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How to Organize a Chinese Auction

By: Emilie Sennebogen  | 

Chinese Auction Rules

There are a few different types of Chinese auctions, so the rules depend on which one you choose. The standard format is the one we talked about on the first page, where people put their tickets into individual jars at the table. Another way to do it is to display all of the goods, but have everyone drop their tickets into a central jar. That way, they have the possibility of winning any of the prizes, which may be appealing to your guests.

If you really want to make it exciting, you can run it in more of an old-school auction format, where there's a central stage and people bid on each item as it comes up. Popular items may create bidding wars, with people offering hundreds of tickets per item. This may cause people to run out of tickets quickly, resulting in more ticket sales. If you choose this format, be sure to have ticket sellers walking through the crowd.

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Regardless of what type of auction you choose, there are a couple of things you can do to maximize profitability. First, you should price your tickets in bundles of anywhere from 25 to 100. Silent auctions usually have a minimum bid for each item, which Chinese auctions don't have. So, if everyone only buys a few tickets, you're not going to raise the funds you hoped for. You can package ticket bundles together for quick transactions as people come in the door. You also may want to consider bundling lower-priced items together to make an attractive prize. For example, a gift certificate for a pedicure would go well with one for a manicure or a facial. The greater the perceived value, the more people will be willing to spend to get it.

Chinese Auction FAQ

What is a Chinese auction?
A Chinese auction is essentially the combination of a silent auction and a raffle. Bidders buy tickets and use those tickets to bid on prizes.
How does a Chinese auction work?
A Chinese auction is essentially the combination of a silent auction and a raffle. Rather than having bid sheets, bidders buy tickets and use those to bid for prizes. The more you want something, the more tickets you put in the jar to increase your odds of winning.
What is another name for Chinese auction?
Another term for a "Chinese auction" is a "penny raffle" or "chance auction."
What is the difference between a silent auction and a Chinese auction?
A Chinese auction is a combination of a silent auction and a raffle. Rather than having bid sheets, bidders in a Chinese auction buy tickets and use those to bid for prizes.
How do I start a Chinese auction?
You can start a Chinese auction by organizing tickets that bidders can buy and use to place in specific jars to bid on prizes. Another way to do it is to display all of the goods but have everyone drop their tickets into a central jar. This way, bidders have the possibility of winning any of the prizes, which may also be appealing to your guests.

Originally Published: Apr 9, 2012

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Sources

  • Reynolds, Kimberly. "Fundraising With a Chinese Auction." Fundraising-newsletters.com. April 1, 2012. http://www.fundraising-newsletters.com/fundraising-with-a-chinese-auction.html