Using Drupal to run a Silent Auction

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More Information

See this blog post for a more detailed outline of what I've covered below.


The Prince Street Home and School Association runs an annual spring fund-raising event that includes a silent auction. Local businesses are canvassed to donate items, and on the night of the fund-raiser the items are displayed and each item has a bidding sheet where bidders can write their name, phone number, and a higher bid than the one above. At the end of the night the highest bidder wins the item.

Going Online

For the 2009 event we decided to open up online bidding for the items. We set a "we need to have information about everything we have donated" date of two weeks before the event and then used the open-source Drupal content management system to run the online bidding. What follows is a do-it-yourself guide for others that might want to do the same.


To run the silent auction we used Drupal 6, so the instructions that follow assume you're doing the same. In addition to the basic Drupal installation, you'll also need the following modules:

    • Views - used to create an "auction items" page and a "recent bids" page and block.
    • String Overrides - for changing the name of the comment-related string to make them bidding-related strings (i.e. "Add a comment" becomes "Place a bid").
  • Optional:

Create a Silent Auction Content Type

The first step, once all the required Drupal modules are in place, is to set up a new CCK content type called Silent Auction:


In addition to the standard Title and Body fields, add three new fields, Donated By (text), Estimated Value (formatted decimal number) and Photo (file using ImageField):


Create a Silent Auction Taxonomy

Next, create a new taxonomy vocabulary called Silent Auction and set it to be used with the Silent Auction content type you created in the last step:


Add terms to the vocabulary reflecting the various types of items you'll have in the silent auction: