Feb 27, 2019

5 Tips for a Quick and Easy Silent Auction Checkout

tips for a quick and easy silent auction

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, with a number of guests submitting payment information and collecting their items all at one time. Those considerations are why we’re here to help you run your most efficient silent auction checkout yet with our silent auction ideas.

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 make navigating the auction catalog simpler, and these proactive steps help 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 by 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, 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 that also follows a consistent numbering pattern for a silent auction idea that will prevent confusion and maintain a free-flowing checkout. If you’ve put together a set of auction rules for your event, it can be helpful to include information on how you’re numbering and organizing items so donors are aware and won’t wonder where their things are. 

2. Capture Credit Card Information at Registration

registration software

Is your organization keeping credit card information on file for guests after they’ve purchased tickets? Investigate whether that’s an option with whatever software you’re using. If keeping a card on file is an option, you should enable this feature. It allows guests to easily check out and pay for items and donations at the end of a silent auction event without creating long lines from waiting to manually plug in payment information.

If you cannot keep credit cards 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. Guests can also 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 feature 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. You can also save your organization some money by letting guests cover payment processing fees for credit card transactions, putting more funds toward your cause.

Plus, you and your guests won’t have to worry about compromised data, which can be a point of concern when handling numerous transactions at a time — especially high-value ones. GiveSmart is SOC 2 and PCI compliant to protect donor payment information and maintain high security standards.

4. Set Up Lanes for Express Checkouts and Normal Payments

In addition to organizing your auction items, creating separate lanes for different types of payments can make the process run more quickly and smoothly for everyone. When deciding how to run a silent auction, keep this point top of mind so that you can implement it at the beginning of your setup process and be prepared to manage guests efficiently once the event ends.

Create an express lane for guests who have registered their credit card information through your mobile bidding software so they can make their payment, receive their item, and be on their way right after. Your other lanes can help individuals with tasks like paying without a card on file, paying with more than one payment method, or switching payment methods. Dedicating a lane for each task helps guests get to where they need to go and complete necessary processes without holding each other up.

5. 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 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 to keep the lanes moving and ensure guest satisfaction. Our software streamlines much of the silent auction checkout for you, but it’s still essential to know how the program works and prepare your team to best utilize this solution.

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 checks, should you receive those types of payments. Accepting various payment types can make checkout easier for guests, especially when you maintain a structured, optimized process.

Running a Smooth Silent Auction with GiveSmart

It’s important to plan for your silent auction checkout so that it runs smoothly and efficiently on 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.

These steps can help you sail through your event and curate an enjoyable donor experience. With over $460 million raised and capabilities for virtual, in-person, and hybrid silent auctions, GiveSmart has a proven track record of success. Trust us to manage your event checkout and help you meet your fundraising objectives.

Our donor-centered approach means guests receive timely item notifications throughout the event and can feel satisfied with a quick and easy checkout by the end. Support your event attendees with improved convenience to keep them coming to subsequent fundraising efforts and furthering your mission.

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


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County