Usually we know of auctions where the auctioneer calls out the price of each item and the highest bidder raises his/her hand to close the deal. There’s another type of auction known as a silent auction and it has an entirely different process. In it, the bidders place their bid amount on a silent auction bid sheet. The document seems simple but it contains some key information that helps the process move forward and finalize the auction.

Silent Auction Bid Sheets

What is a silent bid at an auction?

Whether in silent auctions or traditional ones, you will place a bid for the items you want to purchase. The items available at auctions can be anything from products like jewelry, artwork, and cars to personal services like hotel stays, vacation packages, and spa days.

When you join a silent auction, the auctioneer sets the items on tables if they’re small enough. If not, they place a written description for you to know what’s for sale. Then, you place a silent bit by writing down your name on the silent auction forms, along with the bidding price.

The main difference between a silent auction and a traditional auction is that you and other bidders won’t always know what the highest bid is. Even if the auctioneer is at the venue, he won’t call out the highest bid on any of the items until the closing of the event.

Silent Auction Forms

Content of a silent auction bid sheet

Silent auctions involve writing down your bids on asilent auction template dedicated to an auctioned item or a specific item. For everyone involved, the silent auction bid sheet is very important. This is where the auctioneer decides who gets the item based on the highest bid placed.

If you’re planning to host such an event, you may think, “How do you make a bid sheet for a silent auction?” Let’s go through the essential elements to include in this document to give you a better idea of how to create it:

  • The Name of Your Organization
    If you want people to bid on the items you’re auctioning, make sure that your template features your organization’s name along with your logo. This lets your clients know that this is a legit event hosted by a known organization. Apart from this, you can also include details about where all of the sales will go and how the money will help your organization.
  • The Tracking Number for Each of the Items
    The next thing to include is tracking numbers. Adding these number codes to each of the items makes it easier for you to keep track of everything you’re auctioning. Come up with a tracking process that will make things smoother for you and your clients before, during, and after your event.
  • The Title and Description of Each of the Items
    This information is essential as it is the first thing that your clients will look at when they go through your silent auction sheets. Make sure each item has a clear, big, and bold title. You may also want to think of catchy titles to make the items more memorable for your clients.
    Aside from the title, including a description, a short and creative paragraph, further convinces your clients to place a bid. If you want to include more information about the item like a history for antique objects, you may place this in a separate sheet of paper.
  • Recognition of the People or Organizations Where the Items Came From
    If the items in your event came from donors, make sure to acknowledge or recognize them for it. In such an event, donors will most likely attend. Showing them gratitude by adding their name or logo to your silent auction forms will make them feel more willing to donate more items to you in the future.
  • The Starting Price of the Item
    This piece of information shows the retail value of each item. You can wither indicate the starting price of the item or the minimum bid increment. Then all your clients have to do is write their bids down or write their names next to the prices that you have already indicated.
  • Rows for Bidding
    Logically, you might think that adding a lot of rows for bidding is the best way to go, especially if you know that many people will want to purchase that particular item.
    But having too many rows makes it look like the item isn’t too popular. If you only include around 12 to 15 rows for bidding, this makes the item look highly sought-after. This, in turn, encourages your clients to bid on the item.

Silent Auction Templates

How do you price items in a silent auction?

During a silent auction, you or your clients write down their bids on a document known as a silent auction bid sheet placed either in front of or next to the item for sale. When the silent auction ends, the bidder with the highest bid gets the item much like in traditional auctions. Silent auctions are commonly hosted as charity events where people bid for several items simultaneously.

Planning such an auction takes a lot of time and careful thought. One of the first things you think about is, “What is a good starting bid for a silent auction?” This is a common question, especially if it is your first time to host this event. The starting bid you place on your silent auction template depends on whether you’re offering the item on consignment or if you received the item as a donation. Here are some guidelines for you:

  • For donated items, your starting bid should be at least 30% of the item’s fair market value.
  • For consignment items, your starting bid should be at least 10% more than the item’s cost to the charity.
  • For priceless items, it’s best to give a low starting bid do your clients can first establish an emotional connection before they bid. Once they determine the item’s value, they can make a bid and hopefully, drive the price up.

The most successful silent auctions begin with a well-considered starting bid. Don’t feel too worried about setting a low starting bid along with low increments. This just encourages your clients to take part in the bidding process and continue with it as the excitement builds.