Complete Guide to Sealed Bidding

Complete Guide to Sealed Bidding

Sealed bidding can increase charity profit by as much as 166%, so introducing it into your next auction is a brilliant idea.

When people think about sealed bidding, competitive property sales is usually what comes to mind. However, this unique bidding technique can be used to creatively raise more funds. The global giving market is worth £182 billion, but this can be even higher when charities and non-profits get creative with their fundraising techniques. Keep reading to learn all about how Givergy and sealed bidding can increase donations at your next fundraising event. 

What is Sealed Bidding?

Sealed bidding is a proven method of increasing the value of the final sale of products. In fact, within the property market, homes sold via sealed bidding typically go 34% above their predicted sales price. Just imagine how many more bids you could bring in when applying this method to your fundraising event!

The process of sealed bidding in fundraising requires donors to privately place their bids on auction items. This means that people will bid on what they think an item is worth rather than simply outbidding the auction item price shown.  

Donors can also bid multiple times in an attempt to secure a desirable item. This will almost always create a healthy bidding war that people can’t bear to miss out on!

How Does Sealed Bidding Work?


The process for sealed bidding is simple and easy, which is why it’s a popular choice amongst fundraisers. Sealed bidding works in the following way:

  1. Charities and nonprofits must first choose auction items that will be irresistible to their target audience. Givergy offers a range of experiences, memorabilia items, and gifts to entice the bidder’s interest. 

The best way to select prizes is to include a range of price points and item types. Pay attention to your demographic so that certain items can be chosen as hero lots. 

  1. The auction item list is published online so that guests can browse the items on offer. This is done easily by using Givergy’s fundraising platform which includes a custom fundraising website. 
  2. Donors then place bids on the items that they are keen to win. The bid must be above the specified minimum and can be for any price. This amount is then sealed and not visible to the rest of the audience, but the number of bids on an item can be seen. By showcasing their interest in a particular lot, donors’ desire to win is increased by sending them into a sealed bidding war.
  3. The highest bid is automatically chosen as the winner. The Givergy platform sends an automated email and/or text to the winner to arrange the payment process and receipt of the lot. You can also choose to have multiple of the same item available so that you have more than one winner, which is specified during the lot details. 

What are the benefits of Sealed Bidding?

  • Don’t be surprised if you notice an increase in donor engagement by using sealed bidding – that’s the goal! This results in a higher number of bids and more money raised.
  • The sealed bidding process is designed to create excitement amongst your audience. Not only does this raise more money, but it will also make a lasting impression which is imperative for brand awareness and recurring donations. 
  • Sealed bidding can also be used as a talking point by fundraising hosts, ensuring that your auction lots are given attention during live-event proceedings. 
  • There’s flexibility in sealed bidding: you use them during live events but they’re also brilliant for online auctions and hybrid events

Examples of Sealed Bidding

Sealed bidding is an exciting tool that adds a new dynamic to any event. One organisation that has recently used this feature with Givergy is the BDO Foundation.

BDO is a leading audit, tax, and advisory service based in Australia. With a keen passion for promoting a positive workplace culture, they held an event in March 2023 that raised money for two mental health charities: Lifeline and The Groundswell Foundation. Sealed bidding was successfully used to raise more than AUD $64,000!

Check out our recent case studies to understand more about the clients that have used sealed bidding successfully. 

Use Sealed Bidding for your next Givergy campaign!

If you want to increase donor engagement and improve competitiveness at your auctions, then sealed bidding is the perfect technique for you. Givergy’s fundraising platform can easily engage your donors in sealed bidding with automated processes built in for peace of mind. To learn more, check out our sealed bidding page or contact us today.

Tim Stansbury

Tim Stansbury

Director and Fundraising Consultant

Tim joined Givergy in 2010, overseeing the early stage growth of the business to 50 employees across five international regions, supporting over 4,000 events worldwide. With a passion for leadership, business growth and exceptional standards, Tim is at the heart of all clients needs both in the UK and worldwide.