at silent auctions are as follows:

  • Local cooking sessions 
  • Romantic dinner gift cards 
  • Wine tasting adventures
  • Golf or tennis lessons 
  • Group dinner party in fancy hotels 
  • A night-stay in a local hotel.

Live auctions provide a plethora of advantages, but they also have some downsides. Live auctions are costly to arrange since they need a location, an auctioneer and expensive prizes. That said, live auctions need more preparation than many small groups are capable of committing to for the same reasons.

About Silent Auctions 

Similar to live auctions, silent auctions include bidding competition amongst donors for various items. People, however, bid via written pledges rather than an auctioneer managing the event. Along with the item telling consumers of the auction’s status, the highest bids are on show.

A silent auction can be done in person or online, although it functions best in an online structure. It is also typically far more laidback compared to a live auction. 

Moreover, silent auctions can even last a full day because bidders place their bid at their own pace. Instead of being completely absorbed by the activity of a live auction event, groups that prefer to take their time and mingle will do well with silent auctions. 

Silent auctions can sometimes be difficult. To begin with, preparing and setting up auction items can take a lot of time and even money. Examples of goods that do well at silent auctions are as follows:

  • Spa, food and wine, sports, or art-themed gifts
  • Restaurant gift cards
  • Personal services like spa, nail salon and lash studio 
  • Group exercise courses zumba or yoga 
  • Kids’ activities like music or art class
  • Sporting or concert ticket events.

Advantages of silent auctions include: 

  • Social competition is good for raising bids.
  • Bidders have privacy.
  • You can see other presentations whilst the auction takes place.
  • You can see real products on display.
  • It can raise more bids if there’s a last minute bidding craze.


About Fundraiser Raffles 

For smaller events or donors who choose not to take part in auctions, raffles are a great means of earning money. You can pick the winners of lucrative prizes by holding raffles and selling tickets to donors.

Raffles provide donors a fantastic chance to win great prizes while just spending a little amount of money each ticket. Raffles are performed as live, online and hybrid events, just like auctions. Raffles can be successful as standalone events or as a complement to bigger fundraising events. This is, of course, depending on the donor demographic and crowd size. 

If you decide to have a raffle as part of your fundraising, make sure you make your raffle goods visible. This optimises donor engagement to the max. Examples of goods that do well in raffles are as follows:

  • Vacation packages
  • Vehicles
  • TVs or iPads
  • Concert tickets for Broadway performances 
  • Luxury packages like dinner for 5 in a 5-star class hotel.

The advantages of fundraising raffles include:

  • Motivate others to maintain their charitable work
  • Respect mutual relationship with local retailers
  • Cultivate a productive environment.

However, raffles also have some challenges, just like other fundraising strategies do. In order to generate substantial amounts of funds, you must first sell ample tickets. You must also work extra hard to market your event.

A Combination Is Your Best Option

Many events combine a silent and live auction with the chance to buy raffle tickets for certain prizes. Asking attendees to buy raffle tickets in advance and again at the door is a smart marketing move. You can also include more tickets as part of the admission price.

After that, a silent or live auction is conducted to get people in the mood for the live auction whilst sipping cocktails and bidding on smaller items. This approach supports engagement that even those who are ‘watch-only’ are happy to help out by purchasing raffle tickets.

Some might feel more at ease participating in a silent auction and less inclined to buy during a live auction event. Whatever you choose, spending some time early on in the planning phase can greatly increase the likelihood of your event’s success and generate more revenue. 

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