Whether you are supporting a cause at a benefit, gala, golf outing or community event, nothing says ‘show me the money’ like a good ol’ silent auction. Many fundraising organizations choose to hold a silent auction because they understand its potential to bring in money, or because it is simple to put together and execute. Either way, they are right, silent auctions are great but what exactly are Silent Auctions.
What are Silent Auctions?
Silent Auctions are easy to understand and for as long as silent auctions have been around, the format has remained relatively the same. Donated items are put on display, people place a bid by marking on a bid sheet (a simple piece of paper with lines on it). As long as the event is still open and the bid sheet is in front of the item, anyone with a pen can place a bid as long as it is higher than the one before. Then, at the end of the night, the person with the highest bid takes home the item. Although this method does work, people have come to expect more from their experiences —especially in a technologically savvy world.
What is Mobile Bidding?
Before we go ahead and tell you the ten reasons why you should get rid of the bid sheet, you ought to have a basic understanding of what is mobile bidding when it comes to Silent Auctions. Just as grocery shopping, clothes shopping, and even dating have moved to the cyber world, so has the world of philanthropic giving. In fact, in the year 2017, over $30 billion were donated to non-profit organizations through online giving on websites and social media platforms. And, that $30 billion is nearly double of what it was in 2012.
Looking at the growth in online donations and the rise of philanthropic giving through social media spurred inspiration in many fundraisers and encouraged them to put a new twist on their traditional methods of fundraising. Through this inspiration, online platforms for auctions and raffles were born. Mobile bidding offers a way for people to engage in a silent auction through their mobile device. Banking information can be easily and securely stored, and interaction with other bidders through the app or social media is highly encouraged. More than anything mobile bidding creates a whole new experience that users love and it makes it incredibly easy for an organization to raise funds.
So, before you start your next silent auction check out these 10 reasons to ditch the bid sheet and go mobile.
1. Mobile Bidding Encourages Interaction
One of the biggest limitations to a traditional silent auction is that it doesn’t allow for a lot of interaction between event attendees. As people walk throughout the room they look at bid sheets and write down their bids, many times without saying anything to the person sitting next to them or standing in line behind them. With mobile bidding, although people do not necessarily engage in person, they are encouraged to interact by sharing that they bid on social media or exchange friendly banter with the person they are bidding against. For organizations that want people to feel “connected” mobile bidding is a great way to break the ice!
2. Mobile Bidding Makes it Easier to Pay
When it comes to Mobile Bidding, one of the biggest advantages it has over traditional bidding is the ease of payment. At the end of a silent auction, there is nothing worse than having to manage the long line of people waiting to pay for their items. Not only are they anxious to get on their way, but you are too! With mobile bidding, this problem is eliminated. The app can easily, and securely store banking or credit card information allowing for winning bidders to pay for their items with one touch of a button, or even automatically when they win.
3. Mobile Bidding Improves Revenue
At a traditional silent auction, attendees are limited by the amount of cash they are carrying or if whether or not they remembered to bring along the checkbook. Because the auction apps store payment data from chosen credit cards or banking accounts, you don’t have to worry about cash limitations. In turn, the ability for a person to pay from a credit card or debit card enables the organization to make more money.
4. Mobile Bidding Eliminates Long Lines
In the current culture of instant gratification, it’s easy for someone to give up on making a bid when the line they have to wait in is long or not moving fast enough. Waiting in line gives people the opportunity to second guess the amount of money they are willing to spend, or if they even want to spend any money at all. When you implement mobile bidding, waiting is eliminated along with many opportunities for your bidders to second guess themselves and this is one of the biggest benefits of Mobile Bidding.
5. Mobile Bidding Eliminates Confusion
Big events can often cause big confusion. Between the large crowds of people, noise, and multiple auctions going-on all at one time, it’s no wonder that people get lost or frustrated trying to bid at a silent auction. Mobile bidding is wonderful because it gets rid of many confusions. Auctions have a hard start and end time, and you can always tell when an item is open for bid. Less confusion means happier event attendees, which in the end means happier fundraisers!
6. Mobile Bidding Offers a Bigger Audience
In a traditional silent auction only the audience that is inside the room at the time of the auction can bid. This can often really limit your audience, especially if you have items to be auctioned that appeal to a larger crowd. Choosing mobile bidding allows anyone who knows about your event and is interested in an item to log on and bid. This means that you could be having an auction in California, but have friends in Florida who are bidding. Just think of the potential!
7. Mobile Bidding Allows for a Longer Timeframe
Just like a traditional silent auction limits you to the people inside of the room, it also limits you to the timeframe for which you have the building. If you are having an event on a holiday weekend or any weekend for that matter, there are always going to be people who want to be there but can’t. Or, there will be people who want to come but end up forgetting! With mobile bidding, you can keep your event open past the time that you have the physical location to create the opportunity for more people to bid and to hopefully make more money.
8. Mobile Bidding Eliminates Overhead Costs
If you are an organization that has a very small physical location, or no physical location at all, the cost of renting a space for a large event can be tough to swallow. And, many times the cost of renting the building needs to be covered by the funds you are making from the event itself (including the silent auction). Not only does this reduce the amount of money that you end up raising for your cause, but is also rather discouraging. However, with mobile bidding, you don’t even need a physical location at all! This allows for organizations to give more money to the cause they care about than to running the event! A win for both the donor and the organization.
9. Mobile Bidding Promotes Organizational Awareness
On location, events allow for the local promotion of an organization. However, with mobile bidding, sky’s the limit. Wherever your donors have friends, or however far their social media networks go, your cause’s message can go too. Mobile bidding encourages social sharing and engagement, which helps to spread your message far & wide and will hopefully help to gain some new donors as well!
10. Mobile Bidding is FUN
Most people engage in a silent auction because they care about a cause and have fun getting back something in return for their giving. However, for many people, the traditional methods of bidding at a silent auction get boring. So, through mobile interactions, engagement, and the opportunity to make some crazy bids and decisions, your supporters will be able to have fun and enjoy themselves as a result of your silent auction.
If you are looking for a new way to engage your philanthropic partners, then checking out mobile bidding is a great place to start. It can solve all of the aforementioned problems for your organization by really focusing in on hot-button topics such as engagement, donation amounts, and cause awareness. Through these three avenues with mobile bidding, you are sure to be excited about the results you will experience.
So, once you have made the decision to take a leap for the good of your organization and go with mobile bidding, read this next section for instructions on how to set it up and get your best start!