How to Create Silent Auction Bid Sheets (+ Free Templates)

Will your next event feature a silent auction? If so, having a silent auction bid sheet is crucial, whether you’re holding an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event. Silent auction bid sheets make it easier to collect and track bids, ensuring your auction runs smoothly. In this article, we detail what to include in a silent auction bid sheet, how to use them, and provide two bid sheet templates.

5 minutes read
How to Create Silent Auction Bid Sheets (+ Free Templates)

silent auction bid sheets

Are you including a silent auction in your next event?

Every in-person or online silent auction needs bid sheets to collect and track how the auction is progressing. Historically, silent auctions were held during an in-person event, and it wasn’t easy to collect contact information from attendees that didn’t win. Thanks to new technology, some software include virtual bid sheets to help nonprofits seamlessly collect and track bids and event attendee contact information.

This article will discuss who all use auction bid sheets and how, and what organizations must include. We’ll also provide free bid sheet templates and share how virtual bid sheets can help nonprofits raise more funds.

  1. What is a Silent auction bid sheet?
  2. Who uses the silent auction bid sheets, and how?
  3. What goes in a silent auction bid sheet?
  4. 2 downloadable silent auction bid sheet templates
  5. Digital silent auction bid sheets – are they more efficient?

What is a Silent Auction Bid Sheet?

Silent auction bid sheets are used at auctions to collect and track how much event attendees bid on an item. In many cases, bid sheets are printed and placed next to the item during an in-person event. At the end of the event, nonprofits can collect the bid sheets to see who won the item and how much activity each item had.

With technological advances, more nonprofits are holding virtual or hybrid auction events. Online auction bid sheets make collecting and tracking bids simpler.


Who Uses the Silent Auction Bid Sheets, and How?

Silent auction bid sheets benefit the nonprofit and auction bidders.


1. Bidders

At an in-person event, attendees can easily access the bid sheet and keep an eye on other bids and how close they are to winning their desired item.

Virtual auction bid sheets allow online attendees to bid on things that catch their eye. Most software options notify people when they win or other attendees bid more.

Throughout the event, in-person and online event attendees follow a similar process.

  1. Get a bidding number from the nonprofit.
  2. Check out the items at the auction table or online.
  3. Add your name and bidding number to the auction item bid sheet.
  4. Keep an eye on the bid sheet during the event.
  5. Keep increasing your bid if the item’s competitive.
  6. Wait to see if you won!

2. Nonprofits

Nonprofits can collect bid sheets after the event and better understand how donors reacted to each item. Bid sheets can help answer which items received the most action and how much people were willing to bid.

Here’s how nonprofits accept bids through their silent auction bid sheets –

  1. Create a paper or online bid sheet for each item.
  2. Place paper bid sheets next to each item.
  3. Collect names and contact information in exchange for bidding numbers.
  4. Encourage event attendees to bid on items they want.
  5. Keep track of the bidding process.
  6. Delete bids when necessary.
  7. Keep attendees informed of the auction’s progress and end time.
  8. Close bid sheets at the end of the auction.
  9. Collect and check bid sheets for auction winners.
  10. Announce winners and the amount raised during the event.
  11. Collect item purchases and send or print receipts.
  12. Hand out items to winners or prepare them for shipping.
  13. Send personal thank you cards to all auction bidders.

What Goes in a Silent Auction Bid Sheet?

silent auction bid sheet

Silent auction bid sheets don’t have to look the same, but nonprofits must include a few items to gain the best response and raise the most money.


1. Bidding number and name

Adding a line or section for the attendees’ bidding numbers and names makes tracking who participated in the auction easier. If you’ve done your due diligence, you should have already linked bid numbers to event attendees and their contact information.


2. Item number

Item numbers are a way to track items and how attendees responded. When holding a virtual auction, item numbers can come in handy and reduce confusion for bidders and nonprofits.


3. Item title and description

Item titles can make tracking items and attendee participation easier. Descriptions have a different role. If your auction is online, item descriptions are the only way bidders can learn about the item.

A detailed and exciting item description convinces people to bid often and in larger amounts. Online auctions must also include quality photos with item descriptions to give attendees the closest thing to a hands-on look at the item.


4. Starting bid

Starting bids are easy to skip when creating an auction bid sheet, but this can be a big mistake. They help ensure items bring in the amount they’re worth.

If you purchased an item, you must add a starting bid that matches or at least gets you close to the amount you spent. If you didn’t buy an item, you still want to collect funds close to the item’s value.


5. Item value

An item’s value is another thing that’s easy to forget on a bid sheet, but it can affect the amount you raise. The fact is people pay more for items with a higher value.

An excellent example of this fact is designer clothes, shoes, and purses. Without the name and perceived value that goes with it, people would never shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars for a dress. Nonprofits must add the same value to each auction item to convince attendees to bid more.


6. Minimum raises

The final way nonprofits can raise more with a bid sheet is by adding a minimum raise amount. If an attendee wants the item, and the starting bid is $100, the last thing you want is for the next person to increase their bid by one dollar.

With a minimum raise, bidding is more exciting and beneficial for the nonprofit’s bottom line.


7. Buy-it-now price

This is optional but can be beneficial at times.

Nonprofits can include an ideal “buy-now” amount for a silent auction item which means an automatic win for the bidder. The benefit of adding this to your bid sheet is you’ll definitely reach your fundraising goal for that item.

On the other hand, you lose out on any additional money you could raise if the item is extremely popular with bidders.


2 Downloadable Silent Auction Bid Sheet Templates

We’ve included two different silent auction bid sheet templates with this article to help you prepare for your next silent auction.

Bid sheet template 1 – Click here to download for free.

Bid sheet template 2 – Click here to download for free.


Digital Silent Auction Bid Sheets – Are They More Efficient?

As we mentioned earlier, more nonprofits are holding virtual or hybrid auctions on their own or connected with other events.

The benefits of holding your auction online Include the following:

  • More outreach and participation.
  • Less work during the event.
  • Increased excitement before the auction.
  • Encourages more interest from sponsors.
  • Convenient for all types of potential attendees.
  • Raise more money.

Many online platforms offer online silent auction bid sheets to help nonprofits run virtual auctions. Perks like auction campaign pages, mobile bidding, and notifications keep auction bidders interested and active before and during the event.

Virtual auctions also make it quicker and easier to monitor the auction and collect auction payments. Finally, online bid sheets make it easier for nonprofits to collect contact information from bidders and use the event as a starting point to build donor relationships.

Online software like Qgiv and ClickBid are great options you can check out. They help you manage online auctions along with mobile bidding rather easily.


Final Thoughts

Silent auction bid sheets are vital to any in-person or online auction. Digital bid sheets help nonprofits seamlessly collect and track bids and event attendee contact information. We’ve included the essentials of a bid sheet as well as two different templates to help you successfully create yours.

Donorbox is an affordable and all-in-one online fundraising solution for nonprofits of all sizes. Hundreds of organizations use the Donorbox Events feature to create event pages online for their auction and other fundraising events. We also let you create unlimited fundraising campaigns and recurring donation forms. There are a number of other important features for nonprofits, which you can find out on our website.

Experts at Donorbox are always there to help boost your fundraising – check out Donorbox Premium! Customize this success package to include the most powerful tools for your organization, get coaching services, and more at personalized pricing.

Read insightful blogs and get free resources on the Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to have us send you a collection of our best resources to your inbox every month.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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