Creating silent auction forms and bid sheets is an important part of the planning process for your charity auction event. Even if you’ve decided to host an online charity auction, there’s still a chance that you will need silent auction forms, especially if you choose to display auction items and close bidding at your fundraising event.
What Silent Auction Forms Do Organizations Need?
Silent auction forms can include silent auction bid sheets, donation request letters, item donation forms, sponsor solicitation forms and thank you letters. We’ve outlined a brief description explaining the purpose of each of these, along with sample document templates for you to download and use for your charity auction event.
Charity Auction Budget
Financial planning and tracking are key ingredients to successful fundraising auction planning. Our charity auction budget is an Excel spreadsheet budget that has been pre-populated with major charity auction income and expense categories and includes a profit/loss summary for both estimated and actual income and expenses. The budget can be reviewed with your staff, Board of Directors, or auction event consultant, to help your organization with product and services ordering, fundraising, and profitability goals. This auction budget is fully customizable to meet your fundraising auction needs.
Silent Auction Bid Sheets
Silent auction bid sheets are the most important form for many auction events. They inform bidders about auction items and allow constituents to place a bid for an item they are interested in bidding on or purchasing. Silent auction bid sheets should include all the information a consumer would want to know in order to make a purchasing decision, helping bidders buy with confidence. This information includes Auction Name, Item Title, Item Tracking Number, Item Descriptions (and any restrictions), Bid Amounts and Minimum Raise, and Contact Information for the hosting organization.
Item Donation Forms
An item donation form is a simple informational page that businesses or other donors return to your organization along with the item/s they choose to donate for your silent auction event. These item donation forms are very important because they include all the relevant information that event planners will refer to when creating online item descriptions, auction brochures, and bid sheets. The item donation form should include the following information: Name of Silent Auction, Mailing Address, Contact Information, and Delivery Deadlines. There should be a number of blank lines for donors to complete including Donor Name, Business, Item Name, Description of Item, Approximate Value (include wholesale & retail price for business donating items), and any other relevant details for the item donated including celebrity autographs, previous owners, or vintage year (for antiques or wines).
Donation Request Letters
A donation request letter is what event planners will send to organizations or individuals for whom you are requesting donated items for your charity auction. The letter you send can be kept on file in order for donors to claim donations at the end of the year with their taxes. This letter should explain the purpose of your fundraising event, how the items will be auctioned off, and how their specific donations would appeal to your audience. Be sure to explain how the funds generated from the auction will be used as this typically generates more interest from potential donors. And don’t forget to show appreciation by thanking possible donors for their consideration. (Refer to our sponsor thank you letter as this can be re-purposed for Donor Thank You’s)
Auction Sponsor Solicitation and Thank You Letters
Reaching out to local businesses by asking them to sponsor your charity auction event is another great way to bring in revenue. Not only will businesses help you by providing financial donations and resources to help produce the event, but they will also help you expand your reach by promoting the event to their employees, customers, and partners. Be sure to explain the purpose of your fundraising event and how their sponsorship or donation will help you achieve your goals. In exchange for their sponsorship, they should also receive a number of benefits such as enhanced exposure to the local community, recognition in promotional materials, signage on-site at the event, and online presence through mention in social networking posts, blog articles, and logos on the fundraising website.
Make sure to follow up with sponsors following the event by including actual metrics such as event attendance, money raised for the cause, traffic to your charity auction website, media coverage, and the like. If sponsors are pleased with the success of the charity auction, they are likely to support your fundraising initiative in future years.
Additional Resources: Charity Auction Software
Auction software can help you plan and manage your fundraising auctions from start to finish. Our online software provides tools to help you manage bidder registrations, list auction categories and items for online bidding, accept and process bids with secure payment processing, manage sponsorship sales and promotion, and generate financial reports.