Five Tips for Online Auctions
For nonprofits, the average online auction nets nearly $16,000 in merchandise bids alone. Significantly less time and labor are required to put on a virtual auction than a live event, and integrating online events into your fundraising plan can be a great way to whip up excitement around your mission — attracting the attention of potential supporters as well as providing extra enticement to current donors.
The online auction makes it possible for nonprofits to reach out to supporters who might not be able to attend gala balls and other live events, while having the added benefit of “bringing together” constituents from across the country — and across the globe — for a single event. Participants in your auction benefit because they have an opportunity to bid for something they believe in. It’s definitely a win-win situation. In a whitepaper titled “Five Keys to Running a Successful Online Auction for Your Nonprofit Organization,” auction-software company cMarket offers some helpful tips on how to best plan for and execute an online auction.
Solid planning is crucial for a successful online auction. Know what you’re trying to accomplish with the event — whether you’re raising money to meet specific or general needs — and the amount of money you need to raise to get there. cMarket emphasizes the importance of bidders knowing where the money raised will go and suggests establishing a theme to the auction — “Library Lollapalooza,” for example — that will pique the interest of constituents and potential bidders.
Planning also means getting everyone within your organization — from volunteers to board members — involved early on in the production process.
According to the whitepaper, “Although an online auction is surprisingly easy to run and can be managed by even a couple people, the more hands the better. Let everyone know exactly what their responsibilities are, and don’t be shy about asking for help.”