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10 Online Auction Best Practices for Charity Fundraising

10 Online Auction Best Practices for Charity Fundraising

Online charity auctions have revolutionized how nonprofits raise funds, offering many benefits.  But not all auctions are created equal, so we’ve prepared this list of online auction best practices to maximize your fundraising efforts.

What is an Online Auction?

An online auction is a virtual event where items are sold to the highest bidder through the use of auction software. These auctions are typically used for fundraising purposes and allow auction administrators to reach a large audience of potential buyers. Participants register and bid on items from anywhere with an internet connection, making it a convenient and accessible way to participate in fundraising campaigns.

One notable plus to online auctions is their capacity to generate more funds than traditional in-person auctions while being compatible with live events. Online auctions provide a seamless checkout process, enabling donors to conveniently enter their credit card details, with the software automatically handling payments for successful bidders. With the right strategies and tools, organizations can leverage the power of online auctions to engage a broad audience and increase donations.

What is an Online Auction?

1. Brand your Auction Website

Creating a unique and visually appealing website for your online auction is crucial for building brand recognition. Your website should reflect your organization’s mission and values while providing a seamless user experience. Utilize your logo, color scheme, relevant themes, and compelling content to establish a strong brand identity that resonates with your audience.

2. Promote Your Online Auction Ahead of a Live Event

Promote Your Online Auction Ahead of a Live Event

Generate excitement and anticipation by promoting your online auction well in advance. Leverage various marketing channels such as social media, email newsletters, flyers, and press releases to create buzz and reach a wider audience. Engage potential donors by sharing stories of impact on Instagram and Facebook, highlighting featured items, and offering exclusive incentives for early registration.

Don’t forget to incorporate sharing options into your online auction platform to ensure participants can easily spread the word about their favorite items, bidding status, and overall auction experience on popular social networks.

3. Make It Easy for Supporters to Bid

Simplicity is key when it comes to bidding. If too many steps are involved, donors may give up before they even begin. Implement an intuitive and user-friendly bidding process on your website, ensuring that supporters can easily navigate and place bids without hurdles. Streamline the registration process, provide clear instructions, and offer support channels for any questions or concerns that may arise.

4. Use QR Codes to Advertise Items

Use QR Codes to Advertise Items on Online Auction Websites

Incorporating QR codes into your auction can increase participant engagement and convenience. Attach QR codes to physical promotional materials such as posters, flyers, and brochures to instantly direct interested bidders to specific auction items on your website. This smooth integration between offline and online channels can drive more traffic and increase donor bidding activity.

5. Automate Outbid Notices via Email and Text

Keeping bidders informed about their status is crucial to encourage continued engagement and participation. Implement an automated system that sends outbid notices via email and text messages. This proactive approach not only keeps participants updated but also creates a sense of urgency, motivating them to place higher bids to secure their desired items.

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6. Use Text to Bid and Make Bidding Easy

Cater to the preferences of mobile-savvy supporters by incorporating text-to-bid functionality into your online nonprofit auction. This feature allows participants to bid directly from their smartphones via text messages, making the process convenient and accessible. By embracing this mobile bidding trend, you’ll attract a larger audience and boost overall participation.

Use Text to Bid and Make Bidding Easy

7. Enable Auction Gifts to Raise More

When you run an auction on DoJiggy, you can ask donors for Auction Gifts. This feature allows donors to set a one-time donation amount that will only be charged if they don’t win any auction items. This gives donors an extra opportunity to support your cause, which means your organization can raise more funds.

8. Use “Buy It Now” Pricing

Use “Buy It Now” Pricing

“Buy It Now” is a feature that allows users to purchase an item for a set price rather than compete for it through bidding. This means that participants can bid on an item or buy it outright. This feature allows organizers to capitalize on the desirability of their items, encourages a direct purchase of the item, and can be used when there is more than one of the same item. It also benefits the bidders by avoiding the risk of being outbid on an item they really want. A win-win!

9. Include a Fund-a-Need with Your Auction Items

Fund-A-Need campaigns offer a unique opportunity for donors to support a cause without the need for physical rewards, unlike traditional auctions. Multiple supporters can contribute, and there doesn’t have to be just one winner. Organizations can demonstrate the impact of each giving level by representing different contribution levels, such as $500 or $5,000. For example, a $500 donation can feed and house an orphan for a month. This emphasis on addressing specific needs rather than focusing solely on monetary value allows donors to make a meaningful and tangible difference, providing a sense of accomplishment as they contribute to a cause they care about.

10. Provide Detailed Item Descriptions and Visuals

Lastly, ensure each auction item has a clear, engaging description, including its features, value, and any unique selling points that could attract more bids. Accompany these descriptions with high-quality visuals that showcase the item from various angles. Detailed information and appealing visuals captivate bidders and encourage them to bid higher.

Provide Detailed Item Descriptions and Visuals for Online Auctions

Last Thoughts about Online Auctions

You can create a memorable and effective charity fundraising event by applying these top ten online auction best practices. Remember to leverage technology, engage your audience, and provide a seamless bidding experience to maximize your impact and achieve your fundraising goals. Start planning your online auction today and make a difference in the lives of those you serve.

Lisa Bennett

About Lisa Bennett

Lisa is the Sales Director at DoJiggy. She joined DoJiggy in 2006 and loves her job. Prior to working with DoJiggy, she worked at several non-profits and managed special event fundraising.

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