Rules For Silent Auctions

You should follow these silent auction rules because you need to have the correct procedures in place. These rules for silent auctions cover legal clauses, bidder registration, item descriptions, the bidding process, and checkout procedures along with some organizational tips.

Silent Auction Rules – Legal Clauses

You should include these legal clauses in your bidder registration document. Just replace “Your Organization” with your group’s legal name.

  1. By bidding in Your Organization’s silent auctions, each bidder agrees to these auction rules.
  2. All sales are final. There will be no exchanges or refunds unless otherwise noted. All items are “as is.” Your Organization has attempted to describe and catalog items correctly, but neither warrants nor represents and in no event shall be responsible for the correctness of descriptions, genuineness, authorship, provenance or condition of the items. No statement made in this catalog, or made orally at the auction or elsewhere, shall be deemed such a warranty, representation, or assumption of liability.
  3. The auction item value listed is an estimate of fair market value. Items have not been appraised unless so noted. The amount you pay above this fair market value estimate is normally tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please consult your tax adviser to clarify amount of deduction.
  4. Restaurant certificates do not include alcohol, tax, or gratuities unless specified.
  5. Payment for items purchased must be made in full on the night of the auction to the cashier. Your Organization accepts cash, MasterCard, Visa, or a check made payable to Your Organization. Please allow 30 minutes after the silent auction bidding has closed before reporting to the cashier.
  6. Following payments, you may pick up your purchases in the checkout area. You must show your paid receipt for items to be picked up.
  7. The purchaser must pick up all items the night of the auction, unless special arrangements are made. Any item left unclaimed, without prior arrangements, will be sold and proceeds will go to Your Organization.
  8. Your Organization reserves the right to add or withdraw items, without notice, to or from the auction.
  9. Unless otherwise specified, all auction gift certificates must be used within one year of the date of the auction.
  10. Each person bidding assumes all risks and hazards related to the auction and items obtained at the auction. Each bidder agrees to hold harmless from any liability arising indirectly from Your Organization, their elected and appointed officials, members and employees, the auctioneer(s), the auction company and its agents and employees, the event organizers, sponsors, and/or volunteers connected with the auction.

Bidder Registration

  • All bidders must register and receive a bidder number for use at the silent auction.
  • Use a form that contains the legal clauses above and obtain a signature.
  • Bidders must use their bidder number on the bid sheet for their bid to be valid.

Auction Item Descriptions

  • Item descriptions should clearly explain what is included with each auction item.
  • Include an estimate of the fair market value for each item.
  • Your bid sheet should also state that descriptions were provided by the item donor
  • Include the phrase “All items are sold “as is”.

Silent Auction Bidding Process

  • Use bid sheets containing the item number, description, fair market value, opening bid amount, and incremental bid amount.
  • Opening bid amount should be printed on the bid sheet along with the incremental bid amount.
  • If you are using a Buy It Now price, then that should also be printed on the bid sheet along with a spot for the BIN bidders number.
  • To place a bid on a silent auction item, bidders write in their bidder number and their bid amount on the bid sheet.
  • Incremental bids that don’t meet your minimum incremental bid amount are invalid bids.
  • All decisions by the Action Chair are final.

Checkout Procedures

  • After bidding has closed, copy all the bid sheets, circle the winning bid and leave a copy next to the auction item.
  • To simplify checkout, use master sheets with sequential items numbers to record winning bidder number and amount.
  • Prepare combined checkout totals for those bidders with multiple winning bids.
  • Receipt should state that all items are being sold “as is”

Organizational Tips

  1. Provide good ingress and egress to your silent auction tables.
  2. Spread them out and group bid items by theme.
  3. Use different colors for each theme area.
  4. Use staggered closing times for the different areas.
  5. Announce time remaining before closing times of different them areas.

Silent Auction Tips

  1. Use bid sheets with the incremental bid amounts already printed on each line or as block next to each line saying next bid must be “x.00 $” above previous bid.
  2. Highlight the Fair Market Value price and note that the amounts above this price point are considered charitable contributions that are tax-deductible.
  3. Put cheap reading glasses into wine glasses near the bid items to help people better read the descriptions so you get more bids.
  4. Use our silent action donation request letter to get more items for your auction.

Hope these silent auction rules help you maximize your next auction results!