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How Does Mobile Bidding Work? Mobile Auction Basics

Step into the 21st century and learn about how mobile bidding auction software works for event planners and for event goers. Mobile bidding makes auctioning events go a whole lot smoother, without all the manual processes and opportunities for human error. See why more are making the switch!
White man with light blue button up and flannel pajamas sits on his couch with his laptop open. The scene depicted here references the ability to participate in live auctions remotely with mobile bidding, without leaving the comfort of your own home!
Step into the 21st century and learn about how mobile bidding auction software works for event planners and for event goers. Mobile bidding makes auctioning events go a whole lot smoother, without all the manual processes and opportunities for human error. See why more are making the switch!

Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a moment. Remember when we used to have to physically attend auctions, raise our paddles, and eagerly bid on items? Talk about ancient history! Fast forward to today, where mobile auctions have revolutionized the bidding process, making the excitement of bidding and winning accessible with just a few taps on a screen. The convenience and reach of mobile auctions have transformed the way we participate in bidding, making it more efficient and engaging than ever before. As technology advances and event goers seek convenience, mobile bidding continues to rise in popularity.

What is mobile bidding? 

Mobile bidding involves using your trusty smartphone or tablet to bid on auction items instead of raising a paddle or writing down bids on paper bid sheets. 

Mobile bidding goes beyond the old-school paddle bidding experience to create a personal auction house right at your fingertips. You can easily scroll through live auction items, get more information about what’s included, see real-time updates, and quickly outbid your new bidding nemesis. It’s almost too easy!

Black man with light blue button-up shirt sits at his home office desk with his laptop open. He’s holding and looking at his phone, really excitedly. His fist is clenched with joy, almost as if he’s won an item that he bid on using a mobile bidding application!

Gone are the days of tedious bidding processes. Mobile bidding makes it so convenient and easy to participate in an auction - just a few taps and swipes, and voila! You're competing for that signed baseball hat you always wanted. And don't even get us started on the added bonus of being able to browse through all those tantalizing auction items without having to leave your couch. But hey, if you're feeling extra nostalgic for those old-school auction vibes, just tap that bid button with some extra oomph – it's almost like raising your paddle but way cooler. Trust us, once you go mobile bidding, there's no going back. 

How Mobile Bidding Works for Event Hosts

How does this exciting new auction experience work? Let’s dive into the process for both auction organizers and guests, starting with the hosts. For those hosting auctions, mobile bidding works by following these steps:

1. Decide which mobile bidding software to use

As a team of nonprofit leaders who have hosted countless live auctions, we can tell you that mobile bidding is a game changer. But before you start planning, your fundraising event team should decide on the mobile bidding software you want to use. Explore your options and look for essential features like:

  • An intuitive mobile bidding app
  • Secure payment processing
  • Outbid push notifications
  • In-app livestream capabilities
  • Gamification features like leaderboards

While there are many great tools out there, not all are created equally, and not all will accommodate your team’s needs. Take some careful thought and attention to the selection process, trust us, it’ll pay off in the long run. 

2. Consider personalized, human coaching

Nothing beats the knowledge of a real-life human! If you’ve never hosted an auction with mobile bidding, you might want to consider seeking out live auction event coaching – some mobile bidding software packages actually include this! 

Black woman with short hair, turquoise glasses, and a white suit sitting at a desk with her laptop open, looking like she’s explaining something. A woman with brunette hair and a creme long sleeve is facing her. This scene insinuates a scenario in which the brunette woman is receiving one-on-one live-auction event coaching.

While you are in the planning stages, having an expert in your corner can help prevent rookie mistakes and speed things along. If your coaches are part of a mobile bidding software package, they will also have great insight into how to effectively use the software for your needs. They might even be able to connect you to relevant sponsors or others in their network to improve your event even further. 

3. Implement the software for your organization

If you decide to opt for coaching, they will be able to help you figure out how to implement your mobile bidding software to best fit the needs of your event. You can also do this on your own, depending on your team’s technical knowledge and previous experience with applications. 

Image of diverse group of coworkers all hands-in in a team huddle. This image insinuates that live auction event planning teams should be in sync and collaborating effectively for successful mobile bidding events.

