A Chinese Auction (also called Tricky Tray, Penny Sale, Pick-A- Prize, Silent Auction or Basket Auction) is a great way to raise money while adding a level of excitement to their event. Running the auction itself is relatively inexpensive; you only need to obtain prizes, tickets and a location. A Chinese Auction is different than a standard raffle where there are typically only one or a few prizes to win. Ticket purchasers have no say in what prize they might win. In a Chinese Auction the ticket purchaser decides what prize(s) he would like to win.
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Typically Chinese Auctions are held at fundraising events by churches, schools, municipalities, clubs and numerous other organizations. At the event attendees purchase individual Auction tickets. Chinese Auctions are usually very profitable. The tickets are usually inexpensive and attendees may buy many tickets. Ticket costs are low compared to the value of the auction items, so it’s a great deal for the winners. The tickets will usually have 25 small bid tickets, all with the same number. The ticket sheet also has a stub with the same number. The purchaser retains this stub to determine if he has won when the auction numbers are drawn. The stub portion also has another small ticket that can be used for a door prize drawing.
Winners are chosen by their ticket number rather than a written bid. During the event the attendee tears off the 25 small bid tickets and places them in the basket or tray corresponding to the prize he would like to win. The great thing about this type of auction / raffle is that it allows the purchaser to decide which prize(s) he would might like to win. He might see one prize he really likes and put most if not all of his tickets in that basket, thereby increasing his chance to win that prize. It might also encourage him to buy more tickets. For example, one of your prizes might be “A day at the spa”. That probably wouldn’t excite most men but “A $50 Home Depot gift card” might well get their attention.
Once the auction begins the presenter will pull a winning ticket from one of the baskets or trays and announce the winning number. This creates excitement as the attendees check their ticket number to see if they won.
To raise more money, we suggest after every few drawings you make an announcement, something like: “ This might be your last chance to buy tickets to win one of the remaining prizes”. After offering the attendees an opportunity to buy more tickets and place them in the baskets or trays, the drawings continue.
Step 1) Make sure you purchase more tickets than you anticipate. If your event is exciting, ticket sales may surprise you. It would be a shame if you had willing purchasers but no more tickets to sell. Purchase your tickets: www.RaffleTicketsCheap.com
Step 2) Choose your date and event location.
Step 3) Obtain your prizes. 2 choices:
a) We suggest you visit local merchants, tell them about your organization and event and ask them for a prize donation or reduced price. Emphasize how many people will be at the event; perhaps offer to place a discount coupon for them in front of their prize basket. One strategy if the merchant is reluctant: Suppose you are asking a pizza place to donate a large pizza and the merchant is reluctant. Tell him you totally understand and that while he was your first choice, you were already planning to ask (name one of his competitors) if he didn’t want to participate.
b) Ask the members of you organization to provide the prizes, ie, ask each participant to donate a prize worth the same approximate value. The members might even provide something home made like baked items or a craft project. One benefit of this approach is that it adds excitement as the members wait to see who won their donated prize.
Meals, electronics, gift & discount cards, golf related, home and garden, spa packages, magazine subscriptions, autographed items and vacation deals are just some prize ideas. If you have some items with a lower value, it might be advisable to group several together in a package.
Step 4) Set the price for each sheet of tickets
Step 5) Organize volunteers from your organization. You will need people to go around the event to answer questions and sell tickets. You will also need an announcer.
Step 6) Hold the Auction(s) 2 Choices:
a) Display prizes on tables and provide a raffle basket or tray near each prize (you can also use fish bowls or even hats). Arrange the tables in a way that is easy to access with wide aisles to allow many viewers. Place the baskets on both sides of the tables. Make sure the tables are not placed close to any walls so the attendees can walk all the way around them.
b) The presenter gives a description of the first item. Attendees then raise their hands or call out that they would like to enter the Auction for the item. Volunteers then collect those tickets and place them in the basket or bowl. Once all the tickets are collected, the drawing is held and the winning ticket number is announced. If you’re lucky, this may create a bidding frenzy on some of the more popular items, requiring attendees to buy more tickets before the drawing is held. The process is repeated for all of the auction items.
With this scenario, we suggest you start with the lowest value items and work your way to the highest value. This will build excitement and help you sell more tickets.
Step 7) Make money – Have fun!