Silent Bid Sheets: Blanks & Custom Bid Sheet Solutions

Published on 8 Mar 2022 by Auctria

Silent Bid Sheets: Blanks & Custom Bid Sheet Solutions

One of the most cumbersome parts of running a silent auction for charity is the bid sheet process. Using a simple word document or spreadsheet just isn't going to cut it anymore. Bid sheets need to be clean and easy to use. The faster a bidder can place a bid the higher the bids go. The more bids, the higher the income.

Building a silent auction bid sheet is as personal as building an ice cream sundae. So many choices for ice cream, sauces, toppings, whipped cream, and a cherry on top too. Auction fundraisers have personal preferences for bid sheets. Single, double, triple column; Bid increments bid pre-filled or blank. Will the bidder bid by name or number? Will email be required? AND bid sheets need to look professional and be consistent.

You could spend hours creating excel or word documents for each and every auction item. If you have run an auction in the past, you know that bid sheets are one of the biggest pain points.
If you are considering this, heed the advice of 45,000 Auctria users and don’t waste time on tedious bid sheet administration duties. Work smart with automated and formatted silent auction sheets that are designed to match and brand your auction.

This article will cover four different types of silent auction bid sheets and help you determine which is the best fit for your event.

  1. Basic blank bid sheet. Print and you are on your way.
  2. Customized bid sheets. Set your starting bid and print with bid increments
  3. Bid sheets plus display pages. Pair the bid sheet with more information and get more bids.
  4. Mobile bidding. Ditch the bid sheets.

Starting Bid and Bid increments

When using an auction for fundraising the first question is, what do we set the starting silent auction bid at? Second question, what do we set the bid increments at? This depends. Depends on the type of item. Starting bid and bid increments guidelines:

  • Ordinary, general goods or services with a known retail value: General rule of thumb for pricing for ordinary goods and services is START the bidding at about 40-50% of the retail, then divide the remaining value by 5 to engage a typical back and forth bidding exchange.

  • Example pricing for ordinary goods and services: Yummy Restaurant donates a $100 gift certificate. Starting bid should be $100/ 2= $40-$50 Increments should be $50/5 = $10

  • Unique or High Value Goods & Services: Unique goods and services or those that have a high value can be speculative. Start too high and risk no bids, start too low and close at an undervalued price. START the bidding at about 40%-60% of a realistic retail value, then divide the remaining value in bite sized chunks to quickly elevate the donation. High Value items do well at live auctions too. Live auction permits impromptu modifications. If the starting bid gets no activity the auctioneer can immediately lower the starting bid and adjust accordingly.

  • Example pricing high value: A vacation package is donated with a retail value of $3000. Starting bid should be $1200-$1800 range. Increments should be $75-$200 range

  • Keepsakes & Priceless auction item pricing. Tailor items that are one-of-a-kind keepsakes or local and priceless experiences. Exclusive auction items will garner interest to the overall event as well as the auction item itself. Keep in mind the past buying practices for starting bids. Do create the image of exclusivity. Create descriptions with lots of details. Include in the description how bidding on this auction item will delight the buyer. Don’t be apprehensive to start a bit higher on these too. Don’t start the bidding at last year’s final sale price either- leave room for the bidding process to start and flush out.

  • Example pricing for simple projects: Each class created a coveted, group art project. Starting bid should be consistent: a starting bid about $25-$30. Increments should also be consistent, $5-$10.

  • Example pricing more complicated projects: Class created a photo book that was created and printed costing $30. Starting bid should consider at least cost for raw materials plus 25-50% or more. Increments should be 20-30% of starting value. Starting bid should be $30-$45. Increments should be: $8-$9

1. Blank Bid Sheets

If it’s blank bid sheets that you genuinely want, here are a few to choose from. Choosing a bid sheet starts with the end. The End? Yes, the end. When the bidding is complete how are you going to communicate with the winning bidder? Do you have names, emails or phone and text numbers on file? Consider it from the bidder perspective too. How much information do you want them to have to write down for each, and every bid. Consider what the penmanship may look like at the end of the auction. Will bidders' information be clear to read after the bidding concludes?

Blank bid sheets have blank bid increments These are easy to print enmasse and the most flexible for bidders, however the auction organizer gives up control of bid increments. In each of these the bid amount is blank so the bidder will need to self select the next bid amount.

Bid Sheet with Bidder Number (ONE wide column) Use this bid sheet when there is a process in place to assign and communicate a bidder number to the participants. Provides 15 bid slots.

Bid Sheet with Bidder Name with Blank Bid amount (ONE wide column) Use this bid sheet when you know the audience and can recognize the names of the bidder. Because you are only asking for the name, be sure you have a way to connect with the winning bidder at the conclusion of the auction. Provides 15 bid slots.

Bid Sheet with Bidder Name & Bidder Email (ONE wide column) Use this bid sheet if you want to communicate post-auction via email only. Provides 15 bid slots.

Two Column Bid Sheet with Bidder Number Provides 30 bid slots on a single page. Fit more bids on a single page with a 2-column bid sheet. You are trading writing space for more bidding rows.

