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How to Set Up a Silent Auction

by Lisa Shippy

The day of your event can be stressful or easy depending on how much planning has gone into the set up of the silent auction.

Imagine this:

On the morning of your event, you and your bleary eyed crew arrive at the site of your event. You have coffee in one hand and a fist full of bid sheets in the other.

Color Coordinate the Silent Auction Closings

The first thing you notice is that the venue staff has set up the silent auction tables perfectly. Fifteen tables are set up with green table linens and another fifteen tables are set up with orange table linens. You’ve planned to have two silent auction closings ~ the first is The Green Closing and the second is The Orange Closing. You’re not very original, but you are organized.

You look at the bid sheets in your hand. The bid sheets that are numbered 100 – 200 are for the packages that will be placed on the green tables. The bid sheets that are 300 – 400 are for packages going on the orange tables.

You place each of the bid sheets face up on the appropriate tables and motion to your crew to start bringing the silent auction items off the truck. A group of 20 people stand around you and say “Where does this package go?” in unison. It’s a good thing you planned ahead - a day of this and you might pull all your hair out.

The Plan, or Color Coordinate the Packages

You tell your crew that each package has a colored sticker with a number on it. The sticker colors are green and orange. The numbers on the stickers match the numbers on the bid sheets. Your crew will place each package behind the corresponding bid sheet.

Before you know it, you have a beautiful and well organized silent auction. Now…where’s that coffee?

Lisa Shippy has worked as an auction consultant and has chaired more than her share of school and benefit auctions.

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