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17 Volunteer Roles to Recruit for Your Fundraising Auction

Posted by Summy Lau

If you've ever been part of a fundraising auction, you know how important it is to establish not only auction chairs and committees, but an extensive team of reliable, passionate volunteers.

On the day of the event, staff and leadership need to prioritize mingling and networking with donors. This means well-trained volunteers are key to the actual execution of your event.

To help assemble your volunteer "dream team," we've put together a list of 17 of the most important volunteer roles to recruit for your fundraising auction.

Winspire twins only smallVolunteer Roles in Fundraising Auctions

  1. Event Coordinator
  2. Event Coordinator Assistant
  3. Procurement Team (auction items & cash donations)
  4. Procurement Recorder
  5. Inventory Manager (auction items)
  6. Bid Sheet Writers
  7. Bid Number Issuers
  8. Auction Set-Up and Display (Live, Silent, and Super Silent)
  9. Silent Auction Assistants (bid sheet preparation, table closings, etc.)
  10. Live Auction assistant
  11. Bid Spotters
  12. Auction Clerk/Recorders
  13. Runners
  14. Data Entry
  15. Cashiers
  16. Cashier Assistants
  17. Security

(Note: Other popular roles include venue decorators, ticket sales, raffle sales, coat check, greeters, invoice preparers, clean-up crew and floaters, depending on the nature and size of your event. Some tasks may also evolve as the event draws closer.)

Now let's go into what responsibilities each role entails.

Here we will cover job descriptions for the first 8 - click below to get a printable PDF of the entire list.


1. Event Coordinator

The Coordinator is your event-day 'choreographer', responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects of the Live and Silent Auctions and running the event timeline like a Swiss watch.

Leading up to the event, the Coordinator has ensured all volunteers are well trained and adequately prepared. He or she is detail‐oriented, has a calm demeanor and good people skills, functions well under pressure, and is able to handle any crisis that may arise.

You may wish to hire a professional Event Coordinator if you can’t find a volunteer suited for this role.

2. Event Coordinator Assistant

Often required at larger events, this position serves as an extension and assistant of the Event Coordinator.

3. Procurement Team Members

Procurement team members solicit auction donations based on the goals for the Live and Silent Auctions.

Following the initial ‘Wish List’ brainstorming session, create a contact list of prospective donors and an action plan. Create an auction procurement form with details on each item, to be submitted with each donation. Upon securing a donation, mark it on a collaborative spreadsheet and arrange for delivery of the item to the Procurement Recorder or Inventory Manager.

4. Procurement Recorder

This person receives items from the Procurement Team along with the accompanying auction procurement form. The item is assigned a tracking number and corresponding numbered label that will remain attached to the item until it has been sold, paid for, and delivered to the buyer.

Only one person should fill this role to ensure tight control over what is being received and recorded. This person may also write thank you letters to donors and issue official tax receipts if applicable.


5. Inventory Manager

The Inventory Manager is responsible for the secure storage of auction items. He or she ensures a numbered tracking label is affixed to each item, and places auction procurement forms in one of two folders: ITEMS RECEIVED or ITEMS PENDING (for items yet to be received). This person follows up on items not yet received.

He or she also ensures all auction items are transported from storage to the auction site on or before event day, and that items not sold or awaiting later delivery are returned back to secure storage.

6. Bid sheet writers

These individuals prepare the Silent Auction Bid Sheets. There are many styles of Bid Sheets that are effective, including ‘Walk-away’ or ‘Buy Now’ Bid Sheets. All sheets should include:

  • Title of auction item
  • Description of auction item (use bullet points to clearly convey key information – avoid long, wordy descriptions)
  • Inventory control number (corresponds with number on tracking label affixed to item)
  • Terms and conditions (blackout dates, etc.) if applicable
  • Donor information
  • Minimum bid increment (between $5 and $20 is generally recommended)
  • Value of item (Note: This is optional and not always recommended)
  • Three columns – one for Bid Number, one for Bid Amount, and one for initials. (Note: Asking bidders to write their phone numbers can create security issues and is a violation of privacy. Writing names can also discourage friends from bidding against each other.)
  • A line to record the successful Bidder Number and final bid amount

Bid Sheet Writers ensure there is a Bid Sheet for every item listed on the Auction Donation spreadsheet. They also prepares gift certificates for donated services wherever one has not been provided by the donor, so desktop publishing and design skills are an asset.

7. Bid Number Issuers

This is a key role, given the importance and value of Bidder Numbers to your auction event. Bidder Numbers should be issued to all guests at the time of their arrival, and here’s why:

  • They make it easy to track buyers. The number assigned to each guest is also attached to their registration information.
  • It is faster and easier to prepare auction invoices when sorting by Bidder Numbers rather than trying to decipher handwritten signatures.
  • Guests are able to make ALL their purchases in the Live Auction, Silent Auction, Raffles, and Cash Appeal with their Bidder Number, eliminating the need to keep opening their wallets. Everything is totaled on one invoice, requiring one easy credit card swipe.

At minimum, 3-digit Bid Numbers (beginning with 100) should be printed in LARGE BLACK INK on 8.5” x 5.5” WHITE card stock. This makes the number easily visible to the auctioneer, ensures bids are not missed, and accurately identifies the buyer. Click here for a live auction bid card template.

8. Auction Set-up and Display

Know gifted decorators or wrappers? These creative individuals are responsible for the merchandising of items in the Live and Silent Auctions, and in so doing, create attractive displays that enhance the appeal of each auction item.

Limited only by their own imaginations, volunteers add sizzle to ensure auction items capture the eyes and imaginations of as many donors as possible.

Get the full list of 17 Volunteer Roles in Fundraising Auctions [Free PDF]

What about roles 9-17? Fill out the form below to instantly view a printable PDF with job responsibilities for all 17 of these roles, plus links to more resources designed to maximize volunteers' efforts and save hours of precious time.

Volunteer Roles in Fundraising Auctions PDF Preview

Silent Auctions, Volunteers, Fundraising Auction, Learning Center
Summy Lau
Summy Lau
As Fundraising Editor, Summy brings hands-on experience in nonprofit development, event fundraising, publishing, copywriting and design to Winspire News. She creates blog content, infographics, templates, eBooks and other resources to help fundraising professionals and volunteers exceed their fundraising goals. Her two favorite perks of working at Winspire: hearing nonprofit success stories and dreaming of new bucket list destinations.

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