A Canadian Company
MobilBid is an all Canadian product of Toronto-based software technology company Net Directories Inc. that has been helping non-profits for more than 20 years.
Designed With the Help of Expert Fundraisers
MobilBid was designed to meet the needs of non-profits and professional fundraisers. With their consultation and help, we developed a new, easy to use, full featured, smartphone-based silent auction bidding platform.
We Set Out to Tackle 3 Key Silent Auction Problem Areas
Encouraging guests to sign in. Keeping bidders engaged. And the big one – closing, invoicing, and payment. All improved? Yes.
MobilBid was Designed to be Self-administered
Unlike many bidding platforms, we designed a system that was easy for clients to set up and manage saving them the extra expense of tech help. We offer full setup tutorials, helpful instructions, and technical assist help is just a phone call away.
Share Auctions to Check for Accuracy
Once auctions are setup, they can be shared with team members to check for accuracy, then released in preview mode allowing bidders to review items and choose favourites before bidding starts.
Bidders Can Choose Language
Guests can choose to received item descriptions, and messages in either French or English
MobilBid Uses Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS is the leading cloud computing service with more than one million users and a reputation for security, innovation, dependability, and efficiency.
MobilBid Helps with a Pricing Model for Non-Profits
To make it economical for people using MobilBid, we developed a “Performance Pricing” structure. The cost is determined only by a percentage of the money raised by the auction. Clients pay nothing until the auction is over, with no ongoing costs between auctions. For convenience, clients can process live auction items and donations through the MobilBid platform for a single invoice and bill these additions at a reduced rate.
No Long-term Contracts and no Charge for Additional Features
MobilBid delivers a robust platform with many special features and options. There is no up-charge to use any or all these features and no binding contracts.
Virtual, In-person, or Hybrid Auction? MobilBid Delivers all Three
Guests join the auction by texting a code word to a dedicated number, then sign in, bid, and rebid on their smart phones from anywhere. Remote guests can also access the auction online for laptop and tablet bidding.
MobilBid Silent Auctions are Almost Self-driven
Once set up with items, messaging, and closing times, MobilBid auctions are practically automatic. Delivering and managing an entire auction, including closing, requires just a few keystrokes.
MobilBid is Recognized as one of North American’s Top Auction Platforms
A recent national poll placed MobilBid in the top five of North America’s best silent auction mobile bidding platforms. And the only Canadian company on the list. *Poll conducted by OneCause Fundraising Solutions.
Choose your Payment System
MobilBid processes payment in both U.S. and Canadian currencies. Collecting credit card info upfront and instant payment at close is a great payment solution for both virtual and live events. The choice at live events allows instant invoicing with mobile payment and a choice of cash or cheque.
Plan Future Events
Cached bidding analytics help you plan future events. Guest contact information lets you thank participants and build you your donor base.
Want Help to Setup MobilBid?
MobilBid offers 15 step by step tutorial videos on our website and available on YouTube. We provide unlimited technical help and one on one training if required.
Every year MobilBid helps hundreds of non-profit organizations , and charities raise millions of dollars.
As a charity fundraiser do you ever think you are paying too much for a product or service to help your efforts? Or feel trapped by a long-term contract? Perhaps you are disappointed with results compared to the promises that were made to justify the cost? Well, you are not alone.
Many companies still determine their pricing using a once accepted method based on fulfilling their own needs first. This approach examines the cost of development, delivering the product to market, cost of sales, and other administrative expenses. And results in a pricing model based on the seller’s needs with little consideration given to the buyer.
Conventional pricing promotes the classic zero-sum scenario in which one party’s gain is the other party’s loss. The seller’s challenge is to minimize the buyer’s resistance and attempt to move both parties to agreement while establishing an acceptable working relationship
Today, forward thinking companies, more in touch with today’s “customer first” philosophy, focus their pricing goal on “mutual success”. Meaning equal success for both parties.
Approaching the pricing challenge in this manner usually leads to performance pricing. That is determining the cost of using the product by the revenue generated (or saved) by the customer. This is calculated by a percentage of the revenue – usually, 10% to 15% of the proceeds.
“Performance-based pricing helps improve the relationship between buyer and seller early and moves both parties to a level playing field.”
When we introduced MobilBid, years of serving the non-profit sector had taught us the importance of right-pricing our fundraising software. We understand the value of open, transparent, pricing that meets our needs and more importantly, the needs of the clients we serve.
Our goal was to develop a full-featured, easy to use mobile bidding platform that encouraged bidder participation and increased bidding for better results. Add to that objective, we wanted a solution to end the confusion and chaos of auction closing, billing, and payment.