The key is to make sure that everyone involved in your auction understands how the software works and has access to it. This may involve: 

  • Setting up accounts
  • Creating user permissions
  • Providing training for staff and volunteers on how to use the software
  • Creating a plan to troubleshoot any issues

In case any technical issues come up during the event, plan to have technical support available or designate someone on your team as the go-to person for any software-related questions.

Once the software is successfully implemented, you can start using it for various aspects of your event planning process. This includes creating online bidding pages, managing registrations and ticket sales, hosting the auction, and tracking donations and sponsorships​​. 

4. Determine your fundraising methods

Mobile bidding applications offer different features for collecting fundraising revenue. Of course, there’s the standard mobile bidding which turns the old paddle-board method into a hybrid silent auction experience. However, it’s the future and there are a million and one other ways to collect funds.

For instance, the Handbid app includes the following features and more:

Screenshot of Handbid’s mobile bidding software package, including: low credit card processing fee (3.5% +0.30), unlimited items, third party integrations with leading CRMs, sales, games, & drawings, ticketing, sponsorship, & registration, custom themes, no performance fees, virtual auctions, donations & paddle raises, Text2Give, Best in class software support, Reporting & goal tracking, no ticket transaction fees, easy-to-use mobile bidding app, in-person auctions, peer-to-peer fundraising, mobile auction management, best in class event support, all handbid features all the time, standard streaming using YouTube, Facebook, & Vimeo, hybrid auctions, mobile bidding, fundraising pages.
Handbid mobile bidding software includes all the features listed here, and more!
  • Text2Give
  • Buy-It-Now
  • Fundraising pages
  • Online long-term silent auctions
  • In-person live auctions
  • Virtual silent auctions
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Livestreaming
  • Aircodes

Choose which methods you’ll use for your upcoming auction and make sure your mobile bidding software has the functionality to support them. For example, you might decide to host a hybrid silent auction with both online and in-person components, text-to-give options, and a livestream.

5. Source and train volunteers

Once your team is trained and feels comfortable operating mobile bidding software, we recommend incorporating some high-level training for the event volunteers. Make sure everyone who is representing your organization at this event can be helpful to your guests. 

Four diverse people wearing blue shirts that say VOLUNTEER in white. They are all smiling as they huddle and look down at the camera. This scene insinuates happy, trained volunteers working in synergy to provide support for a successful mobile bidding auction.

This includes training them on how to use the mobile bidding software, as well as educating them on the event itself and its goals. This will ensure that they are able to answer any questions from guests or assist with troubleshooting any technical issues that may arise.

It's important to also make sure your volunteers feel appreciated and valued for their time and efforts. This can be done by providing them with swag bags or thank-you gifts, having a designated volunteer break area with refreshments, and publicly recognizing their contributions during the event.

6. Promote your event

The words “Event Marketing” are shown in green and yellow text, respectively, against a dark pink background. In the foreground are various colors of paperclips and a torn pink paper.

For your event to achieve success, effective promotion plays a vital role. Utilize various marketing channels such as social media, email campaigns, and collaborations with influencers to reach a wider audience. Engage with your target attendees by highlighting unique selling points and creating buzz around the event to ensure its impact is maximized.

Often, mobile auctioning software comes equipped with built-in workflows designed to efficiently handle notifications. By exploring the features of your mobile bidding software package, you can uncover valuable tools to enhance event promotion. Take advantage of these functionalities to streamline communication with participants and maximize the success of your auction event.

7. Pay attention to feedback

When the day of the event comes, we don’t necessarily suggest implementing a survey on the software – I mean how many times do you gloss over these kinds of prompts? 

Instead, we recommend training your team to keep their ears and eyes open. Are people impressed with the application? Do you notice time saved during registration and check-out? Do you see people struggling to figure out certain parts of the app? Is your team feeling less stressed than previous events? 

Group of diverse people giving a thumbs up – suggesting people might be happy with the implementation of mobile bidding software at an auctioning event.

Additionally, be sure to monitor social media during and after the event. Attendees may share their thoughts and experiences on their personal pages or in event groups. Take note of both positive and negative feedback, as it can provide valuable insight for future events. It can help you identify areas of improvement and make necessary changes for a smoother event experience.

8. Report on event data

As an event host, the success of a live auction is crucial to not only the overall fundraising efforts but also to the overall experience of attendees. With mobile bidding software, reporting on this success has never been easier, although do be sure to double-check that the software you choose has this capability. 

