The Online Auction Fundraiser

With 4 Steps to Profitability!

I like to call the Online Auction Fundraiser the Rising Star. It is the fundraiser that is slowly making waves all over the nonprofit world.

With the development of quality auction software, running an auction live on the web has become easier and easier!

Obviously, to make it successful, you will still need to put work and effort in.

But the many benefits it has over a physical auction - and the fact that it has an excellent return on investment - makes this fundraising idea really worthwhile to do.

I would definitely recommend it to be a part of your fundraising campaign!

One of the best Fundraising Ideas to use: The Online Auction! Here with 4 steps to profitability. (Photo by M. Holland / Flickr)

Online Auction Advantage...

There are two big advantages that online charity auctions have over physical ones...

  1. There are no geographical boundaries -
    It doesn't matter where your supporters live, they can still take part in your auction, which is not the case for a physical auction.
  2. No time constraints -
    An online auction can run live on the web 24/7, and for as long as you would like it to run for (2-3 weeks is a good guideline). While a physical auction is very limited time wise.

    This means that all your supporters and potential bidders will have ample opportunity to place their bids and take part.

    They won't miss out because of some other commitment that would possible keep them from attending a physical event.

Because of this you are able to reach a wider audience, increasing bids and therefore increasing your earnings!

So here's how you run this very profitable fundraising idea...

Running an Online Auction Fundraiser:

Your first step will be to find an online auction fundraising platform/software to use.

I personally recommend MyEvent Online Auctions.

Some of the features they provide are:

  • Detailed Auction Reports
  • On-Site Promoting Capabilities
  • Minimum Starting Price
  • Set a "Buy It Now" Price
  • Adjustable Incremental Bidding
  • And more.

There are a few others you could choose from and a simple Google Search will find them for you...

Another option is Dojiggy's Auction software.

1. Set Up Your Auction Website:

Next you will need to set up your online auction fundraiser website!

Most Online Auction companies, like MyEvent, will provide you with a customizable auction website from where you will run your online charity auction.

Customize your auction homepage and your storefront in a way that further markets and raises awareness for your cause. Educate and convince your visitors that every cent raised is going towards a good cause!

Make it appealing and encouraging for your site visitors to take part in your auction. They must feel that every bid they make isn't just to try buy a product they want, but that it will also be helping a worthwhile cause!

Find out more about setting up your Online Charity Auction here.

Your next step will be to find products and items to auction off...

2. Find & Solicit Auction Items:

You should sit down with your fundraising committee and brainstorm what items your supporters and the general public will want the most. Draw up a list of items that would be most desirable for your auction.

The better and more in demand your products are, the more profitable your online auction fundraiser will be.

A great idea to boost bids is to run a themed auction fundraiser using appropriate auction items!

Then get your committee or volunteers to reach out to friends, family, supporters, local businesses, national/international businesses, shops, or to anyone able to donate something, and request donations of auction items from them.

Item Donor Publicity:

Remember that the donors will receive much better publicity from an online auction than from a live one. An online charity auction can actually be very beneficial to the marketing of products for shops and companies!

So use that point when asking for item donations.

Generally items that are relevant to your cause, its supporters, the time of the year (ex. Christmas), or the auctions theme (if you have one) will be most profitable!

So consider that carefully when you are looking for auction items.

Some of the most successful items are vacation trips, major events tickets, discount cards, gift cards and jewellery.

3. Advertise, Market & Promote:

Here is one of the most important things to realize about an Online Auction Fundraiser...

Publicity is the key!

It's not good enough to just get great items that people will go mad to bid on... You actually have to let people know that they are there! You need to raise as much publicity as you can!

So, use all the usual advertising methods and a few others...

  • Advertise through your fundraising website and your newsletter.
  • Use word of mouth.
  • Announcements through your Newsletters and Mailing lists. Online and offline!
  • Send out press releases to local newspapers and online press release sites.
  • Use Facebook by announcing it on your Facebook page, setting up an event, and inviting all your Facebook contacts to take part and to forward on that invitation.
  • Use Twitter and ask your followers to forward your tweets on about your auction. With both Twitter and Facebook you should continually post updates about how your online auction fundraiser is going.
  • Post adverts on high traffic sites like A definite must-do.
  • And of course, always be creative and look to come up with your own marketing ideas that will really boost your events publicity.

Remember that you should start your advertising ahead of time so that people are well aware of your online auction and when it is going to happen. Then continue the marketing throughout the auction.

For some more great ideas for promoting a fundraiser read here.

You should also look to advertise specific items and promote items that aren't doing so well...

4. Tweak & Adjust For Maximum Results:

Once your online auction begins you will be able to see what items are receiving bids and what items are not!

This is where you must watch and then tweak your auction where necessary by promoting items that aren't doing so well, or by dropping their minimum bids etc.

One of the best advantages of an online auction fundraiser is that you can efficiently track bids and evaluate how well the auction is doing and then make the necessary changes to increase efficiency.

Something which you cannot do at a physical auction!

Ending Notes:

Once your auction is finished you will have a great deal of informative information for your next auction.

What items sold well? What items didn't? What was the best form of marketing? What tweaking worked etc?

So with all this valuable information in your hand, it's the best time to start planning your next online auction fundraiser!

Take what you've learnt and plan for a better and more profitable auction fundraiser next time.

Ready to get started?

Then head over to MyEvent's Auction Platform page and start your FREE trial.

Other Internet Fundraising Ideas:

Online Donation Drive

Magazine Fundraising

Where are you?

› Online

› Auctions

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