Our pricing challenge was to offer the MobilBid platform at a cost that would be affordable to help charities and non-profits, large and small reach their goals without breaking the bank. We chose performance-based pricing.
“Performance pricing compensates the seller and buyer alike based on how well the product performs. The buyer also benefits because in our version, the only cost generated by a client is when the product is used.”
Performance pricing eliminates the confusion caused by complicated pricing policies, fine print, asterisks, number of users, frequency of use, and other scenarios that affect the price. And confuse the buyer.
From the beginning of the seller/buyer relationship, both parties are working toward the same goal and the seller retains a vested interest in the success of every use of the product.
Because cost of use is determined by the performance of the product, the buyer is confident they will not overpay for the service. Particularly in the non-profit sector no one should be held to a term contract if an event or campaign is compromised by uncontrollable circumstance.
Over time, Performance pricing moves buyer and seller to a level of communication, information sharing, and trust, seldom found in contract-based pricing agreements. This in turn leads to a higher level of cooperation and a much better record of success.
The MobilBid Difference
Within our performance pricing approach, prospects can request an account at any time with no cost and no obligation. An open account includes access to our full suite of features and unlimited use of the program.
New accounts are open and accessible to clients within hours.
MobilBid offers a hosted solution meaning there are no setup costs, system downloads or costly integration procedures.
We provide unlimited service, technical support, and easy to use setup resources.
Accounts are free of ongoing and upgrades cost.
Because there are no initial costs charges, new customers are under no pressure to decide when to start using the service.
Performance pricing allows customers the flexibility to pause the service at any time without penalty.
In addition to the benefits of MobilBid performance pricing.
Clients are charged 5.5% on silent auction proceeds.
We cap the cost of using the MobilBid platform at just $2500 per event with no limit on length of auction or monies raised.
Add donations and live auction items, to the silent auction invoice at just 1.5% for convenience of single billing through the MobilBid platform.
Each auction compiles and stores bidder contact information and bidding information for analysis and future planning.
We provide clients with a “Terms and Conditions” agreement and don’t use binding contracts.
MobilBid. Helping those who help others.
These quick insights are meant to help you overcome the challenges of managing a fundraising campaign and we hope you have found something worthwhile here. To find out more, you can check our website Resources area or call. Thank you for your interest in MobilBid.
In the past decade, charity silent auctions have evolved from pencils, paper bid sheets, with chaotic bidding and closings to online and mobile bidding platforms. The leap in technology has resulted in an overwhelming choice of charity silent auction platforms and with the choice…often confusion amongst non-profit fundraisers.
No two mobile bidding software companies offer the same platform features, a menu of services, or level of technology, so comparing prices, features, and benefits of mobile bidding software can be difficult.
We believe that MobilBid delivers an easy-to-use, high-performance, effective, and affordable silent auction mobile bidding solution. We also believe that charity fundraisers should know and understand what choices they have with other mobile bidding software suppliers.
Every day we’re asked how our MobilBid mobile bidding platform compares with competitors, how our cost and service differ and how features add up against other mobile bidding platforms. These questions put us in a good position to comment on what our competitors offer and what sets them apart.
To help prospects and clients understand how MobilBid compares to other mobile bidding platforms, we have compiled a list of six mobile and online silent auction companies we consider worthy of your consideration.
Trellis is a Canadian company based in Kelowna BC and has been in business since 2015. Trellis is a one-stop-shop that offers a full slate of event management and fundraising tools. Services include ticketing, auctions, live and automated silent auctions, raffles, streaming, and donation features. Pricing is determined on a one-off basis. The service appears to be offered in English only.
givergy is a UK company, founded in 2009 and based in London (UK) with offices in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Hong Kong and Sydney. givergy offers a complete list of event services including event planning, registration, live and silent auctions, online auctions and auction items. Pricing is contract-based on package selection or custom pricing based on initial consultation.
Accelevents is an American company located in Boston and founded in 2015. By its name, the company was intended to enrich the event experience. An auction bidding platform is part of the suite of services the company promotes. Recently the company has ramped up its conference/events management platforms. The silent auction bidding software is still available. Pricing is a flat fee per auction plus an added cost for each bidder.
One Cause, (formally Bid Pal) was founded in 2007 in Indianapolis IND. As well as the mobile bidding platform, it now offers a full suite of event management and fundraising software. One Cause services mainly US clients but will welcome inquiries from Canada. The company doesn’t offer a “free” version or trials. There is no pricing on their website rather a request form for prospect consultations.
