6 Cost Effective Ways to Raise More Through Your Online Auction
The recent Blackbaud report announced that while overall charitable giving has increased by 1% in 2015, online charitable giving increased by 6.1%[i]. In this case, its safe to say that numbers don’t lie. Its time to get online!
Creating and optimizing your online auction can be made simple, efficient and cost effective when you create an adequate campaign to promote it. In the last 12 months, Givergy have helped raise over $40 million for 1,500 events across the globe. We have become specialists when it comes to promoting online auctions for our clients, and we always love to share our tips and tricks with all the wonderful non-profits out there.
But first what’s an online auction? According to the Entrepreneur, [Online auctions are] virtual auctions on the internet. The seller sells the product or service to the person who bids the highest price. For sellers, online auctions open up new sales channels for new products and offer buyers favorable purchasing conditions.
Online auctions can have different purposes. Some charities use them to get pre-event bidding started, and subsequently end the online auction the day before the live event in order to transfer bids to tablet bidding on the night so that its all on one secure network. Other charities leave the bidding in the donors hands with the ability to keep bidding from their smartphone throughout the event.
Launch the auction
You are all set and ready to go. Your website is up and running and your online auction items are beautifully displayed. Now the question is, how do you get the bidding started?
Send an email letting your guests know the online auction is now open, and they can start bidding and raise money for the great cause they chose to help. They basically get first dibs. You should also send an email to your entire database, telling them that although they did not make it to the event, they can still bid on some amazing items online, and help a great cause. In this email, disclose how easy it is to get bidding and show a selection of the unique items that are offered.
Use the great power of social media
76% of charities in North America say that social media is effective for online fundraising, and 27% of donors establish the latter as the most inspiring tool to attract donations[ii]. Social channels are also a great place to get noticed and to reach a new audience. With your online auction, you are not only offering items that one of your donors may like and want to purchase to help your cause, but are also offering a variety of items that may interest a completely new audience.
If you have a high profile experience or item up to offer, push that specific item through your social channels, you never know whose lap it may fall into! For example, lets assume you are offering an autographed soccer jersey in your lot item list. A soccer fan may not know anything about your non-profit, but will be able to see the item that was strategically shared on social media, get bidding, and also learn about your mission. Bingo! You have raised more money, spread awareness and may have earned a new supporter.
Besides, by sharing your custom online auction on all of your social media channels, you never know how who may re-tweet/share/regram your auction which could potentially result in coverage across the globe!
When appropriate, ask your key donors, internal staff, committees and trustees to get involved and share the auction around to support your campaign. You’ll be surprised at how many of your supporters have a prevalent social media presence. This will not only help you reach a wider audience but will spread your brand and the great work you’re doing far and wide.
Tip: Don’t forget to pin your online auction to the top of your social feeds keeping it visible right up until the end of the auction or event. Also, incorporate relevant trending hashtags to make your content more visible in other people social streams too.
Keep the momentum going
The ball is already rolling, and so you’ll want to send a reminder to re-generate excitement and interest in the auction among your guests before the event. Send a notice email to your database highlighting a few key lots or any that have been added since the launch of your custom auction site, include start price and images to keep them enticed.
Two days before close:
The clock is ticking, the event is around the corner! Send a final reminder email to your database revealing maximum bids and any lots that are clear bargains or don’t have many bids on. This will no doubt increase bids and get the competition started.
Use this email to communicate those important details about your auction that will undoubtedly entice any donors that may have been on the fence about bidding on a lot.
If your online auction remains open during the live event, we recommend you follow these additional tips to keep your guests engaged with the bidding.
An hour before the event
Take advantage of your guests commute to the event to send them a mass text with a friendly message and a link to the online auction. This way, your guest are a click away from bidding on your items during the event.
At the event
Upon your guests arrival at the venue, distribute URL cards to remind them of the auction. You can also incorporate the URL on your program book, the dinner place holders, your auction displays and the leaderboards. Basically, a guest should never have to look too far to know where he/she can bid and raise more for your incredible cause.
Givergy is an award-winning company offering their services for interacting silent auction, pledging and mobile bidding technology. If you would like to use our cutting-edge technology to revolutionize your next fundraising event, contact us!
[i] Blackbaud. Charitable giving report- How Nonprofit Fundraising Performed in 2015.
[ii] Nonprofit Tech for Good. 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report, 2016
Chief Operating Officer
Ben is at the forefront of every project in Givergy, listing and actioning constant improvements across the business. With over a decade of experience in the charity and events sector he brings a deep understanding of what the fundraising industry needs to operate effectively and efficiently.