The fundraising software landscape was already wide and extremely varied, but the seismic changes we’ve seen related to virtual events and donor engagement have provided nonprofits with more options than ever before!
So which tools do you need to engage donors? What software would benefit your nonprofit in the most impactful ways? What are the best investments you can make to raise more money and reach more donors?
If you’re running an auction as part of your fundraising efforts, mobile bidding is the answer. Mobile bidding allows you to simplify the process of receiving bids, maximizing your fundraising efforts in a way that’s extremely engaging for donors.
What is mobile bidding?
Mobile bidding is a paperless bidding method that lets individuals bid directly from their mobile devices. It can be incorporated into all types of auctions, including traditional live or silent auctions, virtual or online-only auctions, and hybrid events that incorporate bidding. Using the right mobile bidding tools can generate amazing results for your events in terms of logistics, revenue, and donor engagement.
Ready to learn more? Let’s take a deep dive into mobile bidding and its benefits, plus a few top tips for getting started.
Mobile Bidding: The Basics
Before incorporating a new tool into your fundraising strategy, it’s important to understand its full capabilities. Your mobile bidding software should include a broader range of features to streamline your in-person, virtual, and hybrid fundraising events—not only bidding tools, but also registration, donation, check-out, and more.
With robust mobile bidding support, you can make every part of your event process easier, including:
- Pre-event. Sell event or raffle tickets as well as merchandise online, allow guests to register their credit card information prior to the event, and start online bidding.
- Registration. Provide your event staff with easy access to registrant information and communicate in-person details like table numbers and seating.
- Main event. Simplify the whole bidding process for guests and create new ways to keep them engaged right on their smartphones with gamification tools like scoreboards, countdowns, and outbid notifications.
- Check-out. Split guest bills into multiple payments and process payments onsite.
Ensure your bidding process is easy and straightforward with mobile bidding software, always prioritizing the donor experience. Your attendees will enjoy this streamlined process, opening the door to creating long-term relationships with donors and raising even more revenue as you go.
Mobile Bidding: The Benefits
Gone are the days of guests walking around to each item to continue placing bids, never knowing if or when they’re going to be outbid and lose out on an item that they were originally willing to pay top dollar for.
When you’re looking to inspire more silent auction bids, mobile bidding is your answer. Mobile bidding drives impact by:
- Widening your outreach. Mobile bidding makes it possible to host virtual and hybrid auctions with ease. By participating on their mobile device, remote donors can quickly and easily participate as if they were in person. This increase in virtual attendance can increase your overall donation revenue.
- Streamlining your data. Let’s say you want to look at your top bidders from your event and cross-check this data with your annual fund or other campaigns. You should be able to take full advantage of this accurate source of data by using built-in data analytics tools, reports, and export capabilities.
- Making the planning process easy. With mobile bidding software, individuals can start placing bids a few days before the event, which is a great method of engagement and allows you to walk into your event with revenue already generated. Digitizing registration also drastically simplifies logistics for your planning team!
The usefulness of mobile bidding for all of today’s event formats can’t be overstated. With a reliable set of mobile bidding features (ideally part of a broader suite of fundraising software), you’ll be able to quickly launch all kinds of virtual and hybrid events without needing to worry about getting set up with new tech.
Once you’re up and running, you may notice that some bidders are especially engaged during your auction or that bids increase dramatically due to remote attendance. Take advantage of mobile bidding during your auction and witness the impact it can have on your nonprofit’s goals.
Mobile Bidding in Action
There are plenty of steps you can take to maximize your fundraising potential with mobile bidding. This starts with finding the perfect mobile bidding software and learning its features, as well as determining the type of auction you want to host and boosting engagement during the event.
Let’s take a closer look at each step.
1. Find the perfect mobile bidding software.
Finding the perfect mobile bidding software can seem daunting, but if you take advantage of the right resources and do your research, you can find the right solution.
Since the shift to virtual events, many platforms have evolved to include full suites of digital fundraising tools, mobile auction software, and livestreaming functions. These more comprehensive options can be a smart choice if your organization hosts many events or is looking to diversify the range of events and virtual offerings on its calendar.
Start by comparing different services and deciding what features you absolutely need. This will require a good look at your nonprofit and its mission and goals, and from there you should start finding some answers. Try this comparison guide to get your search started.
2. Determine what kind of auction you want to host.
Mobile bidding software is versatile and can benefit a variety of auction types, such as:
- Silent auctions. Allow guests at your in-person silent auction to place bids straight from their phones. Rather than placing bid sheets and pens on the table in front of your auction items, you can go digital and streamline the entire process.