32 Auctions was founded in 2008 in Madison WI and provides a platform for both non-profit and for-profit web-based silent auctions. Billed as a “free” silent auction, the company offers a version of the do-it-yourself platform with a limited number of items and features. Participants bid at the online site and receive outbid alerts by email. The company also offers a branded payment system.
Click-Bid was founded in 2002 in Norton Shores, MI. The company provides mobile bidding software to help charities strengthen donor relationships year-round. Pricing is based on an annual 4-event license starting at $795.00 USD with add-ons to a max of $2495 USD. The platform offers both text-to-give and online donations options. Apparently, the service is available only in the US.
The MobilBid Difference
Unlike many of our competitors, MobilBid is first and foremost an experienced software technology company, serving the North American non-profit sector for two decades.
MobilBid was introduced in 2015. From the beginning, with the help of professional fundraisers and non-profit clients, our sole objective was to design an advanced, self-administered, full-featured mobile bidding platform optimized for smartphone bidding.
MobilBid software automates the silent auction process, provides a better bidder experience including instant mobile payment and delivers better returns for our clients. All at an affordable price.
We understand and respect our competition and are committed to those we serve. MobilBid continues to prove its worth to an expanding group of satisfied users in hundreds of auctions annually.
If you are planning an upcoming silent auction or a fundraiser including a silent auction, please consider MobilBid. Let us show you what we can do and how we can help.
Youth Singers of Calgary (YSC) is a not-for-profit performing arts organization providing the youth of Calgary with a unique opportunity to learn, explore and express themselves through performing arts. YSC was founded in 1985 by Shirley Penner – a dedicated music, arts and education graduate from colleges and universities in Chicago and Toronto.
For more than 35 years, YSC’s music, dance and theatre programs have afforded more than just the opportunity to learn and perform, but a safe haven to encourage growth, fellowship and friendships that bind performers and performing groups.
In 2009, under Shirley’s leadership, Youth Singers opened the doors to the Performing Arts Youth Centre (PAYC). Converting a former warehouse to 18,000 sq. ft. of rehearsal studios, wardrobe and sets workshops, office space, meeting rooms, a music library and much more.
PAYC has proven a valuable and well-utilized community arts space for both YSC and many local and visiting community arts groups.
Starting with just 28 junior high school students, YSC has expanded to 500 singers ranging in age from three and a half to adult, with a staff of 13 full and part-time administrators and over 30 contract artistic staff.
Youth Singers benefit from the support of a vast community of families and volunteers who collectively contribute upwards of 35,000 volunteer hours annually.
The growth and success of the group comes at the cost of increasing expenses to maintain the high standard Youth Singers have set. Volunteer efforts and fundraising are vital to the continued well-being of the organization.
As a result of the severe impact of COVID-19, Youth Singers shifted the end of the 2019-20 season online. Keeping up with the ever-changing restrictions proved tricky and, after months of creative planning, YSC made the decision to offer a hybrid online/in-person program for the 2020-21 season.
This hybrid program gave both staff and performers flexibility and enabled them to attend rehearsals, regardless of the current COVID-19 restrictions or their personal situation. The decision meant unplanned spending of thousands of dollars on technology upgrades and precautionary health measures to ensure the safety of staff and students.
For a decade, the HEARTS OUT annual gala has remained Youth Singers major fundraising event. Hosted by Youth Singers this formal evening combines companionship, dinner, and live performances with the fundraising elements of donations, pledges, and both live and silent auctions.
Proceeds from the evening are critical to the financial health of the organization.
Fortunately, the 2020 event was held in March just days before COVID-19 took the world by surprise, cancelling live events and shackling fundraising efforts. The hardworking Youth Singers volunteers breathed a huge sigh of relief that their principal event had narrowly avoided the shutdown order.
Because Youth Singers volunteers begin planning major events almost a year in advance, the concern over the deepening COVID-19 crisis, the fate of the 2021 HEARTS OUT, and the now much-needed funds, grew with each passing month.
The organization offered a public appeal:
“We need your support to continue this important mission.” “In a year when we can’t be together physically – music has still connected us. We need financial support now more than ever to ensure we can continue to create meaningful programming to inspire, educate, and engage our young people.”
Everyone rose to the challenge and in the summer of 2020 unanimously decided to carry on with the popular HEARTS OUT event in 2021 by converting to a virtual format while retaining the elements supporters and guests had come to enjoy.
As the planning began, the HEARTS OUT committee decided on the original plan for two nights. HEARTS OUT at HOME and HEARTS OUT on the TOWN, intending to host a smaller, in-person dinner option – following restrictions – and a virtual option for those who could not, or did not feel comfortable going to a restaurant.
