Online Charity Auctions for Nonprofits

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Online charity auctions are a great way to raise money for your organization and community. Our fundraising auction websites make it so easy and make you look good. Best of all, there are no subscriptions or upfront fees with our auction software. Just sign up and start fundraising.

Online Charity Auctions for Nonprofits - Italy

Our Online Fundraising Auction Features

Our fundraising auction suite provides online and mobile bidding software, so you can run online auctions and mobile bidding at your next live event. Text to bid functionality is included at no cost for US organizations. Our new auction platform is better than ever, with all of the features that clients requested.

DoJiggy Auction Websites
  • Add unlimited auction items and categories to your auction
  • Establish a minimum bid increment
  • Fundraising thermometer to track auction progress
  • Live Stream video option (via YouTube Live, Twitch, Facebook Live or Vimeo) for virtual fundraising events
  • Text to Give – supporters can text your unique keyword to get a link to bid
  • Take online donations from supporters, in addition to bids
  • Fair market value of auction items. This helps constituents to include auction donations in their tax deductions.
  • Sponsor promotion via sponsor logos and links to website and social media

Online Bidding

We offer two kinds of online auction bidding to suit your organization’s needs:

  • English Bidding – This system of bidding requires that each bid must be higher than the last bid placed. Administrators add a bid increment, as well. This system keeps supporters engaged, as they must place each bid. Organizations usually raise more money with English bidding, so we recommend using English bidding.
  • Proxy Bidding – This bidding system will automatically bid for users, up to a pre-specified amount. This proxy or auto-bidding system works similarly to eBay. This is a great option for constituents that want to set their maximum bid one time and let the auction bidding system do the rest.
Online Bidding, mobile bidding

Strategies for Success

Charity auctions are an established staple in nonprofit fundraising and development. The good news is that virtual and online charity auctions are easier to plan and host than traditional live events. Removing the logistics like selecting the right venue, catering, and entertainment frees up time for your auction committee to focus on the most important auction tasks like item procurement and marketing.

Let’s discuss some nonprofit fundraising strategies for successful auction planning.

Start with a Strong Auction Committee for Online Charity Auction planning

Online Charity Auction Strategy 1: Start with a Strong Auction Committee

Planning a charity auction involves many moving parts, so don’t try to go it alone. Your development team can get help from volunteers and Board members. Auctions are fun events and many supporters will be interested in helping out.

You’ll need key people in these areas when forming your auction committee:

  • Event Planning: If you’re hosting a live auction event, there are several event planning tasks to consider. Booking the venue, determining the menu or catering options, organizing auction day volunteers, and more.
  • Item Procurement: You’ll need at least one individual or a small team to handle the procurement of auction items. Be sure to find people who are comfortable asking for donations for this role – as this is key to your auction’s success.
  • Marketing: Marketing and PR are another vital part of your event’s success. Be sure that your marketing team considers online promotion like email campaigns and social media as well as traditional and community advertising.

Online Charity Auction Strategy 2: Keep the End Goal in Mind

When you are in the initial stages of planning your auction fundraiser, be sure to establish goals and objectives for the campaign. How much money do you want to raise? What outcomes or goals do you want from your auction? You don’t want to leave these to chance. If you’ve hosted an online or fundraising auction in the past, be sure to review what you learned. What worked and what didn’t? What have been your most popular auction items?

After the event, the first thing you’ll want to do is to review these goals and objectives and determine if you’ve accomplished what you’d hoped. Read more on evaluating the success of a fundraising event.

Keep the End Goal in Mind for Charity Auction Planning
Tailor Auction Items to Your Audience

Online Charity Auction Strategy 3: Tailor Auction Items to Your Audience

Since most nonprofits look to donate items for charitable auctions, it’s tempting to throw anything that you can get donated up on your auction website. Sure your supporters love your mission, but the actual auction items that you are offering are the main draw for your auction fundraiser. The more you can tailor your auction items to your constituents, the more money you’ll raise.

