Over the past decade, the fundraising landscape has undergone a significant transformation, driven by advancements in technology. However, the pace of change accelerated in 2020 with the increase in virtual events. This shift has revolutionized the way fundraising is done, opening up new opportunities and possibilities for organizations to engage with supporters and raise funds in innovative ways; mainly with the use of fundraising and auction software.
In this post, we will go over the factors to consider when choosing and implementing mobile bidding software, but before we get started, let’s define what mobile bidding software is:
Mobile bidding software is a technology tool used by organizations to simplify the process of placing bids during silent auctions, typically for charity events. Instead of using paper bid sheets, this software enables people to bid using their smartphones, tablets, or other digital devices for placing bids. With mobile bidding software, nonprofits are equipped with an efficient solution that offers convenience and streamlines event logistics, resulting in improved event execution, management, and ultimately, fundraising efforts.
Organizations have different needs when it comes to mobile bidding and auction software, so as a charity event planner or auction manager, it’s crucial to ask yourself some key questions before committing to which platform you will use.
How will you use the software?
Before you can decide which mobile bidding software is best for you, it’s important to identify how you will use it. Here are a few questions that will help to guide you:
How big is your event? As the size of your event grows, the number of auction items may increase. The mobile bidding software you choose should provide efficient ways to manage and catalog these items, including item descriptions, images, starting bids, and bid increments. Reporting, analytics, and processing of items and payment will also be a factor, the larger your event gets. Make sure the software has the capability to accommodate all of this with ease.
What components make up your event? Successful fundraising events have multiple elements to keep their guests engaged and entertained, and also generate more revenue for the cause. For example, a wine pull, a heads or tails game, or a gift card tree can all help to maximize your fundraiser’s potential. You could even sell branded merchandise at your event. With the right mobile software, guests can purchase all of these things in the palm of their hand.
What features will you use the most? Before committing to mobile bidding software, sit down with your team and discuss the focal points of your fundraising event. What elements are most meaningful to you? It could be auction management, reporting, ease of use, ticketing and registration, or something entirely different. Once you determine your non-negotiables, look for mobile bidding companies that will offer what you need.
Factors to Consider Before Implementing Mobile Bidding Software
Many people ask, ‘How long will it take me to learn mobile bidding software?’ We believe that depends on you! Here are a few factors to consider:
How tech-savvy are you? You don’t have to be a technology expert to learn software like Handbid, but it may help with the speed at which you master it. Handbid’s dashboards are very easy to navigate, especially if you’ve used systems that look similar to them before.
Is the software user-friendly? Evaluating the ease of use for both event organizers and participants (or, bidders) will be crucial to determining which auction software is right for you and your event guests.
Will you have support? How available and responsive is the software company’s support team? Will you be able to call and reach a real person who knows the platform? Many companies outsource this component to save money, causing big headaches for you as the event manager. Ask a lot of questions about the support you will receive before you sign on that dotted line.
Clear Documentation and Tutorials. Look for a mobile bidding company with resources that jive with your learning style. There’s nothing worse than trying to learn new software with inefficient tools or inexperienced staff.
Mobile bidding software isn’t just about having an app that your bidders can use (although, having a native app is super important!) You may need on-site staff to help you with registration, checkout, and the overall experience your guests will have when putting the software into action at your event. With Handbid, you can feel confident knowing that our staff all come from a fundraising and events background. You’re not only getting assistance from people who know all of the technical aspects of the software, but event experts who will know exactly what to do when you’re not sure how to set up check-in, or where to place your auction.
Finally, after your event is over and the last glass of champagne has been poured, you’re going to want to know your auction’s overall performance. Your mobile bidding company should provide reporting tools that allow you to assess key performance indicators, like bidding activity. Looking at this data will help you to determine which auction items performed the best so you can optimize the items and packages for your next event. You should also look at bidders who bid the most frequently, and at the highest amounts so that you can create an outreach strategy that stewards them throughout the year, potentially engaging them in fundraising efforts far beyond your auction.
Using mobile bidding software can feel overwhelming at first, but with the right company and the tips from this blog post, you can take your silent auction fundraising efforts to the next level. Remember to determine what’s most important to your organization and its donors, ask a lot of questions from your potential mobile bidding partner, and don’t be afraid to dig into their tutorial and teaching process. By incorporating mobile bidding software, you not only streamline your auction management but also open the door to new fundraising opportunities and donor engagement. With these tips in mind, take the plunge and explore the world of mobile bidding for your next silent auction event. Your organization and its supporters will thank you for it!
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