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Free Printable Silent Auction Bid Sheet Template (2024)

May 28, 2024

Looking to host a nonprofit silent auction but aren’t sure how to create a silent auction bid sheet?

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about creating your silent auction bid sheet with tips, best practices, and a free bid sheet template to get started.

Silent auction bid sheet template

What’s a silent auction bid sheet?

A silent auction bid sheet is a document used during a silent auction — a popular fundraising event often used by nonprofits to raise funds — to record bids made by participants. 

Why are silent auction bid sheets important?

Lots of nonprofit organizations often wonder if silent auction bid sheets are necessary for the success of their event. In short, they are, for a few reasons: 

  • Organization: Bid sheets keep the auction process organized, allowing participants to see current bids and place their own.
  • Transparency: Bid sheets provide a transparent way for participants to see how the bidding is progressing.
  • Record keeping: They record bids, which is crucial for determining winners and for financial reconciliation after the auction.
  • Encouragement: Seeing others' bids can encourage participants to bid higher, increasing the funds raised for the cause.

What goes in a silent auction bid sheet?

Here are are few crucial things ot include on a silent auction bid sheet:

Item information:

  • Item name: A clear and concise name of the item up for auction.
  • Item description: A brief description detailing the item, including any unique features or special value.
  • Item number: A unique identifier for the item, often corresponding to a catalog or list.

Auction and bid details:

  • Starting bid: The minimum amount required to start the bidding process.
  • Minimum bid increment: The smallest amount by which a new bid must exceed the previous bid.
  • Bidder name: A column or space for the participant to write their name or bidder number.
  • Bid amount: A column for the participant to write their bid amount.
  • Auction end time: The time when the auction will close, ensuring participants know the deadline for placing bids.

How to use a silent auction bid sheet

Using a silent auction bid sheet effectively is crucial for both organizers and bidders to ensure a smooth and successful auction event. Here’s how to use them from the perspectives of both the nonprofit organizer and the participant: 

For the organizer

  • 1.Create the sheets: Ensure each auction item has a corresponding bid sheet. Include all necessary details such as item name, description, donor information, starting bid, minimum bid increment, and auction end time.
  • 2. Set up the sheets: Print the bid sheets and place them next to the corresponding items at the auction venue. Ensure they are easy to read and accessible.
  • 3. Collect the sheets: At the end of the auction, collect the bid sheets and determine the highest bid for each item. Simple as that!

For the bidder

  • 1. Place your bids: When placing a bid, write your name (or bidder number, if anonymous bidding is used) and your bid amount clearly on the bid sheet. Ensure your bid is higher than the previous bid by at least the minimum bid increment specified.
  • 2. Monitor your bids: Periodically check the bid sheets to see if you have been outbid and decide if you want to place a higher bid.
  • 3. Final bids: As the auction closing time approaches, make any final bids. Remember to write legibly and follow the bid increment rules and then turn in your bid sheet to the organizers.

How to take your silent auction bid sheets digital

One of the best ways to make your silent auction more efficient is to make your bid sheets digital.

Digital silent auction bid sheets:

  • Encourage competitive bidding: With digital silent auction bid sheets, bidders can see real-time updates on the current highest bids, allowing for more competitive bidding. Plus, auction software can allow participants to receive instant notifications if they have been outbid, encouraging them to place higher bids quickly.
  • Offer convenience and accessibility: Bidders can place bids from their smartphones, tablets, or computers, allowing them to participate even if they are not physically present at the event. This eliminates the need for physical space to display items and bid sheets, making it easier to manage large auctions.
  • Are more efficient: Digital systems can help organizations better track bids and sales, view winners, automatically collect payments, and even send automated thank you emails.
  • Are more customizable: Digital silent auction bid sheets allow your organization to easily add images, starting prices, and descriptions of what you’re auctioning. Plus, they can be fully branded.

How to organize a silent auction

Organizing a silent auction involves several key steps like selecting auction items, setting starting bids and bid increments, creating bid sheets, and ensuring a smooth process for bidders. 

With Zeffy's free auction software, you can easily create digital bid sheets, allowing participants to place bids right from their phones. With real-time bid tracking, instant notifications, and automated winner notifications, Zeffy helps you streamline the entire auction process and enhance the experience for everyone.

Silent auction bid sheet FAQs 

Here’s what to include in a silent auction bid sheet:

    • 1. Header: Include the event name and date at the top.
    • 2. Item information: List the item name, description, and any restrictions or expiration dates.
    • 3. Donor information: Mention the donor's name if applicable.
    • 4. Starting bid: Set and display the starting bid amount.
    • 5. Bid increments: Indicate the minimum amount each subsequent bid must increase by.
    • 5. Bid table: Create a table with columns for bidder name, contact information, and bid amount.
    • 5. Instructions: Add a brief section on how to place bids and any relevant rules.
  • A good starting bid is typically 30-50% of the item's estimated market value. This range ensures that the bid is low enough to attract initial interest but high enough to reach the item's value through subsequent bids.

    Though every silent auction is different, most follow these common rules:

    • 1. Bidding process: Bidders write their name and bid amount on the bid sheet next to the item.
    • 2. Bid increments: Bids must increase by at least the minimum increment specified.
    • 3. Closing time: All bidding ends at a predetermined time; no late bids are accepted.
    • 4. Winning bidder: The highest bid at closing time wins the item.
    • 5. Payment and collection: Winners must pay for their items before taking them home.
  • Host a silent auction for free with Zeffy

    When it comes to silent auctions and raising money for your cause, it’s essential to pick the right platform. With Zeffy, the platform designed to help charities do more for less, nonprofits can launch a silent auction, accept payments, enable mobile bidding, and so much more — for free. 

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