Be sure to answer the following questions when putting together your auction catalog:

  • Who are your constituents and target auction bidders?
  • What are the hobbies and interests of your constituents?
  • Are there items that bidders are spending money on that can be directed to your organization instead?
  • What types of items can your average constituent afford to bid on?
  • How much is your average constituent likely to spend?

Charity Auction Items that Sell

The auction item procurement process is one of the most important pieces of your auction’s success. Keep your audience and mind, and know what you want. The most popular charity auction items include:

  • Travel packages and hotel stays
  • Event tickets or backstage passes
  • Gift baskets, including wine or beer packages
  • Original artwork and jewelry
  • Dinner gift certificates and fine dining experiences
  • Electronics – TVs, computers, gaming consoles
  • Subscriptions and services of all kinds
  • Massages, manicures, or Spa packages
  • Bricks or other named dedications to support your organization
Charity Auction Items that Sell - Auction travel packages

While most organizations start with in-kind donations, you don’t want to limit the success of your fundraiser to only what you can get donated.

We offer amazing and one of a kind travel packages for your charity auctions. These packages will allow your organization to save valuable time for procuring those much sought after auction items. Our charity auction items are offered with no risk – if your reserve is not met, the items aren’t sold.

See Our Auction Travel Packages

Charity Auction Timeline

Charity Auction Timeline & Planner

We have created this awesome Charity Auction Timeline to help make your fundraising auction a success. This timeline can be tailored to meet any organization’s needs. The most important thing is to start early and remember to build on your organization’s relationships with businesses and the community at large. Done right, your charity auction can be a big fundraising success!

Charity Auction Timeline: First Steps

  1. Appoint an Auction Chair and key volunteers/staff/Board members who will serve on the auction steering committee. The more dedicated committee members you can find at this stage of your event, the more successful your auction will be.
  2. Review previous years’ event history and resources, if available. Be sure to learn from the lessons of the past.
  3. Set your auction objectives and fundraising goals. Include sponsorship sales, event ticketing proceeds (determine what you will charge), and more.
  4. Create a preliminary event budget with realistic goals for your event.
  5. Start an auction file where you will store all relevant data for your event, for reference in the future. Be sure the steering committee members know to save all important documentation and resources for the future.
Charity Auction Timeline: First Steps

9 to 12 Months Prior to the Auction

  1. Decide on your auction timeline – including the auction start date and length of the online auction.
  2. Begin searching for an appropriate event venue for live events. Consider event capacity, location, costs, insurance, parking, and catering options.
  3. Make a list of potential corporate & community sponsors, and assign a committee member to follow up with each.
  4. Ask your organization’s Board of Directors to seek corporate sponsors and potential auction items for donation.
  5. Begin the auction procurement process – contact potential donors such as hotels, restaurants, and local merchants.
  6. Create sponsorship packages and sponsor recruitment materials. Be sure to emphasize to the sponsor the visibility they will receive by being a part of your auction event.

5 to 8 Months Prior to the Auction

  1. Your auction venue should be secured, for live events. Complete paperwork, as necessary.
  2. Begin looking for a catering service, if needed.
  3. Build your organization’s auction website and determine registration payment methods.
  4. Create and print promotional materials such as fliers and formal event invitations.
  5. Mail Save the Date postcards and/or advertise directly to your supporters via your website, Social media channels, and newsletters.
  6. Begin the process to advertise your event. Possible channels include TV, radio, newspapers, online calendars and community websites, fliers, and more. Consider engaging an advertising/ PR firm to help, if your budget allows.
  7. Secure tables, chairs, linens, sound systems, decorations, and any other rentals for your live event.
  8. Place holds on luxury travel packages.
  9. Determine the logistics of your live event – auctioneer, emcee, entertainment, sound, celebrity host, volunteers, etc. Sign contracts, as needed.
  10. Recruit a local celebrity host for your live event, if possible.
  11. Continue work to secure auction sponsorships.
  12. Launch your fundraising auction website.
Luxury Travel Packages

