Nonprofit Strategies

Silent auction bid sheets: How to maximize bids in person and online (free template!)

Everything you need to know about silent auction bid sheets and how to maximize bids using QR codes for mobile bidding.

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Nonprofit Strategies

Silent auction bid sheets: How to maximize bids in person and online (free template!)

Everything you need to know about silent auction bid sheets and how to maximize bids using QR codes for mobile bidding.

$

Raised

Supporters

Teams/Members

Everything you need to know about silent auction bid sheets and how to maximize bids using QR codes for mobile bidding.

$

Raised

Supporters

Teams/Members

Reisa Shanaman
January 9, 2023
June 15, 2022

Bid sheets ensure bids are accurately tracked and the checkout process runs smoothly. We’ve got everything you need to know about silent auction bid sheets, including a whole new way to generate printable QR codes for your items and customizable templates you can use to bring in the big bids at your next silent auction. 

Get your free silent auction bid sheet template

We've got two sample bid sheets you can use at your next silent auction! These templates have everything your bid sheet needs for success, regardless of if you’re using manual or mobile bidding. 

Givebutter makes it easier than ever to generate free QR code bid sheets for all your auction items! With Givebutter, you can export mobile bid sheets that include QR codes and details for each of your silent auction items. Or, you can choose to export only the QR codes, and add those to your own bid sheets using the mobile bidding template below. Using a QR code for mobile bidding makes it easy for donors to bid on the spot during your live auction and saves you time by automatically keeping track of auction winners!

Learn how to generate QR codes for auction items on Givebutter -> 

🎁 Download: Silent auction bid sheet templates for manual and mobile bidding →

To customize the bid sheet template, simply click the link above, select “File,” and select “Make a copy.” You can then add your organization’s logo, item information, and your customized QR codes. Keep reading to learn more about what every bid sheet should include and how to take your silent auction to the next level with mobile bidding

What is a bid sheet, and how do they normally work? 

At a traditional in-person silent auction, one unique bid sheet accompanies each item, which are placed on tables throughout your event space. Each bid sheet includes a detailed description of the item, along with essential information like the item's retail value, minimum starting bid, and bid increments. 

The top of each bid sheet should include the following information: 

  • Enticing auction item title
  • Detailed description of the item, including the name of the donor/sponsor (if not anonymous)
  • Item's lot number
  • Item’s retail price or fair market value (FMV)
  • Minimum starting bid
  • Required bid increment amount
  • Item’s buy-it-now price (if applicable)

Bidders use bid sheets to place their “silent" bids, with subsequent bids made in minimum required increments down the list. Participants can check back to see if they have been outbid—and if they should bid again.

By the end of the auction you’ve got a record of who bid what, with the winner (the highest bid) sitting right at the bottom of the list, along with their contact information. 🏆

Each time a participant bids on an item, they will fill in a separate line on the bid sheet with their: 

  • Name and/or bidder number
  • Contact information (email and/or phone number)
  • Bid amount

💪 Pro tip: Bidding for each item should start around 40% of the FMV, with minimum bid increments set at 10%. This means that bidding on an item with a $100 FMV would start at $40, with minimum bid increments of $10. In this example, the first bidder would need to bid at least $50 to be qualified. If your organization chooses to include buy-it-now prices for any items, they should be set around 200% of the FMV.

Learn more about how to set your opening bid and other top tips in this complete guide to silent auctions→ 

Optimize your fundraising with mobile bidding and hybrid silent auctions 

Even before the pandemic required fundraisers to switch to digital formats, online silent auction platforms and mobile bidding tools have enabled nonprofits to greatly increase their reach and bring in more bids. 

A totally virtual silent auction will move the bid sheet process fully online, and you can choose from a wide range of mobile bidding software options with fun features like automatic outbid notifications, countdown clocks, and seamless, one-click checkout. With a virtual silent auction, or a hybrid online/in-person model, your organization can open up bidding to a much larger audience of bidders who can join from anywhere right on their computer or smartphone.

Virtual and hybrid silent auctions also enable you to expand the length of time you can run the auction since you’re no longer restricted to a specific location, hours, or in-person-only attendees.

But for both in-person and hybrid auctions, moving the bidding from pen and paper to a mobile platform can save you time and all kinds of headaches. 

Make your bid sheets do more with QR codes

You’ll still place physical bid sheets out on tables with all the item details, but instead of lines to write on, you can include a scannable QR code to your online auction bid page and/or a short link (a readable URL that’s easier copy down), so bidders can view and bid on items right from their mobile device.

The more you can incorporate digital options, the more bids you will receive. And more bids means higher bids. 🤑  

Let Givebutter be your silent auction hub 

We believe all changemakers should have access to world-class auction software. That’s why we created Givebutter Auctions and are giving it away for free! We’ve got all the tools you need to make the entire silent auction process go as smooth as butter, including donor-friendly bidding pages, real-time updates, and free QR codes for silent auction bid sheets.

Create your free Givebutter account and start planning your best silent auction yet in just a few minutes.

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Reisa Shanaman
Author

Reisa Shanaman

Writer

Reisa is excited to use her nonprofit development, communications, and engagement background to help others elevate their fundraising, administrative, and programming proficiencies

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