Small raffles have become a staple at many events, helping to bring in extra cash with a minimum of fuss. With 5-10 baskets out for perusal, an event can earn anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand extra dollars. These baskets can be displayed the same whether for a raffle or a silent auction, but how do you decide which path is optimal for YOUR event? These tips can help you decide what will work best for you.

Value of items being raffled/auctioned
If the items are relatively low in value (under $50), then it is probable that you will profit more from a raffle than a silent auction. Remember that the maximum that a silent auction will bring in is close to the retail value of the items being offered. There are always occurrences of people bidding higher than the item’s value, just to support the cause, but these are not the norm. If the item at hand is particularly appealing, and raffle tickets are not over-priced, people will be excited to purchase several in the hopes of winning the prize. For example, if raffle tickets are $5 and the prize is two bottles of good wine, many people will be up for the chance to win, generating significantly more than the actual retail value of the item at hand.

Crowd Size Matters
Crowd size plays an important role in how much money a silent auction can generate. While a large crowd does not always translate into a lot of bids, it is likely that you will have more active participants with a larger crowd, and the more bids you receive, the better.

For a raffle, the number of attendees is not as powerful as is the enthusiasm. The more raffle tickets that are sold, the more you will make. If your audience is ingrained in supporting your cause or you have one of two highly desirable items, they will be more focussed on purchasing tickets, often with a maximum donation amount in mind, knowing that all the proceeds support the cause.

Bundle items? The Pros and Cons
For a silent auction, group smaller items into one desirable offering thereby increasing the retail value of the offering and attracting higher bids. For a raffle, it is more advantageous to present the items individually, giving the appearance that the chances of winning anything are higher than if only a handful of items are up for raffle.

Volunteer Power
One of strongest factors in determining whether you hold a silent auction or a raffle will be your volunteer force at the event. A silent auction requires more volunteers and they must be capable of handling more responsibility. Tabulators are needed as well as volunteers to distribute the items and collect the payments. 

A raffle will only require a ticket seller, a person to draw names, and perhaps an additional helper to help distribute the baskets/items to the winners. It is easy to pull off a successful raffle with only a few workers.




Pearl Bids silent auction manager  is the perfect tool to easily set up, keep track, and run your silent auction.


Scroll through the feature slides or watch some of the how-to videos to see for yourself why our customers continue to use Pearl Bids year after year for all of their silent auction events. 


*The original downloadable Pearl Bids is available as an alternative for those who do not have wifi access at their event.