Capitalizing on Charity Auctions and Matching Gifts with Software

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If your organization is hosting a charity auction, you’re likely wondering how you can raise as much money as possible during your event.

Marketing matching gifts during the planning process and in post-event follow up is one way to do just that.

But we’ll let you in on another little secret: so is using software.

Both charity auction and matching gift software can help you capitalize more on the fundraising strategies they address. In this article, we’ll walk you through how you can use each of these tools to make the most out of your next event.

Here’s a sneak peek into the amazing software benefits we’ll discuss:

  1. More easily find matching gift opportunities.
  2. Streamline the event planning process.
  3. Host an online auction.
  4. Implement additional fundraising strategies.
  5. Make more with mobile bidding.
  6. Expedite post-event matching gift marketing.

Let’s get started!

 

more easily find matching gift opportunities

More easily find matching gift opportunities.

Explaining the tool:

Well in advance of when you start planning your event, your organization should shop for a matching gift tool (if you aren’t using one already!).

These tools enable you to place a matching gift field on your website where donors can input their employers’ information to see if they provide matching gift opportunities.

Check out this example from the ASPCA:

 

ASPCA matching gift page example

 

Additionally, don’t forget to integrate your matching gift tool with your nonprofit CRM. Doing so automates data collection, allowing you to see your donors’ professional relationships in conjunction with the rest of the data stored in their profiles.

How it can help you capitalize on your event:

It may seem premature to integrate a matching gift tool with your website, but trust us—it will really come in handy when it comes to marketing matching gifts post-event.

Integrating a matching gift tool enables your nonprofit to gain insights into your supporters’ professional relationships and pinpoint the donors who are eligible for matching gifts so that you can better target your marketing down the line.

When you know exactly who matching gift marketing would be relevant to, you won’t waste the time or resources contacting donors who wouldn’t be able to take advantage of this opportunity in the first place.

Plus, sending relevant outreach makes it much more likely that your donors will follow through on what you’re requesting, so this information really is priceless!

streamline the event planning process

Streamline the event planning process.

Explaining the tool:

If your organization has hosted an auction before, you know that there are innumerable components that go into planning. It can be difficult to stay on top of them all!

Charity auction software can help keep you organized during the planning process by providing tools such as:

  • Event dashboards. Track all important event details and conveniently view them from one screen.
  • Item and package management. List all auction item data in the platform, and group similar items together to create packages.
  • Attendee management. Compile a centralized guest list, enable attendees to RSVP and purchase tickets online, easily create seating charts and table assignments, and pre-register guest credit cards for speedy item checkout.

Not to mention, since all of these features are centralized, you can view them together to receive a holistic picture of your event. You’ll never forget or double up on a task again!

Remember to integrate your charity auction software with your CRM. That way, all supporter data related to your event will automatically be collected in your donor profiles so you can view it with the rest of the data you have on file (including professional connections!).

How it can help you capitalize on your event:

Using the planning features included in auction-specialized event planning software won’t directly help you raise more money.

However, the more efficiently and effectively you’re able to plan, the better the experience your donors will have (and thus, the more generous they’ll feel!).

Charity auction software helps you get the basics down so you can put more of your energy toward fundraising and showing your donors an excellent time.

host an online auction

Host an online auction.

Explaining the tool:

Charity auction software is usually equipped with another major capability: the ability to generate customizable online event sites that you can use to host online auctions.

How this feature works will differ from platform to platform, but here’s a general rundown:

  1. Input all item data into the item and package management module of your software.
  2. Generate the event site, which creates item listings by pulling the data you listed in the platform.
  3. Customize the site to your liking.
  4. Once it’s time for the online auction, open up your items and watch the bidding ensue! Participants will generally have to pre-register their names and credit card information to start bidding.

Pro tip: this feature also makes creating an auction catalog much easier.

By generating an online event site, you can simply share a link to start promoting your items, instead of having to expend the resources to print and mail a physical catalog (yet another way that charity auction software will help you make a greater return on your event!).

How it can help you capitalize on your event:

Hosting your auction online will enable more people to participate. When they can access your items and bid digitally, supporters won’t even have to step foot in the venue to contribute.

The more people who are participating in your auction, the higher the bid potential!

