Nowadays, there’s so much different fundraising software available for nonprofits to use. As a result, the question to ask yourself as an organization is: what exactly do you need? What software would benefit your nonprofit in the most impactful way?
If you’re running an auction as part of your fundraising efforts, one of the best answers is mobile bidding. Mobile bidding is a great method of receiving bids and maximizing your fundraising efforts in a way that’s extremely engaging for donors. Investing in the right fundraising software is key, and for auction-based events, mobile bidding provides a great solution.
What is mobile bidding?
Mobile bidding is a paperless bidding method that lets individuals bid directly from their mobile devices. The benefits? Your organization can receive more bids than it would have otherwise, and the software can simplify your event management process.
Before we dive into this, let’s define a few other auction-related terms:
- Bid: An auction guest’s offer of a price they will pay to purchase an item at the auction.
- Procurement: The action of obtaining an item for an auction.
- Live auction: A traditional auction that is done in front of a live audience.
- Online auction: An auction meant for online bidders that is not conducted in front of a live audience.
- Silent auction: A variation of a live auction where bids are traditionally written on a sheet of paper (though mobile bidding is now allowing these to go digital).
- Donation appeal: A direct ask for your supporters to donate funds for a specific need, project, or campaign with a defined dollar goal amount. Types of donation appeals include Make a Donation and Fund a Need, which can be supplemented by a game and raise thousands of dollars within minutes.
Now that you have a basic idea of the types of auctions available, let’s dive deeper into how mobile bidding can help boost your organization’s fundraising efforts. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The Basics
- The Benefits
- Mobile Bidding in Action
Are you ready to take a closer look at mobile bidding and its benefits? Let’s get started!
Mobile Bidding: The Basics
It’s important to understand the basics of mobile bidding prior to incorporating it into your fundraising strategy. Essentially, mobile bidding streamlines your fundraising event by providing an effective solution for not only bidding, but also registration, donations, checking out, and more.
With mobile bidding, you can make every part of your event process easier, including the:
- Pre-event. Sell event or raffle tickets as well as merchandise online, allow guests to register their credit card information prior to the event, and start online bidding.
- Registration. Provide your event staff with easy access to registrant information, as well as communicate table numbers and seating and obtain additional information as needed.
- The main event. Simplify the whole bidding process for guests and create new ways to keep them engaged right on their smartphones with gamification tools like scoreboards and countdowns.
- Check-out. Split guest bills into multiple payments and process payments onsite.
Ensuring your bidding process is easy and straightforward with mobile bidding software is a great way to focus on the donor experience. By making the process easier on your attendees, you’ll create long-term relationships with donors and raise even more revenue as you go.
Mobile Bidding: The Benefits
The biggest benefit of mobile bidding is that it increases the number of bids you receive during your auction event. Put simply, this drives more revenue for the event. It can also reduce the amount of stress your nonprofit endures during the planning process.
How does all of this happen?
There are plenty of additional benefits, too. Mobile bidding makes your entire process easier and helps increase revenue by:
- Widening your outreach. Even remote bidders and individuals not present at your event can have an impact. By participating on their mobile device, they can place their bids as though they were there. This increase in virtual attendance can increase your overall donation revenue.
- Streamlining your data. Let’s say you want to look at your top bidders from your event and cross-check this data with your annual fund or other campaigns. You should be able to take full advantage of this accurate source of data by using built-in data analytics tools, reports, and export capabilities.
- Making the planning process easy. With mobile bidding software, individuals can start placing bids a few days before the event, which is a great method of engagement and gets them ready to go once they arrive at the actual event. Digitizing registration also drastically simplifies logistics for your planning team.
You may notice that the same individuals contribute over and over again during your auction. You may notice that your bids increase dramatically due to remote attendance. Take advantage of mobile bidding during your auction and witness the impact it can have on your nonprofit’s goals.
Mobile Bidding in Action
In order to effectively incorporate mobile bidding into your auction, you should follow certain steps to maximize your fundraising potential. This starts with finding the perfect mobile bidding software and learning its features, as well as determining the type of auction you want to host and boosting engagement during the event.
