The Importance of a Bid Card
A bid card seems like a small detail, and one that may not be a priority on the long list of items required when planning a fundraising gala but IT IS CRITICAL, and everyone who holds one should have pre-registered by providing their name and contact information. This is incredibly important for a variety of reasons:
- Ease of recording successful bidders – recorders can easily note the winners of auction items along with the sale amount without having to discuss with participants during the auctions.
- Collecting payment – pre-registration vastly speeds up the payment process when there is along line of buyers who want to check out and leave following the event.
- Pre registration helps you build a contact list for promoting future events.
- Follow up – sometimes buyers leave without making payment and it is important for staff/volunteers to contact them to finalize the sale. Having the contact information that was provided during pre-registration simplifies this process.
Not only does a bid card make life easier for the event organizers, it can have a huge impact on the success of the auctioneer. I once ran an auction where the bid card was the size of a post card with the top half showcasing the number and the bottom half listing the agenda for the evening. It was beautiful to look at with a black and gold design that fit the theme of the event perfectly, but unfortunately it was nearly impossible to read from the stage. For individual auction items, it is possible to call a successful auction without a bid card although it is not ideal and can make more work for staff/volunteers. If a fundraising appeal is on the agenda, you MUST HAVE A BID CARD as, in my opinion it cannot be done effectively without one. Since the fundraising appeal often yields the most revenue for one single item, you don’t want to mess it up!
Tips for creating the perfect bid card:
- Font should be large and visible to the auctioneer from the stage. (at lease 3-4 inches).
- The number and the background are contrasting colours (ideal colour scheme is black on white)
- Feature a simple, bold sans serif font.
- Clean and not cluttered – if you want the bid card to have a dual purpose and also feature the auction catalogue, put the number on the back with the list of auction items on the front.
- Print on cardstock so that the bid cards are durable and last the evening.
Remember, a hand is NOT an acceptable bid card, spending a little bit of money on printing professional bid cards on quality paper can significantly increase your auction revenues. Don’t skip on this critical tool.