Here’s a clever way to ensure guests keep their auction bid card as they mingle during the silent auction reception.
One of my client’s included key information on the back of each paddle.
- The guest’s name
- Guest’s table number
- Schematic diagram of the ballroom, with highlighting on the table at which the guest would be seated. (Notice that the guest’s table is highlighted in yellow to make it easy for the guest to locate.)
- An introduction of the auctioneer
- Information about the silent auction
The only item handed to each guest at the registration desk was this bid card.
Guests weren’t given any other materials, such as a program and/or auction catalog. Instead, a program was placed on each guest’s chair in the ballroom. It held information on sponsors, the honoree, advertisers, and descriptions of the live auction items.
I like this bid card style for a few reasons.
- It’s easy for a guest to carry one item versus several.
- If this bid card is accidentally left on a cocktail table during the reception, it’s easy for staff to find its owner. Because the name and location of each bidder is on the paddle, staff can deliver the auction paddle directly to the guest.
- It eliminates the need for larger signage showing the ballroom layout and table assignments.
- The program and/or auction catalog can be printed days or weeks in advance and these bid cards — which are easy to print (perhaps even print in-house) — can be produced nearer to the gala date, once seating assignments are confirmed.
This fundraiser was a dinner gala and every guest had an assigned place to sit. For these types of events, the Auction Planner can use the chairs as a delivery method. (See photo.)
For cocktail-style / walk-around fundraisers, using the bid card to convey table assignments would be unnecessary because guests don’t have assigned seats.
Don’t leave the back of your bid card blank.
Here are some suggestions on how to use the real estate on the back of the bid card.
- Sell the space as a sponsorship opportunity
- List live auction item descriptions so you can eliminate a catalog
- Share your mission
- Convey checkout information
- Reiterate where the donations will be spent
- Or simply reprint the bid number, so the bid number is on both sides of the card
My point: The back of the auction bid card is valuable real estate. Consider the best ways to use it for your event.