Merge the Old and New with Pen-and-Paper Auctions

The Therapeutic Riding Institute, the first equine-based therapy organization in the world, holds an auction every year to cover the costs of housing and caring for their therapy horses.


Check out the full Therapeutic Riding Institute client story for more details. While you’re there, check out our other client stories as well.

The TRI relies on a huge group of dedicated volunteers to help run the event—but lately, their guest list had grown to 250-300 guests, making it impossible to get everyone in and out of the event in a timely fashion. Attendees had to wait in line so long at check-in that they were growing impatient. At the end of the night, tired guests just wanted to take their items and leave, but found themselves waiting in line again at check-out.

They needed a way to speed things along. So like many other organizations, the TRI tried out Online Bidding.

But the audience for their annual event was accustomed to pen-and-paper auctions—not everyone is ready for a big technological leap. After one year, the organization realized there was really no reason to change a tried-and-true formula. They wanted to keep paper bidding, but still needed a solution that could move registration and check-out along quickly and get guests into the auction right away.

On top of their unique technology requirements, the TRI was working on a tight timeline when they found Greater Giving’s suite of products. Their staff and volunteers had less than a month to pick up and learn the product before the auction, so they needed something easy to understand, with thorough training available to peruse on their own time, and good support when they had questions.

With so little time, the TRI was careful to choose only the features they needed to fix their check-in and check-out challenges. They kept paper bidding and paired it with Greater Giving’s easy-to-use Go Time feature that came with the software package. Data entry was simple and self-explanatory, so the TRI’s volunteers could sit down and enter auction items whenever they had the time. The training for event night was quick and their team was ready to register guests in a matter of minutes.

On the big night, using Go Time worked perfectly. All guests got into the event without spending too long waiting in line. After the auction closed and paper bids were tallied, volunteers simply had to upload their spreadsheet of auction winners to the software, where it created detailed receipts for each guest with a list of all their purchases. Volunteers got all the items ready in advance so check-out was a breeze, and guests could grab their items and go before getting restless.

With Greater Giving moving things along, the TRI’s guests had a great event night experience, and the organization was able to raise more money than ever before. $10,000 more! To find out more and learn tips from TRI, read their full client story here.

One Response to “Merge the Old and New with Pen-and-Paper Auctions”

  1. Apps aren’t everything. Despite the plethora of to-do apps and note-taking apps available, pen and paper can still be a valuable productivity tool. In fact, paper note-taking and task management systems have been experiencing a revival in recent years, as we grapple with technology taking over our lives and try to avoid the distractions the internet offers. You don’t necessarily have to choose one approach or the other. Both apps and paper notebooks have particular advantages, and it’s possible to combine them into one awesome, productivity-producing system of your own.


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