Get a Grip on Mobile Bidding (Video and Transcript)

#profundraisingtips | Renee Jones | Get a Grip on Mobile Bidding

Are you a little anxious about adding mobile bidding to your fundraising event?

Worried your guests won’t like it? Confused by all the options out there? Listen in as our partner Renee Jones helps you make sense of how mobile bidding can help you and when to use it (or not).

This session was originally presented by Renee Jones of National Fundraising Solutions at the 2017 NAA International Conference.

Watch the Video on YouTube

Or Facebook

Written Transcription

Renee Jones National Fundraising Solutions is here, she is going to be giving you some great tips on mobile bidding. So, if that’s something you’ve been looking into and you want more details, this is a great area to come into. Renee Jones, is a 33 year veteran of the Auction business and she’s also been an instructor for many different areas. She’s in industrial, she’s in benefits, she does everything you can imagine and more.

So, lets all welcome Miss Renee Jones.

Well, first and foremost to everybody here … Trent how could you be so much louder than me? And Facebook Live, greetings from Columbus Ohio right here at the NAA International Conference and Show. We are in the trade show booth and the next 10 minutes is about technology and mobile bidding in particular. And utilizing it in your non-profit events.

So, what’s really important about this conversation today is that many of us have a bit of anxiety when it comes to technology. So, for those of you that are on the web, or seeing this later on today, feel free to reach out to Debby Roth, of course, or any of the Greater Giving Team.

One of the things that started many years ago. I’ve been doing non-profit fundraising for three decades. With the introduction of technology and my relationship with Greater Giving in particular, is that I was seeking … It took almost eight years to make a decision of what product I would endorse to my clients. Because I needed to trust it and be comfortable with it. Because I’m not overly tech savvy. Shannon thinks I’m a geek, but I’m not.

So, with that and the mobile bidding technology what I discovered is, it was educating my audience; educating my clients; and showing them the difference that it would bring to us with regards to revenue. One of the things that we’re seeing as professional benefit auctioneers is there is another apprehension. How do we get over this hurdle to accept technology into our events? A lot of that, there’s three points that I want to cover in the next 10 minutes, and I’m very fortunate that Greater Giving and I are going to be working on a Webinar and I invite you … My email is I’ll give everybody on site a business card.

But, the idea is that we want to educate our professional benefit auctioneers to get into this process earlier. Being more of a consultant and an advocate to our non-profits to where they’re purchasing or they’re leasing these products that are incredible tools to add to their event. But they don’t understand the capacity. As auctioneers, we don’t understand the capacity. Many times we come in, we’re bid calling the event or maybe we’re putting a live auction order or we’re applying a social map to their ask. But, we’re not integrating the technology in our head. How do we make ourselves better using it? And that’s what’s really important.

So, with mobile bidding technology, and I’ll talk in particular about Greater Giving, is that the first thing that you should do is go their website. Look at their training, and not so much about mobile bidding, but understanding start to finish what a client, whether it’s a new client to the software or an established client to their software, what’s the process. How do they register a guest, how do they track their guest? How do we understand tables? Because when we know the backroom operation of that software and what our client is doing, then we’re better advocates to them when we’re in our meetings to handle our one small piece of the pie.

So, with that when you’re looking at it so many people go, “Oh, my gosh. The live auctioneer, we’ve gotta have bid cards. We gotta have this, we gotta have that.” Many times we do not have the luxury of having that at larger events, or what I would consider a transient event. Maybe not everybody is in attendance. Maybe they’re supporting the non-profit through an online donation. How do they do that? How do we raise that challenge to those that are supporting the organization but not maybe at the event. So, it’s about having that mobile bidding technology, being able to distribute text messages out to them during the gala. Whether they’re onsite or not, it’s time to donate.

We’re responsible for being the ringmaster and creating this environment of competitive giving. How do we use this tool that’s in our hand? So, if you have a smaller event the idea is that it can be more of a challenge. So, the idea is that there’s a thermometer, or we’ve got someone up there with a … You know, you could use the technology or you can have a kid up there, or volunteer, that’s filling in the tennis racket ’cause we’re building new whatevers. I’ve utilized the mobile bidding technology for everything that you could imagine. From building shelters, to classrooms, to new bathrooms at a private school that they couldn’t get funded. That personally utilizing the Greater Giving, that was fun. It’s like, let’s buy a sink and we show the sink. It was just good.