3 to 4 Months Prior to the Auction

  1. Prepare your event menu with your catering company – be sure to provide vegetarian and other special request meals for your guests.
  2. Escalate your auction procurement – all donations should be secured in this period. Purchase any remaining items needed.
  3. Mail personal invitations to your donors and supporters.
  4. Select and order awards, if you will be honoring constituents/Board members/staff at your event.
  5. Begin recruiting volunteers for a live event. You may need volunteers for event registration, greeters, parking assistance/valet parking, auction runners, auction check-out, decoration & set-up, and event clean up.
  6. Continue with advertising and event PR campaign.
  7. Determine all technical details for your live event check-out process. If you will require auction payment terminals to process final bids at the event, reserve them with your merchant services provider.

1 to 2 Months Prior to the Auction

  1. Prepare the event program and timeline.
  2. Begin taking online registrations and auction bids on your auction website.
  3. Find clients or presenters to talk about their experience with your organization and how it has impacted them positively. This could be done with a PowerPoint or slide show for maximum impact.
  4. Assign your auction items to live and silent auction categories, and create a schedule for the live auction items.
  5. Host a volunteer training session, so that your event day volunteers know what to expect. If possible, host the meeting at your event venue and provide a tour to your volunteers.
  6. Finalize volunteer schedules and responsibilities.
  7. Finalize and print the auction catalog and event program.
  8. Continue with advertising and event PR campaign.
  9. Order or create your bid paddles.
1 to 2 Months Prior to the Auction

1 to 2 Weeks Prior to the Auction

  1. Confirm final guest count and special meal requests with your catering company.
  2. Prepare catalog and product information for your auctioneer.
  3. Finalize all technical details for online access and payments at the event.
  4. Organize all auction items, putting together packages, baskets, and displays for your live event.
  5. Finish all administrative registrations on your auction website and assign individual guests to open tables.
  6. Meet with the emcee and/or presenters to review the event timeline and program. Prepare a script for each presenter.

48 Hours Prior to the Auction

  1. Print QR codes or bid sheets for your live event.
  2. Deliver your auction items, decorations, signs, goody bags, and any other event materials to the venue.
  3. If the venue is available, set up decorations, tables, podium, sound system, etc. for your event early.
  4. Finish all administrative registrations on your auction website and assign individual guests to open tables.
  5. Assign bid paddles or bidding numbers for each participant, if performing a live auction.
  6. Print your registration report and any other reports that you would like to take to the event.

Show Time!

  1. Arrive early for registration and auction set-up. Bring reports, payment terminals, and any remaining items to the event venue.
  2. Hang instructional signs for registration, parking, auction check-out, restrooms, etc.
  3. Be sure volunteers are in place early and trained for each position. Assign greeters to welcome guests and have at least one volunteer runner.
  4. Always remember to recognize and thank your event sponsors.
  5. Enjoy and have fun!
Show Time!

Immediately Following the Auction

  1. Organize an auction wrap-up meeting with the entire auction committee to critique the event and update your auction files with suggestions for next year’s event. This should be done within a week of the event so that everything is fresh in the committee members’ minds.
  2. Purchase DoJiggy auction items for delivery direct to winning bidders.
  3. Complete all financials – determine actual monies raised, make final payments on any open invoices, etc.
  4. Send thank-you notes to all event sponsors and volunteers, detailing the amount raised for your organization.
  5. Update your website and social media pages with event pictures, thank yous, and special moments from your event.

More Online Fundraising Auction Resources

We know that organizing a successful fundraising auction takes time and work. Because we believe in the work you do, we provide auction coordinators with a complete set of free resources to help make your online charity auction a success. All of these resources can be easily modified for your organization’s needs. These resources, along with our charity auction software are part of our commitment to helping nonprofit organizations run successful and profitable fundraising auctions.

Our complete set of auction resources includes an auction timeline and planner, a fundraising auction budget, charity auction bid sheets for live silent auctions, and a set of customizable standard letter templates (sponsor solicitation and thank you letters, a participant registration confirmation letter, and a potential charity auction item donor letter).