Online auctionshave recently caught up in a big way among fundraisers and non-profit organizations. They have filled a huge gap left behind by traditional auctions over the last couple of years due to the Covid-19 lockdown and implementation of social distancing norms.
There is another type of auction that is catching up in a big way and that is silent auctions. Here themerchandiseis displayed on several tables and participants take a look before the silent auctions. A sheet (called the bidding sheet) with about 10-15 rows is kept before each item and bidders write their bids on them. At the end of the auction time, the bidder with the highest bid is declared the winner.
There is no time frame for silent auctions and one can last from several hours to days. Once the time frame of the silent auctions is completed for the written bid, the organizers announce the winners, receive payment, and ship the items.
Fundraisers like gala dinners and movie and theatre shows that were in fashion till the recent past are today on the backburner due to Government clampdown. Online auctionshave come as a blessing in disguise for the millions of charities around the world that depend a great deal on auctions for raising much-needed funds.
The experience of online auctionscan be quite overwhelming and sedate when compared to traditional auctions. Gone is the bluster of the auctioneer egging on the participants to raise their bids, the milling crowds around the items on display, and the bonhomie among the attendees at the auction venue.
Online auctionson the other hand are more sedate affairs where participants place their bids from the comfort of their homes or from anywhere on the earth at their leisure and convenience.The first has the urgency and the fire of a rock concert while the other is as easy-going as shopping from a retail store.
If you are holding online auctions, what are some of the benefits that you will get as compared to the events that you are used to?
Benefits of Holding Online Auctions
Several benefits accrue to you which are a head above the events people have always equated auctions with.
- Wide scope and reach: The first, and perhaps most critical is that online auctionsharness the power of the Internet to reach out to a global audience. Participants can be from anywhere in the world and yet be an integral part of the auction. Hence, you get more participation in your auction and the final bids too are likely to be higher because of the intense competition to win an item.
- Affordable running costs: The goal of charity fundraisers is to maximize earning and profits which in turn means more funds for the charity. Several free online auction sites do not charge for displaying the items through photographs, registration of the participants, and conducting the auction via specialized software. You will only be required to pay charges from third-party service providers like payment gateways.
- Time-saving for the bidders:Online auctionssave a lot of time for the bidders as they do not have to commute to the auction halls to bid physically or inspect the items. Both the activities in online auctionscan be done from Internet-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Most importantly, bidders are not limited to a timeframe since being online, the auctions are open round the clock.
- Workforce reduction: Think of the setup of the auctions in the past and you will find a whole army of paid manpower and volunteers working behind the scenes. Activities include arranging the items for display, making seating arrangements, and having the auctioneer stand by to conduct the proceedings. At the end of the auction, preparation has to be made for shipping and delivery of the winning items after payment is received.
Cut back to online auctionsand the whole scenario changes immediately. There is no item to be physically put up for display as only photographs are posted on the site. Bids are placed by the participants by updating the bidding sheets allotted to each registered attendee. The software decides the winner at the end of the auctions. All activities are fully automated in online auctions.
- No movement of the items: This aspect requires a little explaining. At fundraisers for charity through online auctions,only the photographs of the items are shown on the site and the goods remain physically with the sponsors and the merchants donating them. Once the winner is declared, the goods are dispatched and shipped from where they are and you as an organizer of an auction do not have to move the goods anywhere. In the past, goods were transported to the venues for display and shipped from there. However, in online auctions,you will be responsible for shipping and delivery and not the merchants.
It is therefore seen that online auctionsare more easy and more seamless affairs.
Checkpoints for Holding Online Auctions
While there are multiple benefits of holding online auctions, how do you go about organizing one and making it a great success? Here are some tips for you to follow.
- Choose a reputed site: Select an auction site that is reputed and experienced. Read the testimonials of past organizers before coming to a final decision. Most online auctionssites charge a minimal amount for the services provided but many levy only a fee that is charged by third-party payment gateways.
- Solicit the goods: Fundraisers get the goods to be auctioned from donors, sponsors, volunteers, and board members for free. Start talking to them well in advance. Remember that anything can be put up in online auctions, from physical items to vacation packages.
- Decide the number of items: You are not limited for space on websites to display items but estimate the number that you can comfortably handle. The software, though, will monitor the bidding and declare the winners regardless of the number of items.
The success of online auctionsdepends a great deal on how well you promote them. Carry out sustained digital marketing campaigns well before the date of auction and create a viral buzz on social media platforms.