Create Auction or Update Auction Settings

One of the first things you will need to do is to create your auction event. If you are new to Handbid, then this article will step you through the process. If you are old-hat at this, you can consider copying an old auction as a starting point (and saving you some configuration time)


Real Auction vs. Test Auction

We allow managers to create ONE test auction in their account.  If you have not already done this, then you will see an option to CREATE TEST AUCTION in your menu.

What is a test auction?

A test auction is a great place to mess around in Handbid.  You have 5 items you can add to it and you can use it to simulate your auction (open, bidding, close, etc.) If you want to run through a dry-run, consider doing this in your test auction. Just Click Auctions on the left of your screen and then +Create Test Auction: 

Your test auction will operate exactly like a normal auction (except payments will not work), so it should give you a feel for how the software works.  Note, your TEST auction will have the word TEST put in front of its name so bidders will understand it is just a test auction.


Creating a NEW Auction

Provided your contract allows, you can create a NEW auction by tapping on the CREATE auction button.  This will pull up the "Create Auction" form.  To make this form (and any other form in our system) less daunting, it has been segmented into a series of Tabs. It is best to go through each of these tabs in order to setup your auction and then hit SUBMIT at the end.


Create a Non-Auction Event

Provided your contract allows, you can create Events and Fundraisers like our Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser. With a Non-Auction Event, you can create an event that will allow you to have all Handbid functions except for silent auction items. Events and Fundraisers are found on the left on your screen below Auctions. 

Auction Settings Tabs

The following tabs make up the Auction Settings form:

  • Contacts - this is where you will specify your contacts for auction-related questions
  • Info - this consists of your basic auction information (Name, URL, status, etc.)
  • Goals - It's 3rd in the list but one of the most important tabs to complete.
  • Event - Event related info goes here (start and end times, location, attire, description)
  • Images - Your auction images (logo, banner) as well as your Handbid TV images
  • Financial - Financial settings (enable credit card purchases, require card on file, premiums)
  • Bidders - Bidding restrictions are set here
  • Messaging - Your welcome message, receipt message, etc.
  • Sponsors - this is where you can upload sponsor logos to recognize sponsors

 Let's go through each of these and explain them


Auction Settings - Contacts 

In this first tab, you will identify ONE or more auction contacts. The Handbid support team will use this information to direct bidders who have questions.

IF you do not yet have any contacts in your Handbid contacts list to select, you can click on the "Add an Organizational Contact" icon to the right and create one.

NOTE: This is NOT where you will add additional auction manager accounts.  You will do that under the STAFF tab in your org settings.  The alert at the top of this tab will remind you of that; and, it will provide you a link to the Org settings where you can add staff.



Auction Settings - Info

The info tab will have your primary auction information in it. This will be your

  • Auction Name:  Make it 54 char or less and make sure it is what you want it to be. It will determine what your auction URL will be (e.g. if you call your auction "My Cool Test auction" then your URL will be If you want to change that later, you can change the name, but the URL will be the same.
  • Status (which you can change later - leave it as Setup for now)
  • Placement Label Handbid will provide placement information to your guests on the dashboard in the app or the Website and for you on the Guest List.  Placement is a generic term for "where is this person going to be sitting or participating at our event." If this is a sit-down Gala, this could be "Table" so that you could tell John Smith that he is at Table 12.  At a golf tournament, this could be "Cart" so you could tell John Smith that he is in Cart 18.  You can make this whatever you want (ie: Section, Group, Table, Cart, Team, etc.), or you can leave this section blank if you don't need to track placement.
  • Item Sort Method (by default the sort method is by name, but if you want your items to sort within categories by Item Code instead, change it here)
  • Enable Ticket Sales (if you plan to sell tickets, you will need this enabled)
  • Require Tickets to Register (this will REMOVE the "Register" option on the Events website and force users to "Purchase a Ticket" in order to register.
  • Auction Short URL (we can add this later - we need an auction to connect it to first!)
  • Auction Options Available (this is for admins only. You won't see anything here)
  • Manager PIN for iPad (you should set a 5-digit code here so that you can enter the manager section of the iPad app)
  • Facebook Pixel ID  If have a Facebook Pixel and want to use that for your events website, You can enter it here. If you don't know what a Facebook Pixel is, don't worry, most people don't. It is a way to track what happens when people click on an ad post you created in Facebook.

When you are done, click on GOALS to go to the next tab.

Auction Settings: GOALS

We love Goals. After all, if you don't know where you are going, how do you know if you get there? Goal setting also drives all of the thermometers in Handbid, so be thoughtful about what you put down here.