You give people a visual. One of the things that I think is very important about the mobile bidding technology for a particular to ask is giving them a visual. Something that they can see in advance of the event. That goes back again to your pre-event consulting. How do I get my client to use this tool to enhance my performance on the stage? It’s about education. Regretfully, in a program we don’t have a lot of stage time. We have to be up there and gone so quickly to where they can have fun at their fundraiser. So, with that you want good pictures, good descriptions, very simple information to where people can look at review the ask prior to their arrival.

Another thing that you’ll see in utilizing mobile bidding technology for this is that it allows couples, and companies, to come together and discuss what they are gonna donate. We’ve learned through mobile bidding technology and tracking it over the last five years with the Greater Giving software is that we’re now getting 30% more. So, where someone may have historically donated $500 they’re now donating 1,000, or 1,500. Sometimes they’re even asking to be a sponsor of the technology because they see the power of what’s happening revenue wise for the organization. You know, how is that possible? It’s because we’re educating and training our bidders in advance of the event to be advocates. It’s not so much about making this momentary donation.

Another thing that’s really fun that we are working with on mobile bidding technology and working to enhance it is more about sustained giving. We’re all familiar with PBS and every time you want to see a great bill, like Dole Concert in Russia, every 20 minutes they come on and they go, “We need you.” So, mobile bidding technology also lets us do that, because we can make multiple asks. We can ask prior to the event, “Please look at what we’re going to be offering in our map.” In our fundraising ask part of our program. We call it Paddles Up.

We need to move away from that because there’s gonna be events where there’ll be no paddles. I’m doing it more and more, and why? Because it’s cumbersome. We don’t have staff and volunteers that can man those check-in areas. But if we have it on the phone and it’s easy to do. You know, one of the arguments and push back that I get sometimes is, “Our audience can’t handle it. They’re too old.” I go, “No.” See, they find it fun. Millennials are not impressed with it, they’ve grown up with the technology. So we have to, again, it’s about education and showing them the tools of their donation.

So, the takeaways that I’d like for you to have today, one is getting over the anxiety. It’s not evil. I will look into Facebook live and say, “Technology is not evil.” When you have a client that says, “Uh, funded need. We’re gonna do it on the phone.” You say, “Okay. Well, let’s talk about how to make it the most successful it can be.” Because the first thing most of us say is, “Oh, my God why am … You hired me? Me, me, me. I’m the expert. I’m the awesome person. Let me do it.” Okay. But let’s be the awesome ringmaster of the competitive giving utilizing this tool. Because we need to keep in mind, what? They have a shortage of staff, they have a shortage of volunteers. They may not have a scribe or someone to clerk it for us. And, we all know from the team of people with clipboards they miss it. How many times …

Now, first of all, even if you are using mobile bidding technology or not keep in mind to always turn your recorder on your phone. Listen to what you’re doing in your ask and your appeal because as you go back and you’re using mobile bidding technology for your ask your words are very important. Your pitch is very important. Practicing it is very important. But, old-school wise with the bidder paddle even if we have somebody that’s entering it into the technology, and we still have the ask on the phone for them to do later in the evening. You didn’t win a live auction item, you didn’t win a silent item. Maybe you weren’t prepared to donate earlier. The mobile bidding technology gets us the opportunity to ask when we’re no longer on the stage.

So, what’s really good about that is when you have a client that says, “Oh, I don’t want you to send that text. Maybe you shouldn’t.” You should always suggest it because you could track it in the software to see when the donations come in. So, what’s always fascinating to me is you’ll see people donate prior to the event. That’s something we’ve never been able to do from the stage, and now we can do it with technology. All we care about as professional benefit auctioneers is the end number. The revenue that we’ve been able to achieve. Whether that was through their phone prior to arrival, it was during our actual live asking on stage, or with a followup text later. We’re getting three opportunities minimum to ask for money where before we’ve only had one. So many times you know this during the program. When you’re getting ready to do the ask, it never fails there’s a break in the program and everyone jumps up and leaves for the bathroom, or the bar, or whatever.

So, again, with technology overcome the anxiety by utilizing the tools on the Greater Giving website. Go to\training, very important. Just do the overview. There’s one video that is three minutes long that will take you through … As you can see on this, this is Go Time on this screen here. So, with that it will take you through what an experience is for someone to check in or check out a person. Three minutes, that’s your investment. Understanding what it feels like for someone to be behind the counter trying to process 200, 300, 600, 1,000 plus guests.

The other video is 18 minutes long, but literally will show you start to finish. What’s good about that is when you’re in your meeting and your talking to your client, or your pitching to win their bid, I guarantee you, you’ll be the only auctioneer that’s done it. Because they usually come in with the negatives. “Oh, you don’t want to do that.” Whoa, whoa, whoa. If you remember there’s a vendor that just told them it’s the latest and the greatest. What you want to say is, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is exciting. This is a good change. But we’ve got to be prepared to do it right.”

