How To Run a Nonprofit Auction Checkout - A Step-By-Step Guide

  • Duration
    90 Minutes
  • Author
    Sherry Truhlar
  • Course Level
  • Year Created
  • CFRE Approved
    1.50 Points



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90% of Post-webinar Survey Respondents Rated this Webinar as Great to Excellent!

Too many nonprofits have a great nonprofit auction, only to have an epic fail during checkout.

Checkout is a critical part of your event’s success, yet many planners lack a complete understanding of the process.  A disorganized checkout leads to misplaced and lost donations, long lines of guests, panicking volunteers, and angry donors. 

The good news is that even WITHOUT buying software, you can have a flawless checkout. 

In this webinar, you’ll learn the step-by-step process that’s helped hundreds of nonprofit auctions succeed.  At your next event, you’ll track purchases, collect money, and distribute items, all WITHOUT DRAMA.

This nonprofit webinar is perfect if ….

  • You and/or your committee need a refresher. (For my own clients who manage their own checkout, I encourage them to watch this webinar every year before their own gala -- it’s that important to be reminded of the steps.)
  • You need to train a new team of people on checkout. 
  • You’re a “newbie.”  Maybe this is your first nonprofit auction, or the first auction you’ve helped plan.
  • You’ve bought auction software, but haven’t grasped how to manage the event outside of the software program.  (Many software companies are good at training you on the technical side of their product but fail to explain the human elements of checkout, such as tricks for onsite set-up, packing, bagging, and delivery.)

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Overview: What used to be called “checkout” is now “guest services.”  By viewing photos from real nonprofit auctions, you’ll see how to organize your registration table, cashier station, pick-up area, silent auction, and more.
  • Common reasons checkout fails
  • Staffing: Registration and checkout has 6 roles to fill.  Learn who you need for each task.
  • Auction terminology:  We’ll clarify terms and descriptions tied to the process so there’s no confusion. 
  • Pre-event activities: Which tasks to complete and vendors to talk with before your auction begins. 
  • Onsite activities:  See photos from real auctions, teaching you how to run checkout, step-by-step. “First do this, then walk here and do that.”
  • Variations in the process: Depending on your event’s activities, you can adopt a variation.  Understanding the evolving role of technology (from credit card to mobile bidding) is covered, as recent changes in the industry have lowered costs and expanded your choices.


  1. List of vendors offering the best functionality for process fundraising auction donations.
  2. Item donation tracking spreadsheet
  3. Webinar recording and slides

What Attendees Said about This Webinar

“I ran my first auction this year and it went well, but I learned a lot of things during this webinar that will help next year be even better!”

Kendra Luta, Grass River Natural Area

"Everything I learned today is going to be used for our next Benefit Auction - I've never been able to say that before! Everything I learned was extremely helpful.”

Sierra Hutton, Hope House

"This was a great seminar and gave me lots of tips to tweak our auction to make it run even smoother”.

Maggi Junor, Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance

"Very informative - I learned some great new techniques for our next auction and other events as well.”

Brandy Blackstone, Bay Community Support Services

“I've been in charge of running our auction for 15 years, but I still learned a few new tips from this webinar and will be putting them into practice at next year's event.”

Kathy Smith, Turning Point

“Great information provided, liked that there were different options presented.”

Peggy Osborn, Camphill Foundation

“I loved the webinar. Received great insight and ideas that I plan to implement at my organization's silent auction. Definitely feeling more comfortable and confident in the event with these tools. #holygrail”

Cynthia Court, Mather Hospital

Presented by Sherry Truhlar, CMP, BAS, CAI Sherry Truhlar is the founder of Red Apple Auctions, a boutique auction firm niched in improving fundraising auctions.  Almost every weekend she can be found working with a nonprofit somewhere in the USA, serving as their auctioneer.  Since building her company from the ground up in 2005, thousands of gala chairs have studied with Sherry in her online educational classes, watched her training programs, or studied her advice and video trainings provided on her blog.  She’s been covered by dozens of newspapers and podcasts, which you can read about on the website.  An avid self-educator, she has a BA and BS from Emporia State University (Kansas), an MA from the University of Wollongong (Australia) and three certifications (CMP in the event industry; BAS and CAI in the auction industry). 

If You Register and Cannot Attend, You Will Get the Webinar Recording, Slides, and Bonus Materials.


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