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How To Create a Silent Auction Bid Sheet + Free Template

Author: Sayana Izmailova
April 27, 2023
🕑 5 min read

Silent auctions are quite popular among nonprofits, and for good reason. They’re a fun and engaging way for people to support your organization. More importantly, they tend to generate a lot of revenue.  

If you’ve decided to organize a silent auction at your next event, you’ll need to think about how you want people to bid on the items they’re interested in. You can invest in a mobile bidding platform, which many guests find convenient because they don’t have to leave their seats or line up to place a bid.  

That being said, if your guests aren’t very tech savvy, or you’re simply looking for a more traditional (and more affordable) bidding system, then bid sheets are probably your best option.  

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about silent auction bid sheets—what they are, what to include, how to use them, PLUS get a free silent auction bid sheet template.

By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to create your own bid sheets and ensure that your silent auction is a success.  

Read More: How to Plan an Event: a Complete Guide   

Your FREE Printable Silent Auction Bid Sheet Template 

If you’re looking for a ready-made bid sheet you can use at your next silent auction, we’ve put together a FREE printable template you can use. Fill in the form below to get your copy. 

Here's your free printable silent auction bid sheet template.

Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

What Is a Silent Auction Bid Sheet?

A silent auction bid sheet is a piece of paper that allows guests to place bids on an auction item. Other guests can see the latest bid and add a higher bid directly underneath. When the auction is over, the organizers can look at the latest bid to determine the winner. 

Technically, bid sheets can be as simple as a blank piece of paper beside each auction item. However, there are certain pieces of information you can include on your bid sheets to make sure that your auction runs smoothly, and that everyone involved has a positive experience. 

We’ll go over what to include on your silent auction bid sheet next.

What To Include On a Silent Auction Bid Sheet

If you’ve decided to create your own silent auction bid sheet, make sure it includes the essentials. This will make it easy and enjoyable for your guests to participate in the auction, and it’ll also help you stay organized when it comes to a close. 

Here’s what to include:

  1. Title and description of item: These should match (or be a shorter version) of what you’ll put on your item description sheets. Make sure they grab your guests’ attention and entice them to pace a bid. 
  1. Item number: If you’ll be displaying an item number in front of each auction item, be sure to note this number on the bid sheets, as well. This will help ensure that guests are filling out the correct bid sheet. 
  1. Item value: This is how much the item is worth. Seeing a high value item can encourage guests to place bids, in hopes of getting a good deal. 
  1. Starting bid: The first bidder must place a bid amount that is equal to or exceeds the starting bid. The starting bid should reflect the item’s value and can have a similar effect on its appeal.  
  1. Minimum raise: The subsequent bidders must place bids that are a certain amount higher than the previous bid. Again, this depends on the item’s value. 
  1. “Buy now” price: If a guest has their heart set on an item, they can purchase it at the “buy now” price and end the bidding. 
  1. Blanks fields for bidder number and bid amount: This is where guests will place their bids by writing down their bidder number (which they would receive at registration) and their bid amount. Some bid sheets ask bidders to write down their name and contact information, but most guests prefer the anonymity and privacy that using a bidder number provides. 

How To Use a Silent Auction Bid Sheet

Once your bid sheets are ready, here’s how you and your guests will use them.  


  1. Place the bid sheets beside each of your auction items
  1. Announce the start of the auction and encourage guests to start bidding
  1. Ensure volunteers are in place to monitor bidding and help answer any questions
  1. Remove unqualified bids (for example, ones that don’t meet the minimum raise amount)
  1. Announce the end of bidding
  1. Review bid sheets and identify the winning bids
  1. Announce the winners
  1. Receive payment, issue receipts, and coordinate item pick-up or delivery 


  1. Register your name and contact information and receive a bidder number
  1. Browse the auction items and identify ones you’re interested in bidding on
  1. Consider the item’s value and the “buy now” price
  1. Take note of the starting bid/minimum increase and decide on a bid amount
  1. Write your bidder number and bid amount on the bid sheet
  1. Check the bid sheet a few times throughout the event to see if anyone has outbid you and whether or not you’d like to place another bid
  1. Wait for the auction to close and for the winners to be announced 

How to Organize a Silent Auction

You should now have everything you need to prepare a simple and functional silent auction bid sheet. 

Looking for more tips and advice on how to organize a silent auction for your nonprofit? Check out our comprehensive guide: 19 Steps to Running a Successful Silent Auction.

It will help you plan, promote, and successfully execute a fun, engaging event and generate much-needed revenue for your organization. In it, you’ll also find 50+ auction item ideas, as well as templates for creating registration forms, item description sheets, auction rules, and much more. 

Best of luck with your silent auction!

Additional Resources

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