Create the Best Bid Card for an Auction or Fund-A-Need

Bid Card

Do you want to raise more funds at your next event?

Whether it’s a live auction or a special appeal, the more you can do to help your bidders bid effectively, the more successful your fundraising will be. A well-designed bid card can help make that happen.

So how do you create an effective bid card? Let’s take a look at a few general rules that will get you on the right track.

“…[Ride Connection] made their appeal active. Instead of envelopes lying limp on the table, this year they used a benefit auctioneer and bid cards, collecting their appeal that way. Active, accountable bidding yields more participation.” Samantha Swaim, Swaim Strategies

Make it Readable

When your bidders hold up their bid cards, your auctioneer and spotters need to be able to see who’s bidding. Design your bid card so it’s easy to read from a distance:

  • Large letters (3” to 4”).
  • Bold, sans serif font.
  • High contrast—black on white is your safest bet.
  • Print a line under the numbers so there’s no confusion about whether it’s a 6 or a 9.

Make it Portable

Design your bid card so it’s easy for a guest to carry around and won’t get lost in the shuffle. Don’t worry about creating a paddle—a sheet of card stock is easier to handle. And eliminating the stick will save you time and money.


Greater Giving Online has a tool to print bid cards for you. The print Live Auction Bid Cards can be found under Supporter Reports & Exports tab in the Reports section.

  • Sturdy card stock that won’t fold over
  • Full-sized sheet (8.5” x 11”)

Make it Useful

Add a sticker on the back of the bid card with the bidder’s seat assignment information. Your bidders will be able to find their way back to the auction and any lost bid cards can be returned to their owners.

Make it Influential

Every time a bidder raises his bid card, people see the back of the card. Why not use this space to your advantage? Brand the card with your event name and logo for additional exposure. Include a sponsor name and logo to cover the additional printing costs. Or, if cost is an issue, you can always print a smaller event or sponsor logo on just the front of the card.

What is Your Experience?

Have you developed a great design for a bid card? What have you found that works well? What doesn’t work so well? We’d love to hear your stories.

4 Responses to “Create the Best Bid Card for an Auction or Fund-A-Need”

  1. We print the bid numbers on the back of the program that lists the live auction items and the agenda for the evening. The programs are put on the tables in the ballroom and we hand the guests a card with their bid number and table number on it when they check in. That way we don’t have to set up lines based on the alphabet – guests can go to any available station. Makes check-in fast and easy!

    • How smart! I also like this because your guests don’t have to carry a big card or paddle with them during the silent auction. Thank you for sharing this idea.

  2. Our county 4-H decided to host a still exhibit auction… so those that do not have livestock or means to raise livestock can still earn money buy selling a project, i.e. woodworking, crafts, cookies. This was our first year trying such an event and unlike the Livestock auction we would be all on our own for clerking and setting up. (Given the size of the Livestock sale, volunteers from the local bank help with clerking and getting all the paperwork around.) If you get the email addresses, it is easier to contact with inviting to a thank you reception and/or contacting regarding future events.
    I created a buyer registration card (4×5.5) on which the potential buyer could register with name, address, telephone #, email address, driver’s license no. and an understanding that it was cash or check. (Square charges a 3% fee so we opted not to do that. If you are using square be sure to notify buyers ahead of time that a 3% fee will be added.) The sheet was perforated so from the buyer registration I could tear off another 4 x5.5 square. On the blank side, I wrote the buyer number with a sharpie = 4 inches. On the back of the buyer number card. I put the logo and a table to keep track of the lot number, description and cost of purchases. Using this size, you can fit 2 buyer numbers and 2 buyer registrations on one piece of card stock. Because it is Fair Week, color coordination is a must, and a light bright electric blue was the color.

    Buyers had an option to “pre register” through out fair week. That gave me time to enter the information into the computer ahead of time. And using a shared drive, multiple clerks could access the same information at once making cashing out easier.

    Don’t forget to order or make receipts, especially if you are a tax deductible entity. I used the triplicate copy paper to have a back up in case the computer program crashed.

    • Dathan Montes

      Sounds like an awesome system you have set up there. If you ever think about possibly automating or streamlining give us a call to hear about some of our options. Phone (800) 276-5992, Email Thanks again for reaching out Karen!


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