So, with that, they’re like, “Whoa, you’re open.” Okay, if there’s three other auctioneers that are bidding for this deal, I guarantee you the other two have said, “No, no, no. You can’t do that.” Well, remember there’s a huge financial investment. Now, if Greater Giving is our most affordable solution for our non-profits we know that. Because, also you have to remember it allows them to track statistics throughout the year. We have other vendors that are just in that moment, that day. Very difficult to export it into Adobe Perfect, Razor’s Edge, Blackbot. You know, you want something that’s an integrated tool that will help them year round. Because when they bring you back the next year you want to ask for those statistics. It’s very important, ask for them because you really want to ask for them post event. Because the idea is that it empowers you to have a better conversation with your next client that’s going to use this.

So, number one overcome the anxiety. Technology is not evil. Two, you want to promote yourself as an advocate to your non-profit, and being able to discuss the other elements of their event. That boils down to timeline, when you’re gonna do the ask. Who’s gonna be speaking before you? All these different things. Meeting the afternoon with the AV team because if they want that thermometer up on the stage that correlates to the phones, we need to know that we have a wifi connection that doesn’t do the delay. Because the worst thing that can be is to be a professional benefit on a stage and say, “Ladies and Gentlemen who’s gonna kick me off at $5,000.” And you know there’s probably three or four people that have already warned members that have made pre-commitments. Nothing moves. People are like, what’s happening? All of a sudden, then they kind of start trickling in. It’s not the software, it’s your connection.

So, there’s these little things that you can tweak with your client in advance to ensure our success as professional benefit auctioneers to where there’s not that lag. So, you know, as that’s running, you know, then you get to see where we’re .. Oh, there I am. Is that you see where we’re at money wise in what we’re doing. It’s empowering, but at the same time very scary. Because what if the pre-marketing of the organization has not been aggressive.

So, again, as an auctioneer it’s about talking to your client and saying, “It’s great. But we gotta make sure that it fits the audience.” There’s different ways to be modified about it. The idea is that you can share the information on the phone. And say you can bid through your phone, if you want to be anonymous. But we’re still gonna do paddles. But with paddles I always say, have one person from your team that’s a professional clerk, scribe, whatever we want to call them, tick writer and having them there. Because they know to keep their head down, they’re not amazed by what’s going on. And you can actually have a second person entering directly into the Greater Giving software that the thermometer is ticking. But, you’ve got the excitement of the cards, you’ve got entry on the phone and it’s really moving through it.

But, I mean, I know that today I’m already over, so my apologies for hanging you up. But, we will be conducting a longer … I actually have an outline that I can share with you. Also, already a recording I can share with you just about best practices associated with this. Little bit more in-depth. This is more of an appetizer with regards to technology and mobile bidding at auctions. But, I think that overall there’s going to be a group of us that make the investment in understanding the software; understanding the technology that’s gonna put us in a level up and above our competitors. Because our non-profit clients, they have one, two, maybe three events a year. Different demographics for each. Sometimes this will fit one way. 100% phones, that’s it. Another way it may be phones, anonymous bidding, auctioneer, and bid cards. Another may be that it’s a golf tournament and we don’t even see them till dinner time, but we have a $50,000 goal for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

I mean, there’s so many ways to utilize it and that’s the thing, it’s not a cookie cutter for all events. It’s not in how we do it as professionals. But having it in our toolbox and being able to have an intelligent conversation about technology it just makes our lives so much easier when we do hit the stage.

So, does anybody have any questions?

But I know that we’ll get the link out. I know Debby and I are gonna work on conducting the Webinar. We’re gonna actually go through the steps to where you can see how it’s inputted. How it’s generated, and the ease of use. Then also to be able to give you some talking points from the stage to where you can personalize your pitch. That’s what’s most important, is how I motivate an audience to give through the phone is gonna be very different than what Rusty does. Or very different than what Darren does. So, the idea with that is you want to create a basic outline, but then allow you to add your professional touch to be able to do that.

So, I know it’s 12:15. Lynne Zink to the Facebook Live will be here at 12:30 to visit. Lynne, what’s your topic today?

Lynne Zink: Revamping revenue boosters.

Renee Jones: Revamping revenue boosters. So, it’s no longer about heads and tails people, I’m just saying. I’m just saying.

So, again, is my email. Debby Roth will reach out to all of you that are here on site, and online. We will get you the links to the training. But again, So, thank you. Take care.

Share your thoughts