As a nonprofit leader, you likely leverage a variety of digital tools to simplify your fundraising efforts. Not only does software streamline fundraising tasks for nonprofit staff members but it also creates a positive donor experience when supporters interact with it.

Easy-to-use tools ultimately help nonprofits grow and retain donors for future support, which is why user-friendly software is a critical part of hosting an auction. In this guide, we’ll explore five ways your nonprofit can make its upcoming auction easier through mobile bidding software:

  1. Automated Bid Increments
  2. Remote Bidding
  3. Bid Notifications
  4. Transaction Recording
  5. Donor Data Collection

From varying event formats to the competitive nature of donations, auctions need unique resources to efficiently raise funds. If your auction software doesn’t offer mobile bidding features, this guide will prove why you need it!

1. Automated Bid Increments

If you’ve hosted an auction before, you already know that the planning process involves careful item procurement and pricing. However, you’ll also need to set bid increments wisely to ensure bidders are willing to compete for the item.

ClickBid’s guide to silent auction planning recommends setting bid increments according to the fair market value (FMV) of each auction item:

  • $50-149 FMV: $5 bid increments
  • $150-249 FMV: $10 bid increments
  • $250-399 FMV: $20 bid increments
  • $400-599 FMV: $25 bid increments
  • $600-999 FMV: $50 bid increments
  • FMV over $1,000: $100 bid increments

Between determining your event’s logistics and promoting it to supporters, your nonprofit’s staff will have plenty to do when planning the auction. Instead of manually setting bid increments for each item, mobile bidding software will set bids automatically, ensuring that your prices are fair and reasonable for participants while still raising money for your cause.

2. Remote Bidding

Once you’ve launched your event, let the bidding begin! An obvious advantage of mobile bidding capabilities is the option to bid from anywhere. Remote bidding boosts participation in your event by making participation available for:

  • Supporters with a prior commitment
  • Registrants who intended to come but became sick
  • Participants who live far away, such as in another city or state

Remote bidding simplifies more than just participation. When the winning bid is placed through your software, supporters can pay for the item from their phones and have it delivered to their homes. Easy event check-out also simplifies event management by automatically processing payments for your nonprofit.

3. Bid Notifications

As participants begin to place bids for auction items, a bidding war ensues. And when that war is managed by software, bidders will never miss a chance to compete for the item they want.

Bid notifications allow auction participants to stay completely engaged in the event, no matter where they’re participating from. By staying up-to-date, bidders can virtually participate at an in-person level and easily see how the auction unfolds. They’ll be notified when:

  • They’ve been outbid. Mobile bidding software allows participants to track the progress of an item they’re competing for, even if they put their phone down or switch to another app. These notifications make it easier for participants to keep an eye on their desired item as other bidders vie for it.
  • They win an item. Bidders receive a notification on their bidding site when they’ve won or lost an item. Mobile bidding software might also include mass messaging features, which nonprofits can use to send custom messages to winning bidders via text or email. This creates the in-person experience for virtual participants, who can stay in the know and watch the progression of your auction from their mobile devices.

In the same way that you’d use appealing auction items and exciting marketing materials to incentivize registration, bid notifications ensure bidders stay engaged through the duration of your event. The feature makes it easy for mobile bidders to be fully immersed in the event, even through their phone screens.

4. Transaction Recording

Let’s say your nonprofit just wrapped up a silent auction. At this point, you’ve created a list of silent auction item ideas, secured and priced the best items, marketed your event, facilitated bidding, collected payments, and dispersed auction items to winning bidders. The bidding is finally complete, but the real work is just beginning.

At the end of your event, you’re left with numerous item sales and donations to sort through. The accuracy of these records is critical. Thankfully, mobile bidding software can collect data for:

  • Revenue reporting: When the time comes to report your yearly revenue and how your nonprofit used donations to further its charitable purpose, you’ll need to have easy access to your auction’s results. Mobile bidding software will track and record the exact amounts for each item, as well as the overall funds raised at the event.
  • Determining tax-deductible eligibility: Winning bids are only tax-deductible for the amount paid above the FMV. As mentioned earlier, your mobile bidding software will record the FMV as well as each bid made on the item and the amount paid by the winning bidder.
  • Tracking fundraising progress: Metrics are important in any fundraiser, but mobile bidding software can track your auction’s unique insights. For example, the number of bids placed on each item can reveal your most competitive items, which might guide item procurement for your next auction. You should also track the overall progress of your fundraiser in relation to your revenue goal to determine whether or not you reached your goal and what you could improve in the future.

As you assess your software options, look for a platform that offers integrations with your nonprofit CRM to combine this data with information from your other events and campaigns for a comprehensive look at your organization’s work.

5. Donor Data Collection

Aside from transaction recording, mobile bidding software also collects important participant data. Double the Donation’s guide to donor data explains this information is important for building donor relationships.

For example, you can use what you know about your donors to send messages that will appeal to them or show your appreciation for their contributions in meaningful ways. Your software will collect and organize the information you’ll need from your auction to do this, such as each donor’s:

  • Contact information
  • Location (or where they participated from)
  • Payment information
  • Involvement history (such as participation in previous auctions)
  • Gift amount

Bidding from mobile devices is easy for participation, but can complicate donor engagement if you aren’t intentional about connecting with bidders. Use the information collected by your mobile bidding software to get to know your donors better and strengthen your relationships with them.

The five uses described in this guide are just a few of the ways software can simplify your nonprofit’s next auction.

When searching for the right software solution for your event, make a list of expectations you have for mobile bidding capabilities. Do you plan to collect donor data? Are you expecting participants from across the nation? Evaluate your options and choose a solution that will efficiently manage your event.