As plans became more challenging, and restrictions more stringent, the decision was made to only offer one virtual event. “HEARTS OUT at HOME” was born as volunteers and staff set to the task of moving this popular gala event to a virtual format.
Many questions arose. How could you give the guests a gala experience without an in-person gathering? How could you engage people virtually when so many were burned out from compromised workspace and Zoom meetings? Could there be a way to interact with them in real-time?
Like most social events, the evening centred around food. YSC partnered with two local small businesses, Bonterra Trattoria and Market Basket YYC, to supply boxed meals.
With an organized curbside pick-up plan, attendees picked up their meals – and a party bag filled with centrepieces, party favours, photo booth props, and more! – the afternoon before the event.
This experience provided the quality meal they’d come to expect at a HEARTS OUT event and brought the gala feeling to their homes.
A live show was streamed into households – an almost four-hour program – that included pre-recorded welcome messages, trivia and games, live in-studio hosting, virtual performances, and even a live sing-along. Encouraging attendees to share pictures on social media created a feeling of community that virtual events struggle to achieve.
An important and popular feature of the HEARTS OUT event is the silent auction. For the last three years, the organization has used the MobilBid bidding platform, and the auction has always been managed by volunteers. Again, always at live events.
This year, like everything else, the silent auction became a virtual event. It launched ahead of the event and was open for 10 days leading up to the big event.
This allowed YSC to invite a wider range of bidders and reach more than just the event attendees. The auction was promoted on social media with a simple invitation to join by texting a code word to a dedicated phone number.
MobilBid offers a flexible silent auction system that adapts easily to virtual events. Bidders use smartphones to sign into the auction from anywhere, bid in real-time, and respond to outbid alerts immediately. The payment option chosen for the event requests credit card information before bidding, then at close, the system immediately processes the winners’ cards and sends detailed receipts for item pickup.
The Youth Singers only had two choices when it came to the fate of the HEARTS OUT gala: either cancel the event outright or undertake the challenge of converting the event to a virtual experience.
The silent auction conversion was a simpler decision. Because of past usage, familiarity with the versatile MobilBid platform, and great auction items, the group had confidence the auction segment would attract bidders.
The major gamble was planning and working towards a virtual event and wondering if the intended audience would support “HEARTS OUT at HOME”. No doubt, they had a lot riding on their decision.
As the restrictions fluctuated within Calgary and Alberta, the team was feeling confident about the choice to make the gala a virtual-only event.
The lower ticket price opened the HEARTS OUT event to more YSC families than ever before. Being able to market the event to a wider audience meant increased visibility of Youth Singers in the public sector, casting a wider net to more attendees, donors, and even potential performers.
The switch to both a virtual program and a virtual gala drew the attention of local news stations who jumped at the chance to share the YSC “good news” story.
The Youth Singers of Calgary 2021 virtual fundraiser, HEARTS OUT at HOME, was a winner. In the midst of a pandemic, the overall proceeds surpassed expectations and the silent auction proceeds alone equalled those of previous years.
Staff, volunteers and students are rightfully proud of their efforts and proved once again that imagination, hard work, and perseverance can overcome even the adversity of a world pandemic.
Congratulations to the staff, students and volunteers.
“The (MobilBid) platform is easy to use. From uploading items in bulk to navigating throughout the auction process I can see in real time how bids are proceeding. If bidders have issues, I can quickly address them on the back end. This year we added Stripe mobile payment to collect pre-bidding credit card info to process payments immediately on closing. Having experienced that option, I will never go back to taking payment at checkout.”
– Stacey Schaub-Szabo, YSC Parent Volunteer and Auction Coordinator
Recently, we were excited to learn that MobilBid had been included on a list of the seven most popular North American charity silent auction mobile bidding platforms. We were pleased with the news and want to share it.
OneCause, formally Bid-Pal, is a well-known U.S. company offering a suite of fundraising solutions to help non-profits plan and manage events to raise funds.
The company conducted a survey to determine the top seven mobile bidding platforms in North America using Alexa Rank, a global system that ranks millions of websites of various categories in order of popularity.
MobilBid came in fifth and was the only Canadian company to make the list.
Having compiled the information, OneCause prepared a product review on each of the companies. Within the review, the report offered the following comments on the MobilBid platform.
“A Canadian mobile bidding software platform that offers a host of auction solutions to help non-profits add efficiency to their events without sacrificing an enjoyable experience for their attendees.”