Your organization can certainly host an online auction on its own, but we recommend pairing it with an in-person event (a silent or live auction). That way, you won’t miss out on the valuable opportunity to connect with your supporters face-to-face.

implement additional fundraising strategies

4. Implement additional fundraising strategies.

Explaining the tool:

While the primary purpose of charity auction software is to help your organization optimize the bidding experience and maximize funds raised through the auction itself, this technology includes useful features to help you facilitate other fundraising strategies, too.

Here are just a few of the many additional fundraising channels that auction software can help you implement:

  • General fundraising. Give donors the opportunity to make gifts outside of the auction. You can accept donations on your online event site and through your mobile bidding platform (which we’ll discuss in more detail below!).
  • Fixed-price items. Put up an online storefront on your event site where you can sell raffle tickets, branded merchandise, wine wall pulls, sign-up parties, or whatever else might attract your donors.
  • Tickets and sponsorships. Make purchasing tickets convenient by selling them on your online event site. You can even set multiple tiers to accommodate donors with different requirements.

How it can help you capitalize on your event:

While auction bidding can drive a significant profit in and of itself, not all of your donors will be able to give within this format.

To clarify: if you’re hosting your charity auction correctly (e.g. creating competition by featuring fewer items than bidders attending), not everyone will pay for an item.

To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to donate, it’s crucial to incorporate other fundraising channels into your auction.

Not to mention, the more channels you have in place, the more likely one is to resonate with your donors’ preferences. And when donors can give in the way they want, they’ll be much more inclined to do so.

make more with mobile bidding

5. Make more with mobile bidding.

Explaining the tool:

Along with auction-specialized event planning software, there’s another type of charity auction software: mobile bidding.

Mobile bidding software is used specifically during silent auctions. Instead of having to write their bidder number, contact info, and bid amount every time they want to bid, donors can instead place their bids straight from their smartphones.

If that weren’t convenient enough, this tool also enables bidders to automate bidding on certain items by setting a maximum amount, along with a host of other useful features!

How it can help you capitalize on your event:

First of all, the convenience that mobile bidding provides results in silent auctions that are more profitable for your organization.

In fact, mobile bidding pioneer BidPal estimates that mobile auctions raise about 3x more on average than traditional paper auctions.

And that’s not the only way mobile bidding can help make your event more lucrative! Check out these other benefits:

  1. Checkout is easier. With mobile bidding, your organization will no longer have to deal with a long and complicated item checkout process. Instead, the software determines winners and automatically charges their payment methods, significantly expediting checkout. With fewer post-auction logistics to tackle, you can keep bidding open for longer to maximize funds raised.
  1. Bidders no longer have to consult a display. Since bidders can view all items from their phones, they no longer have to visit your display to peruse items or place bids. That means your organization can start packing up sooner while leaving bidding open for as long as possible.
  1. Anyone can participate. Mobile bidding brings your auction online, meaning that anyone can participate! Donors near and far will be able to fight for your items, driving up bid amounts.

There’s really no end to the benefits that mobile bidding can provide. If you’re looking to raise more during your next silent auction, consider it as an option!

Bonus: For more tips on how to run an auction with software, check out this guide from our friends over at BidPal.

 

expedit pos-event matching gift marketing

6. Expedite post-event matching gift marketing.

Explaining the tool:

Your auction may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the fundraising is quite done yet!

To raise even more, you should encourage eligible attendees to submit matching gift requests to their employers for the donations they made at the event.

However, in order to do so, you’ll need an efficient way to communicate with your supporters and market matching gifts post-event. Matching gift software can help you do just that!

If you’re using a traditional matching gift tool (like the one we discussed in the first section) and you’ve integrated it with your CRM, you can target matching gift marketing by segmenting your list. Simply specify eligible donors and send a mass email walking them through the next steps!

If you’re looking for even more convenience, there are now also end-to-end matching gift tools.

These tools can help you pinpoint matching-gift-eligible donors through more channels, then automate advanced email streams to walk them through the process. You’ll even be able to track which stage of the process they’re in so that you can encourage them to see it through to completion!

How it can help you capitalize on your event:

Taking advantage of matching gifts is a straightforward way to double (or potentially even triple) proceeds from your event, without doing much extra work or expending a ton of additional resources.

Raising more money is as easy as being proactive about communicating with your donors!

We hope that you can see how technology can be a helpful ally when it comes to increasing your fundraising results during your next auction.

Best of luck with your event!

About author

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, a company focused on helping nonprofits increase the amount of money they raise from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

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