- Virtual auctions. Conduct your auction entirely online as a standalone virtual event or as part of a broader event. The ability to run seamless online auctions in the background also gives you flexible ways to easily diversify in-person events.
- Donation event. Enable guests to support your live appeals and Fund-a-Need events right from their phones. When the ask is made, they can enter donations and watch your proceeds soar with this seamless giving experience.
- Hybrid events. Nonprofits are increasingly targeting both in-person and remote audiences with their galas and other events. Mobile bidding makes it easy to include auctions as a shared experience for both audiences regardless of where they’re located.
- Live auctions. Using mobile bidding in your live auction brings a bit of friendly competition to your event. Keep the excitement up and the bids rolling in!
It’s important to consider which type of mobile bidding event best fits your nonprofit’s current goals and how your mobile bidding software can support the type of event you choose. And get creative! Mobile bidding opens all kinds of opportunities to easily incorporate fundraising thermometers, raffles, and other engagement-boosting tactics that will help you raise more money while showing donors you value their experience.
3. Familiarize your team with the software’s features.
Familiarizing your team with the features of your mobile bidding software is essential to avoid any hiccups during the event. Mobile bidding software has several functionalities that can streamline your event planning process, such as:
- Auction item procurement tools. Track, price, and manage your items as your catalog takes shape.
- Promotional tools. Successfully market and promote your auction to your supporters online and via social media.
- Bidder alerts. Prompt push notifications that can alert your bidders when bidding is about to close on an item they’re watching or when they’ve been outbid.
- Event registration tools. Help increase attendance and easily get all your guests checked in and out.
Mobile bidding can help your event run smoothly and efficiently. Give your guests (both remote and in-person) a great experience and increase your auction revenue by taking advantage of all its uses.
4. Employ ways to boost bidding and engagement.
You already know that mobile bidding can increase your revenue, but how can you maximize its impact? There are several techniques you can use to boost mobile bidding, and they can help to increase engagement and excitement for practically any auction event.
Try out some of these tactics:
- Procure interesting items. Though it may seem obvious, procuring interesting and valuable items is the most surefire way to increase bids. The wider your items range in value and type, the more likely you are to engage a wide audience. If your auction is targeting a smaller audience segment, consider what price ranges will be most appealing to them.
- Tell stories. Rather than focusing on statistics during live announcements and appeals, tell your nonprofit’s story and who you’re aiming to help. Humans are naturally driven by stories and want to be invested in your cause, so give them a compelling reason to do so. Then, explain how to use your mobile bidding software to make a quick donation!
- Encourage friendly competition. Motivate your supporters to continue bidding with real-time status updates, such as current bids and donation progress, and be sure to consistently recognize your donors. Digital scoreboards are a great way to recognize top bidders and boost the event’s momentum at the same time.
With the right tools and the right research, you can put on a great event, encourage donations from all over, and maximize your donation revenue. Head over to the OneCause virtual events guide to learn more tricks to drive more engagement and revenue with your events.
5. Educate your audience on how to use your tools.
Finally, remember that all the effort you put into creating an engaging event won’t pay off unless your guests actually know how to engage with it! As your event approaches, explain to your registered attendees both how the event will work and how to use your mobile bidding tools. Try these strategies:
- Allow attendees to get set up with your mobile bidding tools in advance if possible. This will reduce unnecessary confusion or slowdowns on the big day as attendees will have already taken time to explore it.
- Create a dedicated event microsite or landing page on your main website. Use this space to both promote the event and provide instructions for registered attendees about what to expect. This is particularly important for hybrid and virtual events, especially if you’ve never hosted one before.
- Develop an email stream to start sending to attendees as soon as they register for your event. In these emails, you can tease auction items, explain the purpose and impact of the event, and most importantly, provide upfront instructions.
Even if not everyone pays close attention to your pre-event explanations, you’ll still have taken a valuable step toward improving the donor experience and streamlining your team’s work. However, you should still ebe sure to have one or more team members on deck during the event to assist with technical questions when they arise.
There are many ways an investment in mobile bidding software can benefit your nonprofit’s charity event.
Finding the right software and studying ways to increase engagement can seriously boost your event’s revenue and make every bid count. Start exploring all the options available to your organization, and you’ll be on your way to putting on your best auction yet.
Guest author: Kelly Velasquez-Hague
Kelly Velasquez-Hague brings over 20 years of fundraising, nonprofit management, and sales/marketing experience to her role as the Director of Content Marketing for OneCause. As a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Kelly manages all of the company’s content strategy and execution. She is passionate about empowering great missions and loves that her current role allows her to continue to help nonprofits reach new donors and raise more funds for their cause.