And MobilBid offers –
“Simple event creation tools that allow your non-profit to launch a customized auction event page without hassle (or tech expertise).”
“Checkout solutions to make closing out your auction an easier process. At the end of the event, bidders are automatically sent invoices for their items.”
What wasn’t mentioned is that MobilBid is bilingual English/French and processes both Canadian and American funds – and offers instant mobile payment.
Since its introduction, MobilBid is used at hundreds of events annually raising millions of dollars, and giving fundraisers an innovative, cost-effective mobile bidding platform.
MobilBid is also a popular solution for virtual or remote auctions… silent auctions held without an audience. If you are considering MobilBid for a virtual auction this guide will help.
1) Open a MobilBid Account
Visit www.mobilbid.ca find our Account Request at the bottom of our landing page fill out the form and we’ll open an account in your name. There is no charge for an account, training fees, tech support or product upgrades. Our fee is 5.5% of monies raised.
2) Set up Your Virtual Auction
You will receive an email invite with instructions on how to access your account. Use our setup videos to get started. Request tech help if needed. Design your auction with logos, messaging, open and closing times. Then load your items with images, descriptions, and opening bid amounts. Be sure to test your auction in a preview mode.
3) Invite Bidders
If you have the contact information – cell numbers or email addresses – you can invite your guests to join the virtual auction with a simple message asking them to text a keyword or phrase to the dedicated phone number for sign-up. Drive awareness and participation through social and public media, and donor lists.
4) Engage Bidders
Guests review items, bid, or place max bids and receive immediate outbid alerts on their personal phones. Unlimited texting keeps bidders informed and engaged in your virtual auction. Use multi-sale items and donation feature to raise more funds.
5) Checkout & Closing
Checkout and closing auctions have never been easier with STRIPE mobile payment. Collect credit card info at the first bid. The system processes winners’ cards immediately at close and issues detailed receipts. Plan for central item pickup. Contact information and bidding analytics are retained for future planning.
Dale Carter is the Director of New Business MobilBid at NDI, a privately-owned technology company based in Toronto, Canada focussing on the academic and non-profit markets. MobilBid is Canada’s only full-featured mobile bidding platform designed and engineered in Canada for non-profits both large and small.
Five features fundraisers love about today’s charity silent auctions.
Charity silent auctions have been a mainstay of modern fundraising for decades. As popular as they are, anyone who has ever been involved agrees that silent auctions of any size are a lot of work, require astute planning, tight organization, and an army of volunteers to ensure the event is a success.
We’re talking live event silent auctions, not to be confused with Internet-based online auctions that all mimic eBay.
Like most things in the information age, the technology revolution has caught up with the silent auction and in a whirlwind of innovation, removed the tedium, added excitement, glammed the process and put the power of success at the fingertips of the organizers and the excitement in the hands of the bidders.
So, let’s take a closer look at five areas where technology has forever changed the silent auction protocol and how you can harness these changes to star in your own success story.
1) Organization and Management
No matter the size of the Charity Silent Auction, it is still necessary to gather worthwhile items. Committee members can canvas local merchants, corporations, and patrons or alternately contact a myriad of companies that can source any type of item – fine art, sports memorabilia, travel, dining, and personal experience. Special software now allows you or your event organizer to design your Charity Silent Auction online, in most cases with images, full descriptions and pre-set opening bids. This reduces upfront time and eliminates the expense of a printed catalogue while letting you add or remove items up to the very last minute. Auction items should still be displayed but hold the bid sheets and the pencils.
2) Check-in and Sign-up
Now you can forget the confusion at check-in. If you have found a provider or a program that permits bidders to use their own smartphones – marrying software technology with the popularity of mobility – guests simply register through email, an SMS prompt or shortcode. Accessing the Charity Silent Auction this way makes check-in easy. Collecting credit card information along with name and contact details provides the administrator with important data stored for later use. Some event planners arrange for attendants with tablets to assist guests who don’t have Internet access.
3) Increased Bidding
Once signed in, guests can review items, build favourite lists and place opening or maximum bids. Bidders are notified immediately if they are outbid and can respond with a keystroke… from anywhere. (Perfect for golf events.) Mobile bidding replaces the scramble to check bid sheets and jostling to markdown re-bids with a quick, seamless response that encourages friendly competition and increased bidding.
Mobile Charity Silent Auctions provide multiple administrative options and a much better guest experience. More recent platforms include the option to sell multi items at a fixed price and the popular “Fund-a-Cause” feature.
Many programs offer a leader board function that previews auction items then tracks the bidding as well as providing an opportunity to publicly recognize volunteers and thank sponsors.
