What are Chinese Auctions?


How in 3 Easy Steps!

It is not clear where the phrase "Chinese Auction" came from, but it is a wildly popular form of fundraising that is simple to put in place, extremely profitable and a lot of fun! Many fund raisers use them to run Tricky Tray events (www.trickytray.com). Some people also refer to them as penny auctions or silent auctions. In any case, it is an event at which you bid for items with small tickets that have a predetermined dollar value. The tickets typically come 25 per card and are perforated for easy separation (click here to see different types of auction cards available).


Select items to auction off - This is actually the fun part and will determine how much money you can expect to bring in from your fundraising event. A $50.00 dinner donated by a local restaurant, for example, could bring in $100's. A painting by the restaurant's owner - all things being equal - may not. The good news is that the sky's the limit. In return for their donations, you could place the names and logos of businesses as sponsors on the auction cards themselves.

Alternatively, a group of friends, an association, or a church group may wish to hold an auction consisting of items purchased from travels around the world. Here, the value of the "treasures" to be bid on is a total judgment call, but often turns into humorous bidding wars. Items can also be services such as a shoveled driveway, a cut lawn or an invitation to a dinner party.


Choose an auction site - Anywhere. Your house, my house, the clubhouse, the church basement, the beach, the parking lot. Wherever. If you decide to offer refreshments - and this is certainly not necessary - sell them yourself on site as another source of revenue.



Set it up - Someone has to collect the money. Someone has to setup and organize the items. Someone has to do the talking. Some of these things can be done by the same person. One person can do more than one thing. Broken down to each of its separate tasks, an auction is easy!

This, too, can be fun. If the fundraising auction is being held by a group or association of some sort, invite that group. And mention that they can bring friends and family. And if they tell two people, and those two people tell two people, and so on, and so on . . .