A few rules of thumb on goal setting:

  1. It is rare that your silent auction will do MORE than the total fair market value of your silent auction items.  So if the total value of your items is $5,000, it would be tough to get $10,000.  Not impossible, but tough.
  2. Just because you did $10,000 last year doesn't mean you will do the same this year. You may do $5k or you may do $20k. It will all depend on your items, number of bidders, timeframes, etc.  Our suggestion? Set a goal of 80% of your FMV and try to blow that number away (that would be a good performance).




Set goals for each area that you want to track: Silent, Live, Purchases (wine pulls, raffles, etc.), Appeal (donations) and Tickets (admission).  If you are not offering any items in a certain section (e.g. no Live auction), then just leave it $0.

When you are done, click on EVENT to go to the next tab:

Auction Settings: Event

This is where you will put in your event information.  This includes start times and end times. Note, this is NOT an auction start or end time. This is the start and end time for your event! Your auction could open before this and it could end after.

See below for each of the fields you can enter.

Event Location - Handbid tries to make this easy by doing a Google Places look up to find the event venue.  If you know the address you can enter it here; however, it should be even easier than that. If you are having your event at the Westin Denver Downtown, you can simply type that in and let Google find it. Once you select it, Google will populate the address, the vanity address (a location most people will understand), the timezone and the country.

If you do not have a place Google will find, you will need to input in all of this manually, including the TimeZone (which is a required field).

Time Zone - select the timezone for your auction location.  The list of timezones here will be based on the country and province(state) you specify for your event.  If you don't see a timezone that matches yours, then set your address properly, save the auction settings and come back to see if the list is then correct.

Street, City, State, Postal Code, Country - Enter the address for your event.  A map for this address will be displayed on the website.

Vanity Address - Display name for where your event will take place. (Example: Westin Denver Downtown)

Description - This provides your audience with detailed information about your event.  You can put in very basic formatting in here using the editor's tools (Bold, Italics, Underline).


Attire - Under attire we want to relay what is appropriate to wear Cocktail, Casual, Business Casual, Black tie etc.


Event Images - These images will appear BELOW the description on your event home page.


All done (at least for now) - then tap on IMAGES to continue.



Auction Settings: Images

Here you will set your Auction LOGO, Auction Banner and your Handbid TV logo.

Auction Logo – This auction logo will appear in the apps as well as on the web (just below) your banner.  This image should be a square format with the maximum recommended size of 600 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall.

Auction Banner - This image will get displayed at the top of your auction page on the website. This image should be 1140 pixels wide by 280 pixels tall. Also you will want to keep in mind that the logo will sit in the center, overlapping your banner image. View the image below.



If you are not all that comfortable with images, don't understand aspect ratios, or are not sure what 600px x 600px means. Then don't worry about that right now. You can come back and edit or add your logo and banner.  It does not need to be done right now.  We have plenty of articles on how to edit your banner and logo, so it may be best to visit these later.


Handbid TV - Handbid TV is Handbid's live dashboard.  If you plan to use this, you may find that your logo (inserted above) does not look all that good on the Handbid TV screens.  This is the place where you can change it.

For more information on how you can use Handbid TV at your event click here.

Moreover, you can customize the background colors on Handbid TV (if you are comfortable setting Hex values or using a Color Picker).

Done messing with images?  Tap the FINANCIAL tab and let's move on.


Auction Settings: FINANCIAL

This is the section where you will set your payment settings.


Enable Credit Card Support - If you do not check this box, users will NOT be able to pay from their phones! By checking this box, users will be able to add credit card (CC) information to their account and will have the option to MAKE A PAYMENT directly from their invoice (within the app).  You will also be able to charge stored credit cards within the Auction Manager. 

Here are some things to consider about our CC system.

  • You must enable this if you want to require a that a user put a card on file to bid.
  • Credit cards are NOT automatically charged.  Even if someone has a card, on file they can choose to pay with a different credit card, or pay you by cash, or check.
  • We offer this service as a convenience. However, we charge a 3.5% transaction fee in addition to $.30 transaction fee on all funds processed using this system.

Require Credit Card - If this box is checked, bidders will be prompted to enter a credit card before they are allowed to place a bid.  (NOTE: Enable Credit Card must be checked to use this option). 

Require Address to Pay - If this box is checked, bidders will be prompted to enter their address before they are allowed to pay. 

Spending Threshold - If you require a card to bid, you can set a threshold here that represents when the requirement kicks in.  For example, if you put 100 here, then Handbid will allow a bidder to bid up to $100 before it prompts the user for a credit card.

If this field is left blank, then the threshold is assumed to be 0.  In this case, bidders will have to enter a credit card before they are allowed to place ANY bid.  (PLEASE NOTE: Enable Credit Card Support and Require Credit Card must both be checked to use this option). 

Allow Pledge Donations - This will allow you bidders add a donation to their invoices without having a credit card on file. When you are doing an ask and directing bidders to make donations through the app they can add donations quickly without adding a credit card until they pay their invoice.