Three column Bid Sheet with Bidder Number Provides 45 bid slots on a single page. This utilizes only bid numbers and bid fields.

2. Customized bid sheets using Auctria

If you want to create and modify your individual bid sheets for silent auctions, create a Lite Account and try it for as long as you want. Load a few items, then use the bid sheet portion of the program to print.
Blank silent auction bid sheets are already formatted with many simple choices to make the bid sheet creation and printing process straightforward. Additional options are available to customize bid sheets with custom stationery adding any branding or text desired.
Set bidding pricing, so you don’t even have to use a calculator!


Print one at a time, a single sheet, or all at once. Print just the Live, or Silent auction bid sheets. Print blanks to have on hand for last-minute donations. Custom bid sheets have lots of options when it comes to printing, layout, style, and content. For layout print full page size 1-up, 2-up, letter size, half- letter size. Set the print order to maximize efficiency.

Item and Bid pricing Policy. When using Auctria for bid sheets you can implement a global pricing policy. Apply global pricing policy and/or item pricing and never have to use a calculator again to determine auction item bid increments. You can apply a pricing policy to set the starting bid, minimum bid increment, and 'buy it now' price for your auction items

Pricing auction items is not a perfect science, in fact, it can be quite tricky. Justify pricing by including numerous photos and lively descriptions. The key is finding the sweet spot that will initiate interest and bid donations to bring about the maximum potential, visibility, and success for your auction. Remember, almost all auction items are donated, so any income brought in is considered profit; fundamentally the higher the final bid, the greater the philanthropy.

Pricing process should be uncomplicated and orderly. Auctria provides options for pricing that are simple and flexible. Choose either a pre-programmed pricing policy OR individually price each item. Using a hybrid of both methods can cut work time too. Set the standard pricing structure and then go back and tweak the non-standard items.

Apply global pricing policy and/or item pricing and never have to use a calculator again to determine auction item bid increments.
Globally set:

  • Starting Bid as a percentage of item value
  • Minimum bid increment percentage
  • Buy it Now price
  • Sales tax (if necessary)

Bid sheets are the traditional silent auction bidding mechanism. There is something spectacular that happens as you are collecting the paper bid sheets from the tables and bidders are hovering with pen in hand to be the very last bidder. The live energy that excites the surrounding participants to wonder what they are missing out on is fun!

People that are having fun spend money and want to be part of the collective action. Can you do better?

3. Bid Sheet Plus Display Pages

Having a bid sheet next to an auction item is functional. You want more bids though and means providing more information. This also means fewer questions from potential bidders while you are at the event. Consider the Display page to be the sales slick that sells the auction item to the bidder. Use this to paint the picture of how the bidder will feel when they are the winning bidder.
Example: which description do you think will get bidders to make the next bid?

Example description 1.
Day Spa Gift Certificate $500 retail value.

Example description 2.
Day Spa, you deserve to be pampered. Walk through the door to your day of luxury. The lavender filled air takes your breath and stress away. Enjoy a personalized massage session to meet your body's needs. Follow that with a facial to leave you restored, rejuvenated and let your natural beauty shine through.

Include photos that will enhance the Display page even further. A recognizable logo helps further tell the story. In addition, the logo for the donor strengthens the commitment you made to the donor and shows appreciation for their donation to your cause.

A display page is an opportunity to answer bidders' frequently asked questions. Some items may have blackout dates for use, use by dates or other specifics about usage. Use the Display pages to provide complete transparency.

4. Ditch the Bid Sheet, Use Mobile Bidding

Traditional paper and pencil bid sheets limit the bidding to those that are in the room. When utilizing mobile bidding your party goers are no longer having to ‘babysit’ their most coveted auction items. They are free to mingle, socialize, eat, drink, buy raffle tickets and shop the upcoming live auction items. Contactless bidding is a very viable option. How do you do this?

  1. Set up your auction items as Online. The entire auction will have a website where bidders can view and bid.

  2. Print a display page with a QR code. Bidders simply scan the QR code and make a bid on that item.

Mobile bidding has a few more features that soar bids. Bidders will get outbid notifications the moment they are outbid. Then prompted to re-bid. This could never happen with a paper bid sheet. Mobile bidders can set a max bid. This allows them to indicate the max that they are willing to bid and allows the platform to raise their bid incrementally if they are outbid.

Flexible Bid Sheet Options

Good news! When using a platform to manage the auction and bid sheets you don’t have to decide immediately what type of bid sheets you want to use. You don’t even have to decide if you are using paper or mobile bidding. With a few quick taps to make mass changes quickly change items from online to mobile THEN let the bidding begin!

More Than Bid Sheets

Auctria is more than just pretty bid sheets and catalogs. Try out the entire Auctria program and upgrade to streamline the entire auction process from the first donation to the last receipt.

Get Organized

By using Auctria from day 1 of auction planning, fundraising means being organized. Being organized means time is saved. Saved time means human resources can be used to tell your story, develop relationships, market and raise more funds.