Top 10 Tips for Online Bidding Events

Auctions using online bidding technology for mobile bidding events and/or online auctions typically generate more revenue—nonprofits have reported an increase of up to 30%.

Providing guests with the ability to bid via mobile devices will open your auction up to many benefits that will help increase the amount you can raise at your event (or anywhere your donors are).

From real-time bidding to removing any social awkwardness from writing down a bid in front of others, online bidding can have a significant impact on the quality of donor experience you provide.

Have you already hosted an event that included bidding from mobile devices? Or are you considering online bidding for your next event?

Either way, keep these ten tips in mind as you plan, and give your guests and staff the best experience possible!

  1. Stay Connected
    • Choose a venue with a reliable Wi-Fi connection, such as a hotel, country club, or convention center.
    • If your venue doesn’t provide internet access or the signal is weak, consider these options.
    • The majority of donors are comfortable using their own data plans to access online bidding. Check that your venue has 3G and/or 4G coverage.
    • Establish a back-up strategy for guests who don’t have a device. Consider placing laptops or tablet computers at stations, or equip volunteers roaming the silent auction and ballrooms with a mobile device or tablet computer.
  2. Choose Venue Wisely
    • Make sure the venue space is compatible with mobile bidding. Negotiate the terms of use of the Wi-Fi connection with the venue up front, and save money.
  3. Less is More
    • Sometimes having lots of items in the room can overwhelm attendees. Pick and choose which items you’ll showcase—for example, having fewer, higher-quality items will save space and focus the attention of your bidders.
    • Consider opening the bidding for items like gift cards online, so your event centers on more unique, exciting bid opportunities.
    • Make item pick-up simpler and faster with less items to manage.
  4. Pre-register Guests
    • Registering guests in advance of the event can reduce, and even eliminate, long lines at registration.
    • Give guests that are purchasing tickets through your Greater Giving website the option to save their credit card information for use at the event.
  5. One Bid Learning Curve
    • No one is too old to learn how to use mobile bidding technology. Use “bid assistants” to teach guests of all ages how to bid.
    • Have at least 5 volunteers equipped with tablet computers walking around to help people learn to use mobile bidding technology.
  6. Pre-Event Promotion
    • Organize your email campaign far in advance.
    • Tell everyone that your event will feature online bidding. Prepare your attendees for using their own devices at the event and your guests will walk in the door, ready to bid.
    • Online bidding is new and exciting—promote it!
  7. Before, During, and After the Auction
    • Integrate your online auction, silent auction, and live auction so bidders everywhere and anywhere can participate.
    • Consider using bid extensions for bidders who are battling over a prized auction item. Usually extensions only last five minutes, yet really get the crowd going!
  8. More is More
    • What if you could expand your reach beyond your local supporters? The more people bid on your items, the higher the price will go.
    • Some items are prime for online bidding. Consider putting up items for auction that will sell well in other parts of the country, such as lunch with a local celebrity.
  9. The Perils of Wine
    • Wine spills. Accidents happen. Don’t let it get you down! Bid corrections are easy to make with online bidding.
  10.  Be Loud
    • Use a loudspeaker to promote the auction and update guests on upcoming closings.
    • If you have access to actors, local talents, or your auctioneer, put them up to the microphone!

Online bidding can be a major improvement for fundraising and donor experience, which takes preparation to execute with success. Use these tips and adopt this technology with confidence, and show your Board and supporters that your organization is hip and serious about fundraising.

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