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Charity and Silent Auction Software

This guide covers all you need to know about charity auction software so your nonprofit can simplify event planning and score more bids!

Choose the perfect nonprofit silent auction software so your organization can simplify planning and score more bids.

What is silent auction software?

Silent auction software is designed to help you with your event from start to finish, from tracking your procured items and selling customized ticket packages to communication with auction donors and auction tools like mobile bidding apps.

Plus, some silent auction software can extend past your auction and integrate your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Silent auction software is simply there to help you manage your event so you can focus on what’s important: your cause.

Types of Charity Auction Software

Auction and Event Fundraising Software

Auction and event fundraising software centralizes all efforts related to auction planning to help nonprofits more easily coordinate logistics and to give them a holistic view of their events. Depending on the vendor, it can be specific to auctions or generalized to all fundraising events.

Event Management

Track and view all event details and data in one central online location, from basics like date and time to auction items and RSVPs. View the results of multiple events side by side.

Item & Package Management

Record all important auction item data to create a master list for easy item consultation throughout the planning process. You can also group related items into packages to maximize revenue.

RSVP Management

With event fundraising software, you have all of the tools you need to manage guests. Accept RSVPs online, track event-related transactions, auto-assign bidder numbers, and group guests into tables with ease.

CRM Integration

Silent auction software often supports fluid integrations with popular CRMs. Automatically filter attendee data and interactions into donor profiles to pinpoint the prospects at your auction worth focusing on and to create targeted post-event stewardship plans.

Bid Sheet & Table Tent Generation

If you’re hosting a paper auction, software takes some of the work out by auto-populating bid sheets for you. This feature can come in handy for creating table tents for your silent auction display, too!

Reporting & Analytics

Run reports on your guests, auction items, and overall event performance. Software will give you powerful insights into where you can improve your auction next time around to make it more successful.

See what OneCause's charity auction software can do for your nonprofit.

Check out the above webpage for a fundraising event hosted by Benton Academy! This school used OneCause’s event fundraising solution to create an unforgettable experience and implement gorgeous marketing strategies like their event webpage.

Online Auction Sites

Online auction sites are the digital venues where nonprofits host online auctions. Along with supporting online bidding, these sites can be used in a number of other ways to promote and prepare for silent and live auctions. Auction sites can be managed by silent auction software, or they can be hosted on third-party websites.

Item Listings

Auction sites use the item records in your software to create item listings on your site. Use your site as a virtual auction catalog to advertise items to supporters in advance. When they see something they want, they’ll have to attend!

Online Bidding

If you’re hosting an online auction alone or in conjunction with your live or silent auction, your auction site will be your venue! You can open up online bidding so that supporters can place bids with the click of a button right from your item listings.

Online Ticketing

Build a customizable event registration form on your online auction site to provide supporters with a convenient ticketing option. You can even set multiple ticket packages and sponsorships for added flexibility.

Event Details

Brand your site to your event and feature stories, photos, and videos to share your organization’s mission and reasons for hosting the auction. Promote your event by listing details such as date, time, location, corporate sponsors, and more.

Mobile Bidding Registration

Hosting a silent auction with mobile bidding? Event sites include a page where supporters can learn how to use the software and pre-register their credit cards so they’ll be ready to start bidding the moment they get to the venue!

Fixed Price Items

Your auction site is a powerful fundraising tool. Set up an online storefront to sell fixed price items, like merchandise and raffle tickets, and accept standard donations to raise even more money through your event!

Check out Benton Academy's auction site made with OneCause's charity auction software.

Take a look at the above webpage Benton Academy created in conjunction with OneCause’s online auction software. Here, Benton Academy can sell tickets and update their supporters easily on one page.

Mobile Bidding

Mobile bidding is a type of silent auction software that enables donors to browse and bid on auction items right from their smartphones. It provides organizations and auction participants with a convenient alternative to bid sheets.

Item Browsing

Mobile bidding takes the item listings from your event site so guests can browse items and place bids without even having to consult your display. Start dismantling your display earlier while leaving bidding open for as long as possible!

Automated Bidding

With mobile bidding, guests can set maximum bid amounts on the items they’re watching and have the software bid for them automatically. Never again will your organization miss out on receiving the highest bid!

Text Notifications

Send attendees text messages throughout the night to keep them engaged with your silent auction. You can automate the software to send guests notifications when they’ve been outbid, reminders when the bidding is about to close, and more.

Automated Payment Processing

Mobile bidding requires that donors pre-register their credit cards to use it. Once it’s time for the silent auction to close, the software will automatically determine winners and process their payments, eliminating the need for a long checkout process.

Additional Donations

Mobile bidding software offers guests the ability to make donations during a live appeal or whenever the fancy strikes. Providing guests with another way to contribute to your cause is a surefire way to raise more money.

Auction Scoreboards

Auction scoreboards give guests real-time updates throughout the silent auction. Feature the status on popular items, live Twitter streams, thermometers showing progress toward your fundraising goals, and more to ensure your auction is always exciting.

Check out how OneCause's charity auction software can make your donors' bidding process even easier.

