Keep Guests Bidding and Updated with Text Messages

Online Bidding - Using Text Messaging

If you manage benefit auctions, finding the best way to communicate with bidders en masse at events is an important aspect of a successful event.

How do we let them know the silent auction’s about to close if they’re in the bathroom and can’t hear the emcee? And trying let guests that you’ve extended the silent auction, or corralling them into the ballroom for dinner is like herding cats!

Luckily, the arrival of text messaging with mobile bidding gives event directors a lot more control over what messaging bidders receive, how, and when. In some mobile bidding software (including Greater Giving Online Bidding), you can even decide which bidders will get which messages—that way unaffected bidders aren’t bombarded with texts that don’t concern them.

We recommend deciding in advance of the big night which text messages you want to send and when. Draft them ahead of time so your auction committee can all agree on the language, then keep the texts in a document on your main computer.

TIP: If you use Greater Giving’s Online Bidding, you can write text messages in the app in advance, save them, and send them out when the time is right. Create a schedule to have on hand listing which messages go out and when.

Before the Event

A quick text message is the perfect way to introduce guests to mobile bidding who haven’t used it before. They’ll arrive at your event already knowing how to ues the app and browsing items.

It’s a huge time saver at check-in when people are already on their phones bidding, and you’ll need fewer volunteers on hand to show guests the ropes.

Here are some text messages you might consider sending out before your event starts:

Text #1: Send a welcome text that includes a link to an informational page on your website about how to log into the bidding app, register a credit card (if applicable), browse for items and place bids. Include pictures on your page that show them what to do!

TIP: In Greater Giving’s Online Bidding, guests will be greeted with a quick, 3-step “how to bid” primer—that’s usually enough to get them started, and they learn the rest through the intuitive interface.

Text #2: If you want guests to start bidding before the event begins, send out a text message the day before—or the morning of—encouraging people to go and start bidding on auction items they love. It’s a great way to get everyone using the app in advance (so they can come prepared with questions), and it drives those final sale prices higher!

During the Event

Text messages are a great way to keep guests updated on the program as the night moves along. People aren’t always listening to the host—and texts aren’t as invasive to an ongoing conversation.

Try coupling your notification texts with a screen counting down to when the next event starts, so guests aren’t caught by surprise when time’s up.

Here are some texts we suggest queuing up to send during your event:

Text #3: Send a text when when the silent auction’s about to close, about five minutes out, so guests have plenty of time to place those final bids. Encourage them to set their max bids high, so they’ll be sure to win those hotly-contested items.

Text #4: When it’s almost time for dinner to start, text your guests that it’s time to find the ballroom and take their seats. If the silent auction’s still going, let them know they still have time to bid from their tables while they wait. This is a good time to bring up how they should locate their seats—are there greeters, or should they look for their table number?

Text #5: Warn your guests before the live auction starts, so they don’t miss it! This text message couples well with a leaderboard counting down to when the auctioneer brings out the first package.

Text #6: When your event’s winding down, let everyone know where to go to pick up their items. Help reduce confusion at check-out by outlining clearly in your text message how to pay if they haven’t, or where to pick up their receipt if they have. And let them know they can always check their winnings on their mobile devices using Online Bidding!

TIP: If you plan to mail guests their receipts, let them know in a text. Guests who don’t need to pick up an item can just leave without clogging up the checkout line. They’ll be glad you told them!

After the event

Even after we leave the venue for the night, there’s still so much work to be done! The day after your big auction’s a great opportunity to let guests know how much you appreciate them, and address any final items of business.

Text #7: Send a thank-you text as guests are heading home, or the next morning, and they’ll remember what a great time they had. Remind them to look for those receipts in the mail, and provide your office contact information in case they need to update their mailing address, or have other outstanding questions.

Remember to draft your texts before the big night, so you don’t make any typos or mistakes while you’re in a crunch. And you can always write one on the fly if you need!

Let us know in the comments what things you’ve texted out to guests that ended up being useful—or not so useful!

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