Many nonprofit organizations host an annual event to raise a significant chunk of their fundraising. The most popular large fundraising format is the charity gala, usually featuring a silent auction, live auction, auction games, and paddle raise to bring in donations. While these types of events can require months of work and preparation, they also have massive fundraising power— it's worth the investment!
Auction event directors and their teams have a lot on their plate: tracking item donations and who donated them, bundling donated items into appealing auction packages, selling tickets and sponsorships, and designing a seating chart…
It's a lot of work to do by hand!—that's where event software steps in!
First, a definition: Auction management software is a digital software package that helps you run a successful nonprofit auction by automating or partially-automating common tasks, organizing guests and packages and tracking all your fundraising event data.
Most fundraising auction software packages can generate lists and reports, analyze and audit your data, foster co-working, and help keep you on schedule.
Many come with additional features to make every part of the process seamless, from ticket sales with online auctions and bidding to credit card payments.
The best auction software package doesn't stop when your event night begins—it should allow bidders to use their bid numbers to pay throughout your event, making it easy and fun to participate and give and facilitate express checkout.
Adopting auction management software pays off in the long term! Incorporating this technology into your event planning ensures you provide a quality donor experience and have the data to make your next event even better—raising more money for your nonprofit.
The silent auction is only one piece of the fundraising event experience. There are two other big money-makers at charity events: the Live Auction and the Paddle Raise—sometimes called the Fund-A-Need or Special Appeal.
Live fundraising is high energy and exciting—and the best auction event software should be ready to back you up.
You're already managing your silent auction with event software—why not the live auction, too?
When comparing your options, look for an auction software company that offers live auction enhancement in the form of an auction leader board, giving board or progress monitor, to keep the live auction engaging and interactive.
Most silent auction software for non profits can handle live auctions. Print off live auction package details for auctioneers, so they know the order for presentation. After winners sign off on their final bids, simply enter the winning bidder and final sale price the same way you would with a silent auction sale.
A loyal, trusted element of the big fundraising gala: the donation appeal.
This comes in a lot of different forms—raising enough money to build a new gymnasium, funding an important project or mission, or meeting a budgetary goal to keep the organization going. Regardless of the need you plan to fund, make sure the audience knows what they're supporting. Supplement it with a video to really inspire them to raise those paddles and give!
Recording your appeals is easy with silent auction management software. Simply select a donation level and enter all the participating bid numbers, which applies a general donation "sale" to each one. Boom! Now you're ready for receipts and checkout.
One of the most tedious parts of running an auction event: writing thank you letters for hundreds of guests after the fact. A proper tax-deductible letter needs to include a list of purchases, their value and their sale price—rather arduous to do by hand.
If you're using auction management software, all your guests' purchases during an event have already been recorded. What if your software could generate all your thank-you letters for you… and automatically include their purchases?
Now all you need to do is include a kind thank-you for supporting your organization. Making guests feel appreciated for their contribution helps ensure they'll come back next year.
Data wields immense power: data can tell us what our event guests like, what they don't like, and which factors lead them to spend more or less money. Who attends every year, and why? Data reveals trends and patterns; it shows us the tangible effects of decisions so we can decide which methods work and which don't.
Being able to manage that data and uncover its secrets is critical to building your event's success, so you need professional auction management software that can record, track, and analyze it for you.
Adopting an event management solution for this year's event will track who attended, what they bought, how much they spent, and many other key metrics.
Fast forward a few years: your event software has stored and tracked your event data for each event—creating a much fuller picture of your audience's overall preferences, so you can better tailor your offerings.
While the raw data may not mean much on its own, most auction software packages offer reporting features to make sense of it for you. In the end, that means offering more auction items that sell high, getting bigger guest turnouts, and ultimately raising more money for your nonprofit.
Do you use a Donor Management System (DMS) to track your donor database?
Donors tend to be the most active at auctions and other big fundraising events, where they pledge sponsorships, donate auction items, and bid on auction packages. Giving is usually at an all-time high.
If you use a DMS to monitor your donors and their behavior, capturing this additional event data is critical. When used correctly, auction management software will collect it all for you with minimal effort—and most packages can provide that data in a format that will import into your DMS to help build a complete picture of your donors' behavior.