At the end of a successful silent event, it can be hard to get guests off the dance floor and over to the checkout table. Silent auction checkout can be a daunting task which is why we’re here –– to help you run your most efficient silent auction checkout yet.  

1. Organize and number silent auction items.

It’s key for your team to develop a numbering system that allows you to categorize and organize auction items. Perhaps vacation packages are the 100s, sports memorabilia are the 200s, artworks are the 300s, and so on. Numbering and organizing items from the beginning makes navigating the auction catalog simpler, and it helps volunteers easily find items at checkout.  

Depending on your venue, consider moving all auction items to a designated auction checkout area. It’s important to place checkout somewhere guests will pass when they leave the event and set up items numerically so that they can be quickly fetched. If you’re going to keep items in the auction area you should consider numbering them in order around the room so that they can easily be found at the end of the evening by the people running to collect items for guests. Keep all certificate items in one folder or box, also following a consistent numbering pattern. 

2. Capture credit card information at registration.

Is your organization keeping credit card information on file for guests after they’ve purchased tickets? You should investigate whether that’s an option with whatever software you’re using. If keeping a card on file is an option, it should be enabled because it allows guests to easily check out and pay for items and donations at the end of an event.  

If credit cards are not able to be kept on file for guests, your organization should capture as many as possible at registration. GiveSmart’s registration software gives organizations the option to swipe guests’ credit cards when they arrive, or guests can input their payment information directly through their personal bidding portal.   

3. Use mobile bidding software.

Hosting your silent auction online using mobile bidding software allows you to set an end time for your auction. This creates a hard stop and an automatic tally of winners and the total amount that they owe at the end of an event. GiveSmart provides you with a platform to process payments for items and donations and send automatic receipts via email to guests. These receipts contain financial information for tax purposes and save your team hours of manually generating and mailing receipts.  

4. Train your checkout team.

Whether staff, volunteers, or GiveSmart silent auction event staff are running your checkout, it’s crucial that everyone is on board with the checkout and payment process. Before checkout begins, your team should decide who will process payments and who will run to collect auction items. It’s a good idea to have at least one item runner per payment processor. Delegating tasks prevents confusion and keeps checkout running in an orderly fashion. If you’re using a payment software, like GiveSmart, your team should run through how it works before they need to start checking out guests. Your team should know how to charge cards on file and how to add new ones. It’s also a good idea for your organization to bring a lock box to the event so that you have a place to store cash or check, should you receive payments that way. 


It’s important to plan for your auction checkout so that it runs smoothly and efficiently the night of the event. Set up multiple payment stations, give guests the option to pay on their own devices, train your team, and develop an organization system for logistics.

Want to talk more about your auction’s checkout process? Drop us a note!



Kelsey Woodworth