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A silent auction invoice is for auctions (typically for charity) that take place without the presence of an auctioneer that verbally calls out bids. The form is issued to an individual or business that placed the highest bid for a product or service. The document informs the buyer of the total amount owed for the won item(s), who to pay (and how), information regarding what was purchased, how to go about collecting them, and any other information pertinent to the auction.
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A silent auction, similar to a standard auction, is used for the selling of items to an audience that do not have a set price, and rather, are sold for the highest price a bidder is willing to pay. Where a silent auction differs is that bids are received on a piece of paper, called a “bid sheet” instead of being recorded by an auctioneer in a fast-paced event. A silent auction typically lasts anywhere from thirty (30) minutes to over two (2) hours, in comparison to a live auction which may only last a few minutes.
Silent auctions make use of a series of one (1) or more tables with the items up for auction placed onto them. Typically, the items will be grouped by their value, with the highest value items taking up their own table. Once the auction begins, attendees will have the opportunity to view the items, ask any questions (if volunteers are present), and write down a bid onto the bid sheet if they so choose. When the auction nears the end, tables are closed one at a time, starting with the items worth the lowest monetary amount. This leaves the highest value items to receive the most attention towards the end of the auction. To increase the money received for an auction, it is recommended that the auctioneer or individual running the event take in mind the following points:
- Assign a number to each bidder. Not having individual names on the bid sheet ensures friends aren’t discouraged from bidding against each other.
- Only allow pens to be used to ensure bid amounts cannot be erased.
- Make the auction tables vibrant. Utilize bright, attention-grabbing colors to ensure guests know exactly where auction items are displayed.
- Start an item at forty percent (40%) of its value, and only allow bids in increments of ten percent (10%).
Whether the auction manager is purchasing bid sheets or creating them on their own, each sheet should include a description of the item in which the sheet corresponds to, an organized table that allows for the bidder to write their bid number or name and the pre-written bid increments ($10, 30, 50, etc.), and any information on the individual or company that donated the item. Two (2) bid sheet formats are available for download below. Download bid sheet in Microsoft Word (.docx) Download bid sheet in Adobe PDF (.pdf)