We are very excited to share this first episode of the Elevate Your Event Podcast with you, as it gives you an inside look at how Handbid was born and how we started with a burning desire to help organizations raise a ton of money.
Handbid’s co-founder and CEO, Jeff Porter, has been in the event industry for fifteen years.
When Jeff’s daughter Abby was born in 2002, she was diagnosed with a rare condition called Prader-Willi Syndrome. Jeff and his wife Kari started connecting with other PWS families in the area, and they formed a charity.
Because running a successful charity costs money, Jeff and Kari knew they needed to start hosting fundraisers. With the help of local business leaders and celebrities, they turned their Kentucky Derby watch party into a fundraiser auction, and they raised $7,000 at their first event.
By 2010, Jeff and Kari were expecting over 300 guests at their Derby fundraiser – significantly more than in past years - and had over 150 items in the silent auction. The team got to work preparing bid sheets, creating labels, and setting up spreadsheets and mail merge programs. It was… exhausting. At the end of the night, they watched in horror as guests spent over an hour waiting in the checkout line, and there were numerous errors on guest invoices. They knew something needed to change, and after a few months of recovery - and therapy, because event trauma is real - that’s when they decided to automate the process and build an app, and that’s how Handbid was born.
Implementing mobile bidding software in 2010, when less than twenty percent of their guests were using smartphones, was challenging on many levels. People don’t like change, but their charity’s leadership was open to using new technology.
“Opposition to new ideas is common in the charity event space.”
Jeff’s charity doubled their auction revenue that first year of using Handbid. Checkout only took ten minutes, and their guests said they had the best bidding experience at an event, ever.
The advantage of using mobile bidding software
When you use paper bid sheets at an event, so many things can go wrong. Handwriting can be hard to read, and people might not bid as much or as often. Your guests could even steal bid sheets (this actually happened at Jeff’s event!) These problems go away with mobile bidding.
- People will use this technology because anyone can use it.
- People will stay engaged with the auction if they can connect to it easily.
- The auction will raise more money when you can extend the amount of time that it’s open, and do things like influence the bid increments.
- The success of your auction will be determined by how engaged your bidders are.
Tune into the full episode above to hear Jeff explain each of these ideas in full detail!
What can you expect from episodes of the Elevate Your Event Podcast?
We’ve seen a thing or two when it comes to events, and we’re going to share those experiences with you. We’ll talk about how you manage an event and how to work through problems that pop up during your event (it WILL happen!). We’ll teach you how to determine what’s important and what’s not when it comes to planning your event. We’ll show you how to streamline your processes, make the guest experience better, avoid the ‘no-nos’ around events, and introduce new ideas.
Handbid now has a team of nearly twenty people who have been involved in hundreds of events. We’ve invited members of our team to the microphone to share their event knowledge and experience, their best charity auction tips, and tell a few fun stories along the way.
Tune in to the Elevate Your Event Podcast every Wednesday, anywhere you get your podcasts!