Planning Your Auction Event

Time to start the planning process. This will consist of assembling your team, planning your event, and determining how you will setup your auction / event in Handbid.



First you have to assemble your team and get them organized in terms of their roles and responsibilities. You will need a dedicated group of individuals who will stick with you until the end.  If you are relying on a volunteer staff, you will have to keep them engaged and motivated throughout the entire process.  While you may only need to meet a few times a month at first, you will find yourselves needing to meet weekly in the last month or so before the event.

Make sure you have your team cover the following elements:


FINDING AND BOOKING THE VENUE (if you are having a live event)

  • Location (based on expected attendance)
  • Size (can it fit the number of guests you expect?)
  • Cost to rent
  • Dates and times of availability
  • Policies around alcohol (if applicable)
  • Catering restrictions
  • Mobile Bidding (is your venue setup for mobile bidding?)
  • Layout / suitability for your event (i.e. do they have the facilities / features you need?)
  • Time of year and any expected issues with weather / accessibility
  • Parking (if your guests will arrive by car)



For your venue, be sure you determine where you will be able to display your auction items. You will want this space to be big enough, with adequate lighting and room for your guests to browse. 

Also, make sure that your venue is suitable for mobile bidding. Please review this Knowledge Base article on how to evaluate your venue’s network and WIFI capabilities. 



You can start by creating a tracking spreadsheet that has a list of all target items. Google Spreadsheets is a great tool to use for this. In fact, Handbid has a template you can use as a starting point that can also serve as your “import” spreadsheet when you are ready to load items into Handbid. You can tag items with a “solicitor” who is responsible for requesting and picking up the item.


This topic can get messy if you have a lot of chiefs and not many indians.  It's best to get this topic out of the way early so that you and your team can focus on the rest of the event (auction, registrations, etc.).  Some things to consider:

  • Your theme will dictate your decorations and can impact the venue you rent.  Pick this first.  For example, planning to have a Kentucky Derby theme where you watch the race? Make sure your venue is equipped for that.
  • Your theme will drive your catering choices.  Having a formal plated dinner? Make sure both your venue and your caterer (and your budget) can support it.  Going for the Speakeasy theme where you have a false facade that resembles something else at the entrance?  Again, your venue and caterer must support it.
  • Your venue may restrict which caterers you use.  Keep that in mind when selecting your theme and managing your budget.
  • For the decor, how “far” do you want to take it?  We have seen nautical themes that had real props (water, life rings, captains hats, horns), derby themes with amazing centerpieces and horse decor, down to un-galas with a casual BBQ style decor that was not fancy and not expensive. It's up to you.

You have a venue to find and secure, a theme to establish, a caterer to pick, auction items to get, and no time to wait.  Your team is energized and they still like each other!  

Once you are ready to move onto the next step, read the article on "Creating a Successful Event Timeline"

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