Let’s take a closer look at each step.
1. Find the perfect mobile bidding software.
Finding the perfect mobile bidding software can seem daunting, but if you take advantage of the right resources and do your research, you can find the right solution.
Start by comparing different services, deciding what services you absolutely need and what you could do without. This will require a good look at your nonprofit and its mission and goals, and from there you should start finding some answers. Try this comparison guide to get your search started.
2. Determine what kind of auction you want to host.
Mobile bidding software is versatile and can benefit a variety of auctions types, such as:
- Silent auctions. Allow guests at your silent auction to place bids straight from their phones. Rather than placing bid sheets and pens on the table in front of your auction items, you can go digital and streamline the entire process.
- Online auctions. Allow guests to preview the auction items and get a jump start on bidding before the event even begins. You can also sell fixed-price items and sell unsold packages after the event. Online auctions can run for a longer time than a live auction, as well.
- Donation event. Enable guests to support your live appeals and Make a Donation events right from their phone. When the ask is made they can enter donations and watch your proceeds soar with this seamless giving experience.
- Live auctions. Instantly close out your guests, decreasing lines and keeping your guests happy. If donors can complete the check-in and check-out processes on their mobile devices, you’ll likely need less volunteers to assist with this and donors can enjoy more time at the event. Show your donors they matter by making their experience the best and most efficient it can be (and don’t forget to thank them!).
Decide what type of auction or event you want to host, and then track your donations, acknowledge your auction participants, and easily view your donor information and data so you can thank donors and keep accurate records of your revenue.
3. Familiarize your team with all the software’s features.
Familiarizing your team with the features of your mobile bidding software is essential to avoiding any hiccups during the event. Mobile bidding software has several functionalities that can streamline your event planning process, such as:
- Auction item procurement tools. Acquire and track your auction items in an efficient manner.
- Promotional tools. Successfully market and promote your auction to your supporters online and via social media.
- Bidder alerts. Prompt push notifications that can alert your bidders when bidding is about to close on an item they’re watching or they’ve been outbid, for example.
- Event registration tools. Help increase attendance and easily get all your guests checked in and out.
Mobile bidding can help your event run smoothly and efficiently. Give your guests (and remote participants!) a great experience and increase your auction revenue by taking advantage of all its uses.
4. Review techniques for boosting mobile bidding during the event.
You already know that mobile bidding can increase your revenue, but how can you maximize its impact? There are several techniques you can use to boost mobile bidding, and they can help to increase engagement and excitement for practically any auction event.
Try out some of these tactics:
- Procure interesting items. Though it may seem obvious, procuring interesting and valuable items is the most surefire way to increase bids. The wider your items range in value and type, the more invested your supporters will be. Check out this list of great charity auction item ideas to get you started.
- Tell stories. Rather than focusing on statistics during live announcements and appeals, tell your nonprofit’s story and who you’re aiming to help. Humans are naturally driven by stories and want to be invested in your cause, so give them a compelling reason to do so. Then, make it easier to take part in your auction by incorporating mobile bidding!
- Encourage friendly competition. Motivate your supporters to continue bidding with real-time status updates, such as current bids and donation progress, and be sure to consistently recognize your donors. Digital scoreboards are a great way to recognize top bidders and boost the event’s momentum at the same time.
Running charity auctions can seem like a lot to take on, but with the right tools and the right research, you can put on a great event, encourage donations from all over (including remotely), and maximize your donation revenue.
There are many ways an investment in mobile bidding software can benefit your nonprofit’s charity event. By finding the right software and studying up on ways to increase engagement, you can seriously boost your event’s revenue and make every bid count. Start exploring all the options available to your organization and you’ll be on your way to putting on a successful auction!
Guest author: Kelly Velasquez-Hague
Kelly Velasquez-Hague brings over 20 years of fundraising, nonprofit management, and sales/marketing experience to her role as the Director of Content Marketing for OneCause. As a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Kelly manages all of the company’s content strategy and execution. She is passionate about empowering great missions and loves that her current role allows her to continue to help nonprofits reach new donors raise more funds for their cause.