4) End on a High Note!
As they say, “It’s all fun and games until it’s over.” When it’s over at conventional Charity Silent Auctions the closing usually triggers a mad rush. Organizers hurry to collect and tally bid sheets, figure out the total by the winner and then scramble to generate invoices, find the winners, and decide on a payment method.
This is the number one pitfall you want to avoid at all costs…and now you can. Make sure the system you choose offers an automatic running total of commitments by the bidder and instant invoicing at close. Letting you at the end of the evening with a few simple keystrokes, send detailed invoices to each winner’s phone within minutes of closing.
While we can’t speak for all systems…the platform we offer allows guests this time-saving feature combined with the ability to pay from their phones using a secure mobile payment system. The proceeds go straight into the organizer’s account. Once the invoice is paid, each winner is issued a receipt used to pick up the merchandise. The event closes in minutes rather than hours and even the volunteers get home on time.
Lately, we’ve discovered an increasing number of people… in some cases up to 90%… using the mobile payment option.
A new MobilBid feature asks guests to enter their credit card information as they place their first bid. When the Charity Silent Auction closes, all the winners’ cards are processed, and detailed receipts are sent to the winning bidders used to retrieve their items. No more chasing guests for payment months after the event.
And as for results, one client recently compared two similar events held a year apart. The first event used pencil and paper. A year later the same event, with about the same number and type of items and guests – using our platform saw a revenue increase of just over 78%.
We can’t promise that to all our clients, but it’s not uncommon to have increases of 35 to 50%, while some clients have doubled their expectations.
5) Bonus Feature
As a bonus, a few systems store bidding analytics with guest names and contact information for future planning. Handy for your next Charity Silent Auction.
There’s a variety of Charity Silent Auction programs on the market and a lot of them make your job easier, bring value to your efforts and improve results. If you are looking for a supplier for your next auction, ask for references and be sure they can deliver their service in Canada.
Dale Carter is the Director of New Business MobilBid at NDI, a privately-owned technology company based in Toronto, Canada focussing on the academic and non-profit markets. MobilBid is Canada’s only full-featured mobile bidding platform designed and engineered in Canada for non-profits both large and small.
The surging popularity of mobile bidding platforms and the advantages of using these systems has dramatically improved not just the streamlining of the silent auction process, but also the results – the monies raised.
Early Days of Mobile Bidding
The first companies to offer mobile bidding provided their service using pre-programmed devices – modified tablets – and a dedicated wireless network. The result being that a charity silent auction would offer two or three rented tablets per table shared by eight or a dozen guests. And a dedicated wireless network set up on site by a team of technicians to “deliver” the auction. Safe, sound, and self-contained – at a cost.
This system offered the convenience of “mobile” bidding, but the novelty – because of the cost of renting units and paying a technical team to set up and manage the auction – was expensive. Too expensive in most cases for smaller fundraisers and many non-profits.
These systems offered an improved bidding method but did little to overcome the challenges of signing guests into the auction, ongoing bidder engagement or resolve payment options and the chaos of closing. And sharing bidding devices was never a good idea.
Enter the Smartphone
More recently, as the smartphone gained popularity and mobile technology improved, better mobile bidding charity silent auction platforms have evolved. This has in most cases eliminated the need for a dedicated wireless network.
Some of these new platforms – including our own MobilBid – combine special software with smartphone bidding technology – to set up and manage the event- with advanced mobile technology to automate the entire silent auction process.
In the case of MobilBid, we set out to provide a full-featured, easy to use, effective silent auction system that could be self-managed by our clients. MobilBid has eliminated the need – and cost – of specialized technical support to set up and manage an event.
Since its introduction just a few short years ago, MobilBid is now used effectively at hundreds of silent auctions annually. MobilBid consumes very little cellphone data, is fast, efficient, easy to use, and a real crowd-pleaser.
Guests are familiar with their own phones, so there is a minimal learning curve. Phones
eliminate device sharing, the bother of logging in and out when passing devices from guest to guest and the annoying challenge of dealing with mixed-up bids and ensuing billing problems.
MobilBid uses a cellphone-based platform and works well at most venues. So, if there is an acceptable cell signal, your guests will be able to participate, view items and bid with confidence. And organizers will benefit from the full suite of features.
A Weak Cellphone Signal
Sometimes, a cellphone signal can be degraded due to geography, building design or venue location within a building, or a combination of all three. If you have any doubt about reception, we recommend testing the venue for suitability.
