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February 20, 2015 Fine Tune Your Silent Auction Closing Processes

Silent auction tables

I work with many different nonprofits who process their silent auction closings in a wide variety of ways.  I’d like to share with you a proven and easy method for closing your silent auction.

To begin with, I recommend your silent auction bid sheets be printed on multi-part NCR (carbonless) paper.  You will need a minimum of two parts.  The top copy goes to the checkout station after closing and the remaining copy is left on the silent auction table at closing. You’ll see why later in this blog.

As each silent auction section closes, have several volunteers available to quickly stop the bidding by finding the last bid on the bid sheet, circling the winning bidder number with a red pen and moving quickly to the next item to continue the process.  Make sure you begin looking for that highest bid from the bottom right side of the sheet and work backwards to be certain you are circling the final bid.  Don’t forget to look for the Guaranteed Purchase entry if you are facilitating this tool.  Once all of the winning bidder numbers are circled, separate the copies, leaving a bottom copy on the table.  Take the top copy to check out for processing.

Once all sections are closed, leaving a copy of the bid sheet on the table enables bidders to circle back to easily see if they were the successful bidder (or not) on these silent auction items.

One useful tip to quickly stop the bidding and close a section is to pull the table cloth from the front and lay it across the table/items until the guests leave the bidding area.  This will prevent additional bidding, and then you can proceed with closing out the remaining items.

I suggest you have your guests pay for their items in advance of picking them up. After the buyers pay, they should get a paid receipt that they present to the silent auction volunteers who are stationed at the silent auction area to assist getting items together for the buyers AND ensuring they are getting the correct items they purchased.

This process is an easy and efficient way to facilitate your silent auction and will help prevent headaches for your volunteers.

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