Did you attend my teleclass on Best Practices in Mobile Bidding for your Silent Auction?
If so, you already heard one of my issues with some online auction and handheld bidding vendors (a variation is also called mobile bidding or electronic bidding).
It comes down to functionality.
I’m a fan of a feature called “extended bidding” which — as I type this — few vendors seem to offer in online auction or handheld bidding products.
What is extended bidding?
If a bid is placed on an item in the final minutes (for sake of example, let’s say five minutes) of the auction, the bidding on that item will be extended for an additional five minutes. Bidding concludes when no new bid has been placed within a five minute time frame.
Other items in the auction will close as advertised, but the most heavily contested items will continue to accept bids, pushing the sale price higher and higher.
In contrast, some nonprofit auction vendors run their bidding platforms similar to online sites like eBay. If an auction is scheduled to end at 8 PM, it ends at 8 PM. Bidders place their bids, hoping to be the last bid accepted by the system before the auction closes at 8 PM.
But that’s not really an auction. It’s a game about timing, which rewards the last bidder before a specific cut-off time. Even though the runner-up bidder might have bid again, the system doesn’t allow extensions.
In contrast, a true auction encourages bidders to bid back-and-forth, increasing the bid until only one is willing to pay the price.
Some items in a nonprofit auction will always draw last minute bids. It might be a reserved parking space on the school’s campus, an exceptional wine lot, or a heavenly trip. If you could extend the bidding on those popular items, you could raise a few hundred to a few thousand dollars more.
How do I know? Because we see this often happen in our traditional “manual” silent auction closings.
In short, if you’re going to use technology, use the system that ensures you’ll raise the most. Find a vendor that includes extended bidding as part of its offering.
P.S. Extended bidding was one of many concepts taught in the Best Practices in Mobile Bidding for Nonprofit Silent Auction teleclass.
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