You can test the signal easily when you visit the site. Simply use your smartphone to access the MobilBid Real-Time Demo Auction by Texting “demo” to 647-699-0027 and observe the speed at which you can log in, browse items and make bids. If it works effectively for you, it will work for your guests.
If the ability to text and receive the initial response is good, but you find the login, browse and bid functions are slow, then you should consider providing Wi-Fi access for your guests – usually the venue manager can help.
And because of the popularity of cellphone use – think social media and messaging – in public places and at social events, many hotels and event venues now use commercial cellphone signal boosters. Certainly, worth another question for the manager.
Oh, Oh! No Signal. Now What?
If, for whatever reason, if there is no cell signal for smartphone bidding technology, then we encourage you to you consider a vendor other than MobilBid. A vendor, that can supply dedicated devices and a supporting network to run the auction, set up and managed by a team of technicians. A lot more expensive and less convenient, but certain to assure a reliable platform.
Or, if all else fails, then you can fall back on the old-fashioned paper bid sheet method to run your silent auction. Just be prepared to spend a little longer at checkout deciphering bid sheets and preparing billing invoices.
There is no question that managing a fundraising campaign can present challenges. Organizing a successful, full-scale fundraising campaign seems even more daunting. However, if you need to quickly learn how to fundraise for your group, or even how to plan a fundraising event, these tips can help.
1. Work Backwards from your Goal when Managing a Fundraising Campaign
When you decide to start managing a fundraising campaign, it’s important to define your goals.
Unlike a single fundraising event, a fundraising campaign must build and sustain momentum over several weeks, months or even years with close attention paid to continuity and sharing information and results with both the public and your supporters.
You can have a narrow goal, like raising money towards a specific goal, but most fundraising campaigns are multi-purpose. Aside from raising money, fundraising campaigns can be helpful in educating the public, raising awareness to gain support for a cause, or boosting community spirit.
To begin, write down your fundraising goals. You will find it easier to share them when recruiting your fundraiser committee members and in preparing informational material.
If you have the luxury of a large budget or you are willing to share a significant portion of the money you raise, you can hire a reputable charity fundraising company to lend advice or manage the entire campaign. But if you work hard to fundraise for your cause, don’t spend those fundraised dollars when you don’t have to.
2. Choose your Committee Members Carefully
Once you’ve established your fundraising objectives, it’s time to recruit your fundraiser committee members.
Chances are you will need a diverse group of individuals each with a skill set that will help you achieve your fundraising goals, and with the desire to share your ambition and work together.
When managing a fundraising campaign, you should choose to include these types of fundraising committee members:
A financial person to help manage the raised funds or charitable donations, and keep track of money spent
A communications person or publicist to help market the event and create public support (bring the bidders)
A great organizer to keep everyone focused on the fundraising goals
A team player who manages and motivates volunteers
If you are working as a third-party fundraiser to fundraise for non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, or other groups, meet with them about your plans and align your message with theirs. In most cases, they will share the ground rules you need to represent their cause and provide a liaison person and the resources to help ensure your success.
3. Volunteers – Everybody Knows Somebody Who Knows Somebody
Despite the insight and expertise of committee members, almost everyone agrees that the success of any fundraising venture is because of dedicated, hardworking volunteers. Next, recruit some fundraiser volunteers!
Your first source should be your committee members. If they have a history of helping in the community or started their involvement as fundraiser volunteers themselves, then they have a good idea of how to find potential volunteers.
If you are working with your community or as a third-party fundraiser, then once you have defined your goals, you could run local ads or ask the organization you are representing to assist in recruiting help.
When you have agreed on responsibilities for each fundraising committee member, then determine their needs and together assign volunteers.
4. There is Never Enough Time
Done properly, managing a fundraising campaign requires a lot of time and organization to run smoothly and meet the fundraising goals. To be successful a fundraising campaign requires several events, time, effort, and coordination.
One way to manage multi-events is to assign specific event management responsibilities to fundraiser committee members. As each fundraising event is completed, reassign members of that group to those fundraising events still in the planning stages.
By starting and learning from the initial events, the experience gained can be invaluable in planning the next successful fundraising event. The early events build momentum as you move further into your campaign toward the finale, which could be a major event such as a gala, to celebrate the success of your fundraising campaign.
5. Brand Your Fundraising Campaign
Never underestimate the power of branding when managing a fundraising campaign. A strong promotional brand helps draw supporters to your cause and give your campaign workers a rallying point. Promote your fundraiser brand in all your support materials, across social media channels, and on your dedicated website and donations page.