Illustration of 4 people holding up an upward arrow, suggesting metrics are going up - including live auction event metrics, such as donations!

Through comprehensive fundraising and user metrics, you can easily track the engagement and contributions of individual bidders, allowing you to identify your top donors and strategize for future events. Additionally, transaction and revenue reports provide a clear breakdown of funds raised and help to keep your financial goals on track. Let's not forget about real-time performance monitoring - because we know how nerve-wracking hosting an event can be! 

But it's not just about the numbers - with simple automated goal setting and tracking features, you can easily monitor progress towards specific targets and adjust your strategies accordingly. You also might want to consider software with data export capabilities, so you can seamlessly transfer important information to CSV files or your CRM application for further analysis. 

When ticketing, registration, bidder, and items are all in one mobile bidding tool, reports can be at your fingertips, giving you all the necessary tools to plan and execute a successful event. When you pick the right tool, reporting on the success of an auction using mobile bidding software can be a breeze - making you look like a true fundraising superstar. 

How Mobile Bidding Works for Event Guests

User-friendly mobile bidding software makes it simple for guests to participate in live and silent auction events. Once they have downloaded the app, the goal is for guests to easily browse and bid on items, track their bids, and watch items of interest. 

1. Easy event check-in and registration

Some apps have registration integrated into the mobile bidding tool, so guests can quickly register for the event by entering their contact and payment information directly into the app. This eliminates long lines and paper forms, making the check-in process smooth and efficient.

Several people standing in line. With mobile auction software, this whole waiting in line experience can be completely eliminated!

2. Remote participation

For bidders who are unable to attend in person, some mobile bidding apps still allow them to participate remotely through mobile bidding. They can stay connected to the live auction and continue participating in real-time from anywhere with an internet connection. To participate from anywhere, they simply have to:

  1. Check in to the event and access the mobile bidding app.
  2. Browse your organization’s catalog of auction items.
  3. Easily place bids on items directly in the app.
  4. Receive a notification when they’ve been outbid, prompting them to increase their bid if they want to win the item.
  5. Make payments within the app for the items they won when the event ends.
White man with light blue button up and flannel pajamas sits on his couch with his laptop open. The scene depicted here references the ability to participate in live auctions remotely with mobile bidding, without leaving the comfort of your own home!

3. Automated Bidding

Bidders can also set up automated bidding, so they don't miss out on any desired items. These can come in the form of push notifications, so guests will be instantly alerted if they have been outbid or if an item that they have bid on is about to close. This creates a sense of urgency and encourages competitive bidding among guests.

Alt Image Text: Image of a microphone and gravel on green table, representing the live auction experience in which people’s bets can be solidified after competitive mobile bidding.

Some mobile bidding apps allow guests to set a maximum bid and the software will automatically place bids on their behalf, keeping them in the running for the item without having to constantly monitor it.

4. Secure Payment

Another benefit of using this software is its secure payment system. Guests' personal and financial information is protected through encryption technology, ensuring a safe and trustworthy platform for making donations and purchases.

Icon of yellow credit card with green check, signifying secure payments that may be collected during mobile bidding events.

Ultimately, a user-friendly and comprehensive software solution plays a pivotal role in simplifying the fundraising experience for both guests and event organizers alike. With mobile bidding, your guests can bid straight from their devices without ever leaving their seats. And as the bids start rolling in, you'll feel like a true tech-savvy guru leading the way to fundraising success! Plus, with images of all the items up for grabs being displayed on screens around the room, your guests will have no choice but to get caught up in the excitement. Trust us, this is one trend that's worth jumping on board with.

As we’ve mentioned, there are a bunch of different mobile bidding tools out there, but let's be real - Handbid is the cream of the crop. I mean, we're not saying that just because we're Handbid (duh), but seriously, do your due diligence and research different mobile bidding platforms.

We’ll say this: from our team’s lived experiences as nonprofit event leaders, our app offers intuitive interfaces, personalized features, and streamlined processes. We’ve seen proven success in increasing engagement levels, boosting operational efficiency, and consequently driving higher fundraising revenue generation. Whether it's a small charity event or a large-scale fundraising campaign, we’re pretty confident that you'll see why we're the bomb diggity when it comes to making your auction or fundraiser run smoothly and efficiently. But hey, don't take our word for it - try Handbid out and see for yourself! 

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