Creating Silent Auction Bid Sheets

You’re planning a silent auction and you’ve lined up some great items. The buzz is starting to get around and your guests are looking forward to the event. How do you create an experience for them that is as seamless and pleasant as possible?

One way to ensure the success of your silent auction is to create effective bid sheets. Since you won’t have an auctioneer, the bid sheets are the key to a successful event. Not only will your guests use them to bid on items, they provide one more opportunity to make a positive impression on your donors. The better designed the bid sheets are, the more successful the auction will be.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Create one bid sheet for each auction item and include the item number, name and description. (Be sure to mark the item/package with the item number as well, in case the bid sheets get moved or switched.)
  • Print the bid sheets from your event software or create them in Word or Excel. Handwritten bid sheets are hard to read. Use a large font (12 points or larger) and print the bid sheets on white or light colored paper for better legibility.
  • Create a table with one column for the bidder number and another column for the bid increments.
    • Use bidder numbers rather than names to keep the competition anonymous and friendly.
    • List the bid increments clearly to avoid confusion.
  • Brand your bid sheets with your organization logo or event name to promote your cause.
  • If you have multiple sections for your silent auction, clearly list the item’s section and closing time.
  • Optional: Include a “Guaranteed Purchase” price that will guarantee the bidder wins the item. This price should be 150% of the value of the item.

Greater Giving Event Software provides multiple options for printing professional-looking bid sheets, including a wizard that allows you to customize the layout. To learn more, visit: greatergiving.com/all-products/event-software.aspx. As part of a well-orchestrated event, great bid sheets can help improve your guests’ experience and simplify the bidding process.

When preparing for your silent auction, carefully consider options for your bid sheets. Your auction software should give you multiple options to create the bid sheets that you need. If you are not using event management software, you can create the bid sheets in Word or other document software.

Important things to consider for silent auction bid sheets:
  • Use bid numbers (instead of names) to make competition among guests anonymous and friendly.
  • Clearly state the minimum bid increment to reduce confusion.
  • If you have multiple sections for your silent auction, list the item's section and closing time.
  • Printed bid sheets will look better and be easier to read than hand-written ones. Use easy-to-read fonts, in 12 points or larger, on white or light-colored paper to ensure legibility.
  • Enforce your cause by putting your organization logo or event name in the header of your bid sheets.
  • Clearly mark item/package numbers on both bid sheets and items/packages in case bid sheets get moved or switched.
  • You may want to include a "Guaranteed Purchase" price that will give the bidder a guaranteed win of the item. The Guaranteed Purchase price should be about 150% the value of the item.

View sample bid sheet. Requires Adobe® Reader®. Download now.

Want to go digital? Try mobile bidding!

If you’d like to eliminate the need for bid sheets altogether, try mobile bidding. Your guests will use their smart phones or tablets to bid on auction items. They can bid from anywhere in the room and they’ll get a text message when they’ve been outbid. Mobile bidding allows supporters to participate in your auction even if they can’t attend the event. It’s more convenient, more fun and ultimately more successful in generating revenue. To learn more about Greater Giving Mobile Bidding visit: greatergiving.com/all-products/mobile-bidding.

Silent Auction Bid Sheet