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5 Affordable Auction Software Options for Nonprofits

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I have written on many other forms of fundraising, a few of them more than once, including grants, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, and fundraising gamification, but never auction fundraising. It’s time to change that, because auction fundraising is a tried and true method for raising money for specific campaigns. According to a survey conducted by Bidding for Good, 55% of respondents used some sort of fundraising activity at their events, including silent and live auctions.

Affordable Auction Software

With so many organizations opting to conduct auctions at events, it is important that they are equipped with the right technology to serve the needs of today’s generations without breaking the bank. Auction software will help you organize your events, manage the bidding process, and market your auctions to the largest crowd possible.

Here are five affordable auction software options for nonprofits.

(Author’s Note: Software options were chosen based on whether their plans were around $1000/year or lower. Software is listed in alphabetical order.)

1. 32Auctions

32Auctions is a silent auction software used by big name organizations like the Ronald McDonald House Charity and the Boys & Girls Club. 32Auctions provides templates for auction page creation and allows for personalization of campaigns with branding, sponsor highlighting, goal meters, and many other design options.

Auction participants are engaged with real-time notifications on the status of the items they are interested in. This opens the potential for remote as well as on-site silent auctions.

Basic Features (Free):

  • Basic donor management
  • Auction analytics
  • One image per Item
  • Online only
  • Email support
  • Unlimited bidders

Premium Features (Pay per Feature):

  • Four images per item
  • No third-party ads
  • Online and live events
  • Premium donor and sponsor management
  • Custom branding

2. Auctria

Auctria is a Canadian-based software provider geared towards fundraiser auctions. Their system may be based on traditional bidding systems, but their infrastructure is solid with an online payment feature, which runs in-line with their auction reporting system. If your nonprofit can do without mobile or desktop bidding, Auctria may be exactly what you are looking for.

General Features (Available with every plan):

  • Bidding automation
  • Printed materials (bid sheets, display pages, gift certificates, etc.)
  • Ticket sales
  • Website customization
  • Online marketing
  • Auction reporting

Bronze Features ($89.95/year):

  • Two auctions
  • Three separate users
  • $15,000 limit per auction
  • Credit card fee: $0.30 + 3.4%

Silver ($129.95/year):

  • Four auctions
  • Twenty separate users
  • $50,000 limit per auction
  • Credit card fee: $0.30 + 3.4%
  • Offline access
  • Track sales tax
  • Track consignment items

Gold ($229.95/year):

  • Eight auctions
  • Ninety-nine separate users
  • $100,000 limit per auction
  • Credit card fee: $0.30 + 3.2%
  • Offline access
  • Track sales tax
  • Track consignment items

Platinum ($349.95/year):

  • Unlimited $ per auction
  • Unlimited auctions
  • Ninety-nine separate users
  • Credit card fee: $0.30 + 3.1%
  • Offline access
  • Track sales tax
  • Track consignment items

3. Bidding for Good

Bidding for Good is an event management and auction software melded into one, focusing specifically on the features needed to organize nonprofit auction events.

Auction Manager Basic (Free)

Auction Manager Basic is a free auction software option made for auction event organizing, promotion, and materials creation. The biggest difference between the “basic” and “pro” options is the lack of online and mobile bidding, which is available on the “pro” option only.

Features:

  • Create auction event homepages
  • Bid sheet design
  • Event promotion
  • One image per item
  • Generate auction reports
  • Import existing auction spreadsheets

Auction Manager Pro (Pricing starts at $249)

Auction Manager Pro takes everything great about the “basic” version and adds on new features, such as online/mobile bidding, ticket sales, management of donations and bids, and process payments.

Features:

  • Create auction event homepages
  • Promote sponsors
  • Event promotion
  • Payment processing
  • Online/mobile bidding
  • Ticket sales
  • Import Excel spreadsheets and email lists
  • Generate auction reports

4. Give Smart

Give Smart is yet another event management tool and auction software geared specifically towards nonprofits. Their software covers live, silent, and online auctions, creating versatility for nonprofit organizations and their fundraising events.

Pricing is based on the needs of the individual organization.

Features:

  • Branded websites
  • Real-time data tracking
  • Bidding leaderboards
  • Secure payment processing
  • Instant-buy items
  • Extended bidding
  • Online/mobile bidding
  • Fully customizable
  • Auction reporting
  • Ticket sales
  • Sponsor promotion

5. WinningCause

WinningCause is an silent auction software with many well-known charity partners, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Special Olympics, and the American Cancer Society. Whether you are holding an online auction or printing physical bid-sheets for an event, WinningCause covers both methods. Their software is tiered into three versions: Start for Free, Better than Free, and Ultra Competitive.

These tiers allow nonprofits of all sizes to make use of their software, no matter their budget.

Start for Free Features (Paper Only):

  • Unlimited items
  • One image per display sheet
  • No customization
  • No credit card processing
  • One auction admin
  • Limited email support
  • Unlimited bidders
  • No auction reporting
  • No seller’s fee

Better than Free Features (Paid with bidder gratuities):

  • Unlimited items
  • Unlimited images per item
  • Full customization
  • Subsidized credit card processing rates
  • Auto checkout
  • Twenty auction admins
  • Priority email support
  • Instant auction reporting
  • Unlimited bidders
  • Online and mobile bidding

Ultra Competitive ($108/year):

  • Unlimited items
  • Unlimited images per item
  • Full customization
  • Subsidized credit card processing rates
  • Auto checkout
  • Twenty auction items
  • Priority email support
  • Low seller’s fee
  • Instant auction reporting
  • Unlimited bidders
  • Online and mobile bidding

What next?

These software options are perfect for those new to auction fundraising. As for those more experienced in this field, be sure to check out all of the other auction software options available in our auction software directory!

Have you hosted an auction fundraising event before? What worked and what didn’t work? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for Auction software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Auction software solutions.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, playing guitar, writing, cooking, and dominating the world of video games.

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