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I’ve been asked many questions of late about silent auction handheld mobile bidding devices.
So many questions, I’m hosting a free mobile bidding teleclass (“Best Practices in Mobile Bidding for your Nonprofit Silent Auctions”) next Wednesday (May 2, 2012) to share best practices learned on the front lines while using the technology.
In preparation for that call, I want to clarify the terms.
Some people refer to e-bidding (electronic bidding) and mobile bidding (mobile bidding is also called handheld bidding) as the same thing. They are different.
Electronic bidding may or may not be mobile, but mobile bidding is always electronic.
With any sort of e-bidding, guests bid on silent auction items using a device.
The device might be…
- an iPad – this would be a mobile option, unless each iPad is affixed to the silent auction table
- a personal cell phone or a phone provided by the vendor – this is also a mobile option
- stationary terminals set up in the silent auction area – this is NOT a mobile option
For the latter, I’ve seen two options.
Option 1 is one stationary kiosk per several silent auction items.
A kiosk (also called a bidding terminal) could be an iPad or a touch-screen computer. Maybe there is a kiosk for every 5 to 10 items.
Option 2 is one stationary kiosk per silent auction item.
It’s a one-to-one ratio. One kiosk in front of each silent auction item.
If you’re ready to embrace e-bidding — and I’ll mention this on the call, too — I advocate making the technology mobile, unless you’re prepared to adopt Option 2 and set-up one kiosk for EACH silent auction item.
Otherwise I don’t think e-bidding is worth it.
Sure, it’s a lot of technical work to set up one kiosk per item. And sure, it can be expensive. (Buying or renting 100 iPads for your 100 silent auction items isn’t cheap. One nonprofit I spoke with had those iPads underwritten.)
But it’s certainly better to have a one-to-one ratio than to have only one kiosk per – say – 5 silent auction items. That doesn’t make sense to me at all.
Think about it … guests would potentially have to queue up in front of a terminal to place a bid on an item a few feet away!
That’s not progress. That’s not user friendly. It might be electronic, but it’s not useful.
So are you ready to apply what I’ve been learning as I work with clients on these technologies? Join me on the “Best Practices in Mobile Bidding for your Nonprofit Silent Auctions” teleclass