The majority of nonprofits invest in silent auction mobile bidding and online auction platforms with the hope that they’ll raise more money.
That’s why I’m personally disappointed that so many vendors (the majority of them, as I record this podcast) do not include this “must-have” feature into their products.
You simply can’t raise as much money without it.
Listen to the podcast below.
Tom Huneke says
This is an interesting point that you raise, Sherry, and we’d like to offer some comments:
1) At ClickBid we recommend taking a holistic view of the event when making decisions about auction closing times. Raising more money sounds great up front, but at what cost? This event that you have worked so hard to produce is intended not only to raise money but also to steward supporters of your organization. We have seen events where closing times were pushed back unexpectedly end up with irate guests who thought they were winning something and didn’t. Those guests may have felt unfairly treated or even worse, that the organization only cared about money. This seems to us to be penny wise but pound foolish, especially if that happens to a major donor.
2) There are also logistical issues with extended bidding. If you have bidders who won’t lose to each other and bidding is going on for an extended time past the “end” of the silent auction, that delays other aspects of the post silent auction activities that must take place, putting more stress on event staff and possibly affecting other guest’s experience.
3) ClickBid employs Max bidding as a great solution that allows a guest to place their maximum bid and let the system bid on their behalf up to that amount. This keeps the auction timeline on track and still allows the organization to maximize revenues on items in demand.
4) Based on your webinar and our experience, ClickBid now has a new feature that will allow any number of items to have their closing time pushed back by a system administrator. This has grown out of real event experience where presentations/speeches have started later or lasted longer than expected or even if bidding activity is heavy. The system alerts all bidders when this happens.
5) At ClickBid, we believe that your organization should be the beneficiary of your efforts and that more bidding was not the result of more work on our part. That’s why we do not charge a percent of sales fee to our clients. To learn more, inquire at http://www.clickbidonline.com.
Sherry Truhlar says
Thanks for commenting! I recall us covering some of this in emails too, right?
I’m excited to see you’re starting to include the feature. Let me see if I can explain some rationale.
1. In a manual close, I agree that closing times shouldn’t be pushed back. The beauty of technology is that you CAN communicate instantaneously, through a phone or device. So the first step is to explain “extended bidding” (I’ll call it “EB”) in the rules as one would do for any feature, and then explain it via the device, as you mention in #4 above.
2. I agree with a holistic view. To make the point, here’s a similar example: live internet bidding.
Even though the technology has been used in commercial auctions for years, benefit auctions haven’t offered live internet bidding at galas. Why not? Bidders seated at a gala could bid against bidders not attending.
Nonprofits haven’t been quick to adopt it because of a holistic view. “If a guest dresses up, drives to the hotel, and pays $150 to attend my event,” the Development Director says, “I don’t want him to lose an item to someone sitting at home, bidding in her pajamas.” Fair enough. (But I know this will change….)
3. Once you start using EB, I think you’ll discover what others have found — that the longest “extension” is 20 minutes, and most are in the 5-10 minute range. Once a guest realizes he can’t beat your system by delaying his bid until “closing time,” his bidding speed increases.
(Now that said, if I ever had a client who had a delay of – oh, say an hour — due to EB, I’d be excited! Who cares if those 2 couldn’t check-out because they were still bidding. Everyone else could checkout, and it means the nonprofit raised a LOT more money on that item. It’s the stuff legends are made from.)
4. As mentioned before, Max Bid is handy for bidders, and EB helps nonprofits. Many a bidder will bid beyond their initial “Max Bid” if given the opportunity – through EB – to do so.
5. You’re right — not all vendors charge a percentage. And now, prices are all over the map. Sounds like you’ve got a solution you’re proud of, and nonprofits can also evaluate solutions from IML, Bidpal, AuctionsByCellular, EasyBid, BiddingForGood, Bid Partner, ibidmobile.net, 501Auctions, and –jeesh — I know I’m forgetting some. Even established software companies like GreaterGiving, AuctionStar, and MaestroSoft offer options!
I do encourage your company to join the National Auctioneers Association (NAA). Only a handful of benefit auction technology vendors are involved in the NAA, and yet that’s where we share auction best practices like I’m sharing. It’s a shortcut to understanding auctions, and better products can then be built. Please visit http://www.Auctioneers.org
A long-ish response, but hopefully clear. Thanks again for weighing in!