In our last contribution to Harbor Compliance, we provided you with a handy infographic for planning your fall auction!
But if you took our first piece of advice to use charity auction software during the planning process, your organization is probably still wondering: how do we find the right software?
In today’s article, we’ll cover 6 fundamental facts to consider as you’re shopping for auction software:
By the time we’re done, you should have everything you need to know to land at the solution that will enable you to make the most from your charity auction.
Now let’s start shopping!
Auctions are held for many different reasons. While fundraising for charity is a common purpose behind auctions, this money-making model can also have for-profit aims.
That’s why there are two main types of auction software:
Both of these solutions can facilitate the process of running an auction, but only when applied correctly!
There are some instances when for-profit auction software may be more fitting for your nonprofit.
If you happen to run auctions on a regular basis, only host auctions online, and require a high degree of customization on your online auction site, your organization might want to opt for this type of solution.
However, in a vast majority of cases, nonprofits would do better to find a solution that was built specifically to address charity auctions.
While charity auction software still provides the core capability of for-profit auction software (the ability to run online auctions), it also includes many other beneficial features that can help ease the live and silent auction planning process, improve donor stewardship, and increase fundraising potential.
Not to mention, the vendors behind these solutions are experienced in working with nonprofits and can better understand your needs!
To complicate the matter further, there are multiple types of software that organizations can use to better their charity auctions:
Your auction software won’t provide much benefit if you’re working with a solution that doesn’t include features to address the specific type of auction (or auctions) you’re hosting.
To help start you off on the right track, let’s match each charity auction format with its appropriate software solution(s) and briefly explain how each pairing can benefit your event!
No matter which type of auction you’re hosting, software can ease the stress of planning and help you host a more profitable event. Just make sure you’re shopping for the right solution!
Auction-specialized event fundraising software isn’t just great for planning auctions; it can also help your organization plan all types of events. If you find a solution that’s general enough, your software should be able to address all of your event fundraising needs.
However, keep in mind that event fundraising software often places a limit on the number of events you can plan each year.
If your organization frequently hosts events and will need a more comprehensive event planning solution, make sure you’re looking for software that can accommodate an unlimited number of annual events.
Chances are, auctions are one of only many fundraising events that your nonprofit hosts.
In order to get the most use out of your event fundraising software (and the most bang for your buck!), it couldn’t be more important to shop for a scalable solution.
Plus, it’s advantageous to work with one centralized solution that can meet all of your event planning needs.
You’ll be able to view multiple events side-by-side to receive a holistic picture of your event fundraising and engagement, which will help you plan more successful events down the line.
If you’ve shopped for any type of fundraising software before, your organization is probably already aware that software can come in two different formats:
There are some instances where onsite software is preferable. However, a word to the wise: hosting an event isn’t one of them!
Your organization is more than likely hosting your charity auction in a remote location. That being the case, your software will need to be portable!
If you purchase onsite charity auction software, you’ll have to leave it behind at the office. That means you won’t be able to access your guest list, consult your item data, implement mobile bidding, or take advantage of any of the other tools you need to run a successful event.
Ensure that you’re shopping for a cloud-based solution so that you’re able to reap all of the benefits of your software!
One of the main functionalities of charity auction software is item and package management. In this module, your organization can list all auction item data and view it in a convenient, centralized place.
However, similar to how CRMs often place a cap on the number of constituents you can store, charity auction software often limits the amount of items you’re able to list.
Vendors usually factor the number of supported items into the cost of their software so that they can provide affordable solutions for events of varying scopes.
If your auction software is unable to track all of the amazing items that you’re auctioning off during your event, your organization will be presented with a few major disadvantages:
In short, to stay organized and maximize auction fundraising potential both now and in the future, you should be using a solution that can house all of the items you need.
It can be difficult to pinpoint an exact number (after all, a lot of it depends on the success of the solicitation process), so look for a scalable solution that can be built upon in case you end up with more items than anticipated!
Remember earlier when we mentioned that auction software can include other useful fundraising features?
Your software should equip you with tools to facilitate additional fundraising strategies, including:
And these are just a few of many possibilities. It all depends on the features your software possesses!
To raise as much money as possible from your auction, it’s essential to provide additional fundraising channels outside of the auction itself.
Think about it: not all of the supporters who attend your auction will participate in the bidding. Even those who are participating might not win an item.
By implementing additional fundraising methods, your organization will be able to appeal to more of your supporters’ giving preferences, thereby increasing the chances that attendees will make a donation.
Not only that, but you’ll making giving viable for more supporters in the first place!
We hope that your organization feels more confident when it comes to shopping for charity auction software. If you’re ready to start looking into solutions, make sure to check out BidPal!