I have had the privilege of attending and working with thousands of auction dinners throughout North America for over 20 years. Some had several thousand attendees, while others only had fifty or so. The articles that follow are meant to give an overview of how successful auction dinners are conceived, planned and managed.
For anyone who wants a complete "Developing An Auction Dinner" package, complete with working manuals, workbooks, sample forms and PowerPoint presentations, visit my Festival and Event Planning website.
17. Silent Auction and Bid Sheets
We have mentioned silent auction bid sheets previously. Now we want to address the sheets specifically. To hold a successful silent auction, you must prepare acceptable, user-friendly bid sheets. The key is to make your instructions clear and concise, plus they should indicate what the minimum bid is and what the incremental bids must be. Here are a few more thoughts about bid sheets and you silent auction. The bid sheet could include the actual value of the item being sold. This can be good and bad. Good, because it gives the bidder an idea of the value he/she is bidding on. Bad, because it could limit the bidders from going over the value of the item. Putting the value on the bid sheet is strictly a judgment call by your committee. Bid sheets should not be pulled all at once. They should be pulled (secretly) by one person and he/she should be the only one to determine which sheets are to be pulled and when. If volunteers are bidding and know the pulling sequence, then attendees may become upset and not bid on any of your auction items (silent and live). Finally, whoever is pulling the sheets should develop a system to determine which items are being actively bid on and which have stalled. The items that have stalled should be pulled first, with one exception. The first item pulled should be a real bargain. This will cause the bidders to keep on top of the items they are bidding which, in turn, should increase the amounts bid. It is important for the Master of Ceremonies to keep up the bidding interest in the silent auction items.
(To be continued)