Auction Premium - This is a percentage that will be added to the total invoice amount for ALL BIDDERS. This premium percentage is added to the total amount (including taxes).

Currency - select currency for your auction. The default setting is US Dollar (USD).  If you change this setting, your CC transactions will happen in the currency you have selected.

Processing Transaction in a Foreign Currency

Note, if you do not have your own processor account connected (e.g your own Stripe account), then your transactions will be settled into Handbid's account in USD. If your auction is in a foreign currency, you will then incur foreign transaction fees! To avoid these fees, we always recommend our customers running auctions in foreign currencies set up their own merchant accounts.

Also note, you can not change the currency in an open auction. You will need to put the auction back into a setup status to change it.

Prompt Purchaser to Cover CC Fees - Checking this box will display a pop-up box when a bidder goes to pay their invoice asking them to pay the credit card fees on their invoice. 

Enable this by default? - Enabling this by default will automatically check the box in the pop up for the bidder to pay the credit card fees. In other words, they will already be opted in to pay the fees and they would have to select to not pay the fees.

Once you have your financial settings done, click on Bidders to continue


Auction Settings - Bidders

Here you can set restrictions on who and how people can bid (really not our favorite idea).  But if you need to restrict bidding to only those you authorize; or if you want to limit what people can spend. This is the area to set those.

Require Bidder Checkin - This feature gives you more control on who can bid in your auction. Want to limit bidding to local bidders only? Want to only allow specific bidders to participate? You can control this by requiring that they be checked in to bid.

If this box is selected, anyone will be able to see your auction and register for your auction, but they will not be able to place a bid until the auction manager checks the bidder into the auction using the "Is Checked In" checkbox on the bidder profile, checking the bidder in through the guest list or checking the bidder in when adding a bidder.

Enable Per Bidder Spending Limits - If you turn this on, then you can set a spending limit on a particular bidder.  You can add the spending limit to the user on th  Why would you want to do this?  Rarely - but there are a few examples:

  • School auctions where the parents want the kids to be able to bid up to a specific amount.
  • Bidders with credit issues or past payment issues.  If you have a bidder you want to BAN from your auctions, the best way to do that is to check this box and give the bidder a spending limit of $0.

Bidder Location Check (Ask bidders if they are OnSite) - Do you want to know how many of your bidders are physically at your event? Ask them! "Are you bidding from the arena tonight?" They will be prompted with this question so you can tally your OnSite-vs-remote bidders. Remember when you check the box for Bidder Location Check you need to populate the question box to the left.

Ok, on to the Messages tab


Auction Settings - Messaging

This is where you can enter in your basic templates for your Auction Receipt message, your Welcome message, your Shipping and Redemption instructions, and Donation description.

Receipt / Invoice Message. This is the message that will print on the bottom of every receipt. We HIGHLY recommend you place contact information for picking up auction items, a thank you for supporting your organization and tax information if applicable. You can use the list of "tokens" on the right to personalize your message. Below an example receipt note:

Thank you {bidder} for your participation in the {auction} Auction!  Our {org} could not function without your generous support. This receipt/invoice will serve as an official statement for items purchased at this event.  We are a 501c3, so some portion of your total may be tax deductible.  Please consult with a tax advisor to determine the amount (if any) you may be able to deduct. If you have additional questions about the auction or your items, please contact Bob Smith at 555-555-5555 or bmith.

Welcome Message - Your welcome message will show up when your bidders register in your auction. Below is an example text.

{bidder} -

Welcome to the {org} {auction}! We appreciate your support and participation.

We have Auction Volunteers who can help you place or track bids throughout the evening.

We hope you find something you like in our Auction. Funds raised will support our programs and activities throughout the year. Feel free to contact us if you have questions!

 The Cause Team,


Shipping / Redemption instructions - This will be a custom message in your auction to your bidders. You will want to mention who the auction manager is if shipping needs to be arranged. You may want to say shipping fees will be assessed on auction items that need to be shipped. Also, let your bidders know where the checkout is and what times it will range from.


Donation Description.  This prints on the event website's donation page. This is where you can explain where the funds will be used or other information about a user's donation.


Ok, almost done - ONE more tab - Sponsors!


Auction Settings - Sponsors

This is the tab where you can recognize your sponsors. Handbid has 2 types of sponsor sections: Mobile Splash (which is where you can highly a key sponsor for your event) and Web Sponsors.


If you have this information ready, you can add it now.

Adding a Mobile Sponsor:  How to add a mobile sponsor

Adding Web Sponsors: Instructions on how to add web sponsors here



Otherwise, please click on CREATE at the bottom right of the window to create your auction.

Things that may TRIP you up

  1. Timezone must be set.  If you see this error, you forgot to set the event timezone - go to the Event tab and set it.

  2. One or more contacts missing.  The first tab is the contacts tab.  You will need to pick a contact on that tab.