Check out OneCause’s mobile bidding solutions. On the left is an example of software attendees can use to place bids on their favorite auction items. On the right is a video of OneCause’s software in use at an auction event!

Benefits of Charity Auction Software

How Software Helps You Plan a Silent Auction

Provide Donors with Convenience

Since it allows donors to access many facets of your event online, silent auction software makes participating in your auction more convenient.

When guests can quickly purchase tickets anytime and automate bidding with their phones, you’re sure to see a bigger turnout and more bids!

Streamline the Planning Process

Silent auction software can automate many tasks for you, making planning your auction a much simpler process.

Plus, since these activities are centralized, you won’t have to waste time transferring data or switching between platforms to consult various information sources.

Gain Deeper Insights

Software houses all event planning efforts under the same roof so they can talk to each other to provide your organization with a complete picture of your silent auction.

Robust reporting and analytics features can give you additional insights so you can keep honing your event until it’s the best it can be.

How Software Helps You Run an Auction

Reach More Participants

With auction sites and mobile bidding, all bidding takes place online. That means that even donors who can’t make it to your auction can still participate.

Having more participants will naturally make your silent auction more profitable, since there will be more people to provide funding!

Simplify Logistics

Since many tasks are automated and they’re all run through the same platform, silent auction software can simplify your event execution, too.

In particular, mobile bidding takes care of most of the item checkout process (the most involved auction logistic if you’re using bid sheets).

Raise More Money

Silent auction software enables organizations to provide guests with additional donation avenues (for example, donation portals and fixed price items), helping them raise more money.

In fact, all of the benefits we’ve discussed in this section result in more profitable events!

Selecting a Silent Auction Software Vendor

Look for Cloud-Based Software

When it comes to silent auction software, purchasing a cloud-based model (one that can be accessed via a web browser) is crucial.

Using cloud-based software enables you to access all of the data and capabilities you need at the venue.

Plus, if there are multiple team members working on the auction, cloud-based software makes coordination among staff and volunteers easier.

Make Sure It's Nonprofit Specialized

For-profit auction software and nonprofit auction software possess a very different set of features.

For-profit software was designed for companies who run specialized auctions on a frequent basis. Nonprofit auction software, on the other hand, was built to address the specific needs of fundraising auctions.

Choose a vendor who specializes in nonprofit auction software to ensure you’ll have the right capabilities.

Work with a Vendor Who Provides Support

Alongside of selling software solutions, many vendors offer event support services to help nonprofits get their software set up and utilize it to its full potential.

If this is your first time using silent auction software or hosting a large event, you may want to opt for a vendor with onsite event support.

Not to mention, all nonprofits should be working with vendors who provide timely IT support, in case any technical issues ever arise.

Consider Your Future Event Planning Needs

Does your organization host a large number of silent auctions and fundraising events, or is your silent auction a one time or once a year occurrence?

Anticipate your event planning needs to make sure that you’re purchasing a software solution that can grow with you. 

If you’re planning on hosting multiple events a year, you’ll need to work with software that enables you to plan more than one event annually.

Qualities of Excellent Silent Auction Software

Pricing Options

Alongside being able to accept standard bids, your silent auction software should provide you with a range of pricing options, such as the ability to sell fixed-price items and set “buy it now” prices.

Scalable Bidders

Silent auction software is often priced by how many bidders it can accommodate. Make sure you’re buying software that can support all of the participants you’re anticipating.

Scalable Items

Some silent auction software platforms also place a cap on the number of item records you can store. Make sure to buy a platform that’s big enough to accommodate all of your auction items.

Event Site Customization

Shop for a platform that gives you plenty of control over customizing your auction site. You should be able to brand your event site to your silent auction and finely tune the site’s features.

Learn More About OneCause

Plan More Events

OneCause isn’t just great for silent auctions! Our software supports an unlimited number of events annually, providing your organization with one convenient place for managing all of your event fundraising needs.

Integrate Easier

OneCause supports integrations with a wide range of nonprofit CRMs. With seamless integrations, collecting auction data in your donor profiles has never been easier!

Work with a Pioneer

OneCause pioneered mobile bidding. That means we have unparalleled experience in supporting nonprofits with their software and developing this solution into a powerful tool that can maximize silent auction bids.

Partner Up

OneCause has partnerships with many other auction services. We can help you procure amazing items, find an auctioneer, staff your event, and more to bring your silent auction to the next level!

Additional Auction Resources

Charity Auctions: 12+ Insanely Useful Tips

Now that you know which silent auction software to use, check out these tips for planning your charity auction. Will it be a silent, online, or live auction? Plus, learn how to maximize your bids and more!

115 Creative (and Profitable) Charity Auction Item Ideas

Need help thinking of auction item ideas? We’ve got a list of 115 ideas that are sure to please. Plus, with the help of your software, managing them all will be a slice of cake.

Silent Auction Planning Guide

Now that you’ve chosen the right software, learn all about the planning that goes into setting up a successful auction. Get some tips your software might not even know! Take a look at our silent auction guide.

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