Nearly every Charity Auction I've seen has an abundance of Restaurant Gift Cards on its silent auction tables. They are great and will almost always yield 100% of the card's value. Simply put, a $100 Gift Card to Tony's Steak House is worth, almost every time, exactly $100. No real mystery to anyone involved.
So let's make things easy on everyone. If Tony's Gift Card is going to yield $100, whether it's in your live, silent or online auction...let's sell it to the first person with $100, period. No need to drag this out all night. Taking up silent table space. Adding one more thing for people to sort through while looking at items on the tables.
Basically we are creating a "Buy It Now" table that is exclusively featuring Restaurant Gift Cards. Each will be offered for 100% of face value, and everyone's life is made somewhat easier.
You want dinner at Tony's? Write down your bidder number, give us $100 and it's yours. I generally recommend still using a bid sheet for the process to keep Accounting/Check out happy. But this is more a "Buy It Now" type of arrangement.
- Does not work on "Dinner for 4 at Tony's" - everybody has a different idea of what this is worth. Stick with only "Fixed dollar" gift cards.
- Know your crowd, but it works fine for $5 @ Burger King as well as $250 @ Ruth Chris'.
- Stick with the food - Does not work as well for other things like "Golf Gift Certificates" and "oil changes". This is about food. 100% of your guests eat on a daily basis. ;)
- Table can easily be staffed with one or two volunteers who refresh the table each time something sells, by replacing a sold card with a new offer.
- Men, who oftentimes avoid silent auctions, love this concept.
- Does not work with "Dinner for 4" type offers.
- Does not work with restaurants that are G.U.(Geographically Undesirable) for your crowd.
- Give it a fun name - Grub Grab, Foodie Frenzy, Restaraunt Row, Dine-N-Dash, Food To Go, etc
- Place the table somewhat central in your room. It usually sells out fast.
- I've seen great success in setting up a "Listing Board" of the available Gift Cards on either simple Poster Board or Dry Erase board. Could easily be done on computer monitor too! Simply advertising what you have available. EXAMPLE: $50 at Sizzler, $100 at Tommy's Bistro, $5 @ Burger King When you sell one, just cross it off the list.
- Do not offer discounts on purchases unless you have the last few remaining that just are not selling.