Vertical silent auction displays without using acrylic stands

I’ve written before about silent auction displays, and mentioned that vertical displays are key to a good display.  

But if you don’t like the look of acrylic stands, or you have more manpower than financial power, here are some silent auction ideas for other vertical display options.

Option 1: Oversized Vertical Silent Auction Displays
silent auction displays Inova

Oversized vertical silent auction display

The following displays were made out of a posterboard-type material. 

In speaking with the staff, I learned that the hospital foundation auction team (3 people) fabricated and glued a stand (also made of posterboard type of material) to the back of each posterboard to ensure it would stand on the table.

silent auction displays Inova closeup

Here’s a close-up of that oversized display.

The dimensions were oversized, so much so that the 8.5″ X 11″ description (on white paper) looks small compared to the display on which it was secured.  The description was glued or taped to the stand. 

It was tres elegant. 

Plus guests found it easy to read as they walked by because the font and display were large.


Option 2: Standard-Size Vertical Silent Auction Displays
silent auction displays HCH

This was a standard-sized display, 8.5″ x 11″

Like the oversized option, this group used heavier paper to create each vertical display.

The paper came with an attached prop on the back which folded out (similar to a photo frame).

They secured the description to the paper frame, and it was ready to be displayed on the tables.

The first year they used these, they had a sign maker (I think it was Signs By Tomorrow) make these displays.  In following years, they’ve ripped off the white display paper and glued a new one to the front.  You’d want to use a less adhesive glue, like rubber cement.

silent auction displays HCH closeup

You can more easily see the back of these displays in this photo.

They’ve held up pretty well and served the organization for several years now. 

As you might imagine, they’re also easier to store because they are lighter in weight than acrylic stands.



Option 3: Half-sized Vertical Silent Auction Displays
silent auction displays CCW

The construction paper used as a backing is black, but you could use any color.

Fold a standard 8.5″ X 11″ construction paper sheet in half. Now you’ve got a ready-to-stand vertical sheet.

You’ll print your descriptive title in large, easy-to-read font on a white piece of paper and attach it to the construction paper.  A small piece of double-sided sticky tape works well.

With a half-sheet display, the full description of the item (with restrictions) will likely need to be printed on the bid sheet as the size of the half-sheet display isn’t large enough to accommodate much verbiage.  You can help guests by being clear in the description.  “A romantic weekend stay” title isn’t as helpful as “Two weekend nights at the Ritz.”

If you want to color-code your auction, it’s easy to do so by using different colors of construction paper.

For more ways to improve your auction (and specifically, the amount of money you actually raise), enjoy a complementary subscription of “Benefit Auction Ideas.” Every other Tuesday, you’ll be treated to a new idea, like how to get guests to arrive on time  … or how to change the mindset of your guests so they treat your auction like a fundraiser instead of a place to buy things on the cheap … and how to make the auction’s operations — like check-out or catalog development — easier. Thousands of auction volunteers tell me they save every issue and read them again as they plan their gala.  Learn more here.


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About Sherry Truhlar

Fundraising auctioneer and sage, helping schools and nonprofits across the USA plan more profitable benefit auctions. A prolific writer for her own blog and other fundraising sites, her advice is tapped by thousands of auction planners seeking to improve their benefit auctions. Read her book, take her classes, or read what others say as she’s been covered in Town & Country Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, AUCTIONEER, and other publications.


  1. Kristina Buzen says:

    I’m interested in Option #2. Do you know where these were purchased?