Today many nonprofits, schools and community organizations host charity auctions to raise money for their cause. Whether the auction is a stand-alone fundraiser, or a compliment to another fundraising event (such as a gala or golf tournament), you’ll find that charity auction software will make planning your event much easier and will certainly help maximize your profits!
Let’s start out by mentioning some of the questions and/or concerns you may have:
- Will we host a live or online charity auction (or both)?
- How will we manage the numerous details? (Gathering and organizing information about auction items, starting bids, values, donor info, etc)
- How can we safely collect payments and process online bids?
- How can we offer large ticket items without simply buying them?
- How will we handle all of the paperwork at the live auction event?
Next, let’s talk about how charity auction software can ease each of your concerns.
Auction Software for an Online Auction
For an online charity auction, auction software allows organizations to create a fully customizable auction website which includes a registration page where constituents register and place bids on auction items. Here administrators list auction items, manage auction categories and items from a secure administration area, upload product images, starting bids, detailed product descriptions, item values, reserve amounts, bid increments, and more. Featured items can highlighted at the top of the auction items webpage, and may be rotated regularly to keep the auction looking fresh. Some auction software solutions also include sponsor capabilities, detailed financial tracking and reporting, and much more.
Promoting an online auction is simple. You can promote your auction on your organization’s website by creating a fun auction ad that links to the charity auction website. Send an email to your database with the link for your auction website, post on your social networking sites, and invite participants to “share” the online auction. Once bidders arrive on your auction website, they can learn more about the benefiting cause, browse auction items, and easily create a user profile to securely bid online.
Auction Software For a Live Auction Event
If you’ve decided to host a live auction event, you’re still going to need some kind of database to collect information on auction attendees, and organize the information you’ve collected on each of the auction items. So, why not do all of this in an easy-to-use auction software program? When the time comes for your live auction event, you can simply print out your bidder reports and bid sheets or auction booklet.
When hosting a live auction, you’ll want to find ways to maximize your revenue. One way to do this is to offer “pre-auction bidding.” This is especially effective when offering high-dollar items such as a new car, a vacation get-away, etc. Pre-auction bidding allows you to publicize your auction items prior to the event, giving your donor network and community a chance to bid on items in advance and increase the opening bid. Another option with pre-auction bidding is to offer “buy-now” pricing, similar to Ebay. This gives people an incentive to act fast if they want a very desirable item. They don’t have to wait until the actual event to place a bid, but they can pay a pre-determined amount to be sure the item is theirs.
If your auction is a virtual event, the system allows the administrator to easily email winners with a link that allows them to complete the auction transaction and track final payments.
Auction Software is a great tool for simplifying check-out as the auction closes. With proper tools, administrators can easily search for auction items and bidders, and then create an order for the winning bidder which lists all of their auction items won. Payment can be made at this time with check or credit cards via online entry or credit card swiper. Receipts are auto-generated and can be printed on the spot for event attendees. At the end of the night, auction administrators can print a full report of winning bidders. This will include all final bids, order status, and tally of auction proceeds. Incomplete orders are marked for follow-up.
Whether your organization has decided to host an online auction, a live auction event, or add a charity auction as part of another fundraiser, by implementing auction software, you’ll reduce the amount of time and resources spent planning and managing your event. You’ll also increase the opportunities to raise more money. By extending the duration of your auction and reaching a much larger audience you’ll be able to attract more potential sponsors, donors and buyers. Check out these charity auction resources for more helpful guidelines and free templates to help you organize your fundraising auction. Good Luck!