How to Create a Silent Auction Bid Sheet (+ Free Template)

Silent auction bid sheet next to item

Silent auctions are a fun and engaging alternative to traditional auctions. With increased accessibility, engagement, and fundraising potential, they’re incredibly appealing to a wide range of organizations and groups. 

Considering a silent auction for your next fundraiser? You’ve got lots to think about, such as collecting auction items, choosing the venue, and putting together a silent auction bid sheet. We can help. 

We’ve put together this step-by-step guide for creating a silent auction bid sheet and included a free template to help streamline your planning process. 

Want to go paperless? Consider online silent auctions instead. Hosted digitally through a convenient app or online platform, they simplify the entire auction process.

Discover more about online silent auctions or keep reading for your free silent auction template.

bid sheet key takeaways

What Is a Silent Auction Bid Sheet?

Bids are a big component of silent auction success. 

When hosting a silent auction, you’ll need to secure high-value silent auction items, choose an accessible venue, and invite guests. But even with all of these elements in place, without a bid sheet, your silent auction will fall flat. 

A silent auction without a bid sheet simply isn’t possible, and at its core, this one tool allows you to stay organized and track bids, as well as ensure transparency and fairness at your auction.

Bid sheets also allow silent auction guests to bid discreetly, increasing auction engagement and overall bidding. Some guests of traditional auctions can feel too intimidated to bid out loud in a fast-paced environment, and by eliminating this worry and letting guests bid at their own pace without an audience, they may bid more.

Bid Sheet Key Takeaways:

  • Essential for organizing & tracking bids
  • Allows for discreet bidding
  • Increased bidder engagement
  • Streamlines event management

The Difference of Online Silent Auctions

When hosting an online silent auction, you eliminate the need for paper bid sheets as event participants will do online or mobile bidding. Silent auction platforms like Bid Beacon automate bidding and tracking to give you one less thing to organize.

What to Include on Your Silent Auction Bid Sheet

Creating your own silent auction bid sheet isn’t too difficult if you know what to include. You will need one bid sheet per auction item. When designing yours, be sure to add the following components:

Item Number, Title & Description

Whether your silent auction has 3 or 30 items, it’s important to title them clearly on both the item and their individual bid sheet. Be sure to include a clear item description on the sheet as well, including all of the elements within that single item. 

For example, if the auction item is a themed gift basket, listing out all individual items can help increase clarity for bidders, revealing components they may not have initially seen.

Item Value

Seeing how much an item is worth can encourage bidders to place bids and get a good deal. It’s a simple way to get the bidding going quickly!

Starting Bid

Next to your item, note the starting bid amount. Different from the minimum bid which is the price the item must meet to be sold, the starting bid is the opening bid that must be placed to start bidding.

When set correctly, a starting bid can inspire excitement and competition against bidders. To come up with the right starting bid, you’ll need to consider Fair Market Value (FMV) and Suggested Retail Price (SRP). 

Learn how to set the right starting bid.

Bid Increment

A bid increment is the minimum amount by which bids must increase. It’s a key part of any silent auction and allows you to:

  • Control the pace of bidding: Prevent a long, drawn-out auction from too many small incremental bids.
  • Encourage fair competition: Bid increments level the playing field for bidders, and represent a serious intent from bidders.
  • Maximize fundraising potential: When each bid significantly ups the ante, the result can be a higher final bid.
  • Simplify bid management: Setting bid increments makes it easier for you, the auction organizer, to track and process bids. 
  • Enhance bidder engagement: Set increments can incite excitement and competition, leading to greater engagement.
  • Avoid bidder fatigue: By encouraging meaningful bids, you can avoid bidder fatigue and frustration from minimal outbids.

Bidder Name or Number

This one is self-explanatory. Designate a space on the silent auction bid sheet for the bidder’s name or anonymous bidder number.

Contact Information

Next to the bidder name or number section, be sure to create a space for contact information. Contact information is necessary for alerting auction winners and relaying important collection information.

Contact information is also integral for sending ‘thank yous’ after the auction is over and notifying guests of future auction events.

Space for Multiple Bids

Prepare your bid sheet for many different bids. Leaving adequate room for bidding will help encourage more. Bid sheets without enough room may discourage participants from bidding.

'Buy It Now' Option

Including a ‘Buy It Now” option on your bid sheet lets participants skip the bidding war. Those who want a particular item can outbid others simply by placing this single bid. ‘Buy It Now’ prices are typically 150% of the item’s retail value.

Attractive Design

Last but certainly not least, choose an attractive design for your silent auction bid sheet. Include your organization’s colors, logo, and legible font that speaks to your cause.

Sure, you could just print out a rough table from a Word document, but to make a good impression on auction attendees, consider a professional, easy-to-understand design.

Free Silent Auction Bid Sheet Template

Short on time? Download our free silent auction bid sheet template instead. Feel free to modify the template to fit your specific auction needs and branding.

Download your free silent auction bid sheet template.

Host a Successful Silent Auction with Bid Beacon

From finding high-value auction items and promoting your event to creating bid sheets and securing a venue, hosting a silent auction requires a lot of preparation. Bid Beacon can help. 

With our stand-out online silent auction app, we help manage your event more efficiently and enhance the overall auction experience by simplifying bid tracking, payment processing, and post-auction follow-ups. 

Learn more about how to generate higher bids and choose the right silent auction platform for your event by contacting Bid Beacon today!

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