Guide to Mobile Bidding

How Mobile Bidding Can Benefit your Non-Profit Charity Auction

From the Individuals at Charity Fundraising

Mobile technology has changed the face of communication, business and networking and the silent auction is no different.  Implementing mobile bidding into your silent auction can enhance the experience for your guests and most importantly drive up bids and increase profit for your cause.  With the widespread popularity and availability of smartphones, mobile bidding has made the traditional charity auction a completely fresh experience for guests.

The Benefits:

Mobile bidding allows your guests to browse, bid and monitor their charity auction item from any location.  Most notably, mobile bidding provides a key difference than traditional paper bidding. Notifications sent directly to the device allows the bidder to have up-to-the-minute bid updates and encourages further bidding without ever revisiting the bidding table.  This factor alone has impacted profit margins for charities by up to 20%.  Additionally, at some events, the number of bidders has increased because of the opportunity to bid from outside of the room.

Popular options like Bid Pal provide the user with their own electronic bidding device when they enter the event.  Other vendors like Gesture, create a listing of the charity auction items that are available for bidding right on your cell phone.  Utilizing companies like these have helped charities gain up to 100% more in donations than without using a mobile bidding application.

Sometimes it is difficult to justify the additional expense of mobile bidding at your non-profit event. Here are some additional benefits that mobile bidding provides to your charity auction event if increased revenue is not enough.

  • Mobile bidding reduces the number of people necessary to execute your event.
  • Mobile bidding apps organize the bids and provide reports to your staff and each guest, streamlining your bidding process. This means that your staff can stay focused on your guests instead of pencil and paper.
  • Many mobile bidding companies provide sponsorship and advertising opportunities for your event.  Guests will see a corporate logo or sponsorship note on the mobile bidding app.  Soliciting advertising and corporate underwriting prior to the event is a great way to cover your costs up front.
  • If guests do not have smart phones, a tablet or kiosk can be provided to help them assist with the mobile bidding process.

If your organization decides to utilize mobile bidding applications for your charity auction event, there are several ways to transition your guests into this new process and make a mobile auction fun and exciting.

  1. Volunteers are critical.  Be sure to have a volunteer staff that is familiar with the mobile bidding process and the application you are using.  They should be available and trained to answer any troubleshooting questions about bidding and the technology being used.
  2. Have a plan for those guests that do not have a smart phone.  Most mobile bidding companies offer handheld bidding devices, tablets or bidding kiosks for those guests that do not have a smartphone available.
  3. Be sure to promote your mobile bidding plan prior to the event.  This will allow supporters that may not be able to attend the actual event the opportunity to bid on your charity auction items and donate to your charity.

The Concerns:

With technology there are always glitches, always concerns and always the threat of something going wrong.  Here are some concerns to consider before you decide to incorporate mobile bidding into your upcoming charity auction.

Questions and Concerns for your Venue:

  • Though your main contact at the venue may be a catering director or event manager, it’s important to dig a little deeper.  Ask to chat with the audio video specialist at the facility.  They should know the facility and its technical abilities and be able to answer all of your concerns. Ask your Audio Visual contact:
    • To discuss the wireless service in the venue.  What are its limits?  Is it secure? Do guests need a password to log on? Does he/she feel it is sufficient for the number of mobile devices you are anticipating? Ask about cellular reception in all areas of the venue?  Are there drop zones?

Concerns for your Guests:

  • Be sure to alert your registered guests about mobile bidding before they arrive at the event. This will ensure fewer “surprises” and allow guests to bring along their smartphone and be prepared.
  • Be sure that your staff and your volunteers have had significant training regarding mobile bidding and the process so that as questions arise, your guests have help.
  • Be sure to have a backup plan for your guests that do not wish to use their smartphone due to personal preference or if they do not have a smartphone.  Mobile bidding agencies can often provide phones, tablets or kiosks to ensure that bidding opportunities are available to all guests.
  • Make a decision as to when bidding on items will open, close and if your charity auction items will be available to bidders outside of the event.  With mobile bidding technology, people that are unable to attend your event could have the opportunity to participate and contribute if you choose.

If you would like assistance from Charity Fundraising when planning your next live or silent auction, we’d love to help.  For more assistance in planning your upcoming charity auction, contact Charity Fundraising today.