Follow these easy steps to plan for a great live event auction and make it simple for your supporters to participate:
- Tell your supporters
- Register Bidders in advance
- Invite supporters to purchase tickets
- Preview and promote items
- Share with social media
- Send reminders
- Share live event information
- Raise more with a Paddle Up, Fund-a-need, or raffle
- Review online bidding process
- Plan guest check-in process
- Organize event logistics
- Share how items will be awarded
- Plan item pick-up station process
- Ensure great wi-fi connectivity
Step 1: Tell Your Supporters About the Auction
Let your community know you are running an auction a few weeks before the auction online start date to get them excited!
Be sure to build and activate your auction homepage before sending out an auction coming soon email. We have several email templates with default verbiage that you can customize (go to the Promotions tab > Create an email). If you are planning on using your own email provider, just copy the verbiage from our templates to get started.
Step 2: Register Bidders in Advance
Ask supporters to create a bidder account in advance before your auction begins to ensure a seamless kick-off.
Here are some helpful resources to answer questions from Bidders or to share with your potential Bidders:
Helpful Tip! In your emails, create clear and strong call to actions with clickable links. For example, if you are asking them to register for a bidder account, provide the direct link to the bidder registration form. Below are some examples of frequently used call to actions:
- Learn more about our upcoming auction here
- Register to participate in bidding here
- Purchase your ticket for our live event here
- Donate to our cause here
Step 3: Invite Supporters to Purchase Tickets
Before your auction begins, we recommend that you invite supporters to purchase their tickets for your live event. If your auction is running for an extended period ending with a live event, you can still send emails reminding supporters to purchase tickets.
If promoting your auction through the Auction Manager, we recommend using the Buy Ticket email template (click on Promotion tab > Create an email).
If you are using your own email system, you can copy and paste the Buy Ticket email template and provide a link to purchase tickets that will lead them directly to your ticket sales page.
Step 4: Preview and Promote Items
Motivate your supporters by showcasing big-ticket and hot items before your auction begins:
- Publish all items to your auction catalog
- Feature your top 6 items on your auction homepage. Click on Event > Website > Homepages to enable.
- Use all four Featured Items and all three Coming Soon Items options in your email templates to showcase your items. Click on Promotion > Create an email to get started.
Step 5: Share with Social Media
Encourage supporters to tell friends and family about your auction via word of mouth or social media. On every auction page, there are buttons for supporters to share the page via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular sites. You can also share your auction and exciting auction items via your own social media account(s).
Step 6: Send Reminders
Create a communications schedule to keep your supporters engaged. Below is suggested verbiage for emails, social media updates, website updates, newsletters, phone reminders, etc.
Also, be sure to email supporters to let them know that bidding is open! Click on Promotion > Create an Email to send the Auction Open email template.
Mark your calendar
Get excited, we are insert # of days until auction out from the start of our auction. Be sure to mark your calendars!
Register to bid
Every bid helps support our cause. Register for your bidder account today, so you are ready to bid once the auction is open.
Tell your friends
The success of this online auction depends on spreading the word to as many people as possible. We need your help. Please tell a friend and encourage them to participate so they do not miss a single moment of fun and excitement.
Place Your Bid.
Whether you are looking for something unique for yourself, searching for a gift for a special someone, or looking to add a little adventure to your life, you are sure to find something in our auction. Every bid helps support our cause.
Step 7: Share Live Event Information
Help make sure attendees are prepared for event day by providing important event details and logistics on the website and via email:
- Event venue
- Event date and time
- Event attire
- Parking information
- Reminder to register for Bidder Account
- Guest check-in information
Step 8: Raise More with Paddle Up, Fund-A-Need or Raffles
Increase your fundraising total by implementing a Paddle Up, Fund-a-need, or a raffle.
Paddle Up or Fund-a-need
- This a simple fundraising activity where you ask guests to raise their paddles/hands to contribute money to your organization or help fund a particular project.
- The host or auctioneer starts at a high amount such as $10,000 and asks if anyone in the audience would like to donate. Then they will keep working down from $5,000, $2,000, $1,000, $500, $100, $50, etc. At each level, the host/auctioneer will ask people to raise their paddles for support.
- Ensure that all guests have checked in and created a bidder account when they arrive.
- As guests raise their paddle (or their hand, or something similar), ask volunteers to circulate the room to collect and the bidder’s bidder number and the amount on our Quick Sale template.
- Then staff or volunteers can take that information and process each donation as a Quick Sale. We suggest setting up the Quick Sale item before the event.
- We recommend setting up tickets as Buy Now items so that bidders can purchase them directly from their bidder account.
- Decide on the number of raffle tickets you have available for sale and the value of each ticket.
Step 9: Review Online Bidding Process
If you have some exciting items and expect competition, we suggest that you consider enabling bid extension to extend the auction end time by five-minute increments. You can do this for select items only.
We also recommend familiarizing yourself with the bid increments and maximum bid process prior to the auction. This way you will have a good understanding of how it works, and you will be able to answer bidder questions quickly during the auction if needed.
Step 10: Plan Guest Check-in Process
A well-organized check-in process is key to ensure your supporters have a great auction experience right from the start. We recommend having multiple check-in stations and many trained volunteers to reduce wait time.
- Four trained volunteers per 100 guests.
- Two to four laptops or iPads for online check-in per 100 guests.
- One check-in station per 100-200 guests.
Step 11: Organize Event Logistics
Being organized and prepared will ensure a great guest experience. Make sure to recruit enough volunteers to reduce wait times, help answer questions, and easily direct guests.
Key things to think about:
- When guests first walk in what do you want them to do?
- Will you have volunteers at the entrance welcoming/guiding guests?
- Will you have signage with clear directives?
- Check-in, coat check, help center, washrooms, item pick, etc.
- How visible is guest check-in when your guests enter the venue?
- Is coat check taking place before or after guests check-in?
- Will you have a help center at your venue? If so, make sure to train volunteers to answer simple bidder questions.
- Will you have floaters walking around the duration of the event helping to answer bidding questions? Ensure they are able to help answer bidding questions.
Step 12: Share How Items Will Be Awarded
It is best practice to announce when and how winning bidders can expect to receive their items prior to the auction close. We recommend providing this information in these key auction areas:
- Item special notes
- Winning bidder email
- Auction homepage
- Emails to supporters
Step 13: Plan Item Pick-Up Station Process
Organizing the item pick-up process beforehand will help everything go smoothly after the auction closes. Here are some helpful recommendations:
- Schedule the pick-up station to open 30 minutes after the auction closes to give you time to get organized.
- We recommend having at least two volunteers and two laptops to help with item pick up and processing payments.
- Plan to process the card one by one when the bidder arrives at the station.
- To confirm the bidder is the winning bidder, you can ask them to show you the winning bidder's email on their phone, show you their bidder account on their phone or provide ID.
- Then you can also verify their credit card and confirm that is the card they would like to use.
- Make sure to verify the payment has successfully processed before you give the winning bidder their item.
Step 14: Ensure Great Wi-Fi Connectivity
While most bidders use their own data plans to make bids, we recommend reviewing the Wi-Fi connectivity to ensure that you can check in guests and process payments during close-out quickly.
- We recommend using speedtest.net to determine your internet speed:
- Ping – we recommend less than 50 ms
- Download – we recommend at least 25 Mbps
- Upload – we recommend at least 10 Mbps
- We recommend at least one wireless access point, but if you have a large room or multiple rooms, you likely will need more than one.
- It is important to use using a commercial router, as a residential router will not be strong enough.
- We strongly recommend you have open access to the network, so guests do not need to log in from a splash page.