6. Decide on Types of Fundraising Events
Once you and your committee begin planning individual fundraising events and venues, you must consider the length of time your fundraising campaign will be running, the season (weather is important for outside events), and the workload of your committee and volunteer groups.
When you brainstorm fundraising ideas, use your imagination. In the past decade, technology has dramatically changed many traditional fundraising standbys. Individual donations can now be made on a dedicated donation website page or at live fundraising events through any one of several text-to-give options using smartphones.
7. Silent Charity Auctions
Silent auctions – an all-time favourite – have also undergone a major tech makeover in the past decade. Part of their popularity is their ability to work within almost any charity fundraising event:
Small local events
Golf tournaments and many more
No longer are we dependent on silent auction bid sheets; technology has rekindled the popularity of silent auctions by offering a variety of auction platforms where invited guests can participate using shared tablets, computers, or smartphones. Unfortunately, the cost of these services has been out of reach for smaller non-profits and small local groups, such as schools, churches, and teams.
Early versions of this type were costly because they required technicians to build auctions and manage events. Using these platforms increased participation and bidding, but while raising more money, a good portion was lost to the added expense of consultants and technicians.
The widespread popularity of smartphones and the rise of technology led to mobile fundraising platforms that have eliminated the need for consultants and technicians and placed the programs in the hands of the fundraisers.
Our product, MobilBid, features easy-to-use software to build the auction, and a fun bidding experience that guests access using their smartphones. Along with its ease of use and flexibility, MobilBid was designed for fundraising events both large and small. And unlike many similar products with complicated pricing based on several factors, MobilBidpricing is based solely on performance.
8. The Importance of Celebrating Victories
It’s important to celebrate your victories along the way when managing a fundraising campaign to keep your team motivated and moving together toward your overall fundraising goals. Be sure to post your results on your website and social media to keep your volunteers and supporters updated on your progress.
At the same time, it’s a good idea to discuss what your members have learned from the event you are celebrating to improve performance at the next fundraising event.
From your unique fundraising ideas to the success of your fundraising campaign, never lose sight of your fundraising goals and the people who helped you reach them.
If you haven’t heard, mobile bidding for silent auctions is now one of the hottest fundraising trends in North America.
Mobile bidding at your next silent auction will increase your fundraising dollars, relieve stress, and make your event a huge success with guests and volunteers.
Why is mobile bidding a great fundraising idea?
Mobile bidding is a great fundraising idea because it has moved beyond the need for a team of technicians to set up and manage events, and upped the silent auction game with sleek, full-featured fundraising platforms that are affordable, effective, and easy to use. Non-profits of any size can now build and manage their own charity silent auctions and guests are able to use their own smartphones to participate.
What’s the secret?
No secret. Mobile bidding auctions can be expensive, from building an auction site to requiring technical support and the extensive optional add-on list. But at MobilBid, we have combined cutting-edge, intuitive software with today’s mobile technology to design an advanced mobile bidding auction platform that delivers ease of use and great results at a fraction of the usual cost.
So, what are the advantages of MobilBid compared to a standard paper-based auction at a charity silent auction event?
Where do we start?
It’s simple – mobile bidding puts your silent auction items at your guests’ fingertips, using their own smartphones. MobilBid offers a pre-registration or quick sign-up with a text message to a special phone number, which invites guests to join in to review items and categories, and then bid using their own phones. No apps to download; no QR codes to decipher.
Mobile bidding encourages guests to bid from anywhere – no more rushing back and forth to check auction bid sheets – re-bid alerts are answered with a one-click response to keep them in the game.
Mobile bidding encourages competition (friendly, we hope!) and this leads to more bidding and more funds raised.
MobilBid offers bidders the option to enter a maximum bid and let the system bid for them until the limit is reached when they will receive another alert.
Mobile bidding even lets you invite folks not in attendance to participate.
If you are still unsure if mobile bidding is the solution for your silent auction, check out what our clients have to say.
Closing the deal
So, bidding on auction items is easy, and more people means more bids. The major challenge in any charity auction event is closing. How does mobile bidding streamline the closing process?
Closing protocol varies from system to system; some mobile bidding programs still use a conventional close, by tabulating bids manually and then printing invoices for the winners.
MobilBid offers mobile payment – that’s just as easy as mobile bidding. The system keeps a running total for each bidder. The moment the auction closes, detailed invoices are sent to winners with a prompt that lets them pay instantly from their phones.
Payment triggers a receipt directly to a guest’s phone, used to pick up the auction items. Guests can also pay by cash, cheque, or other merchant payment systems.
An optional feature requests credit card info before guests place their first bid. When the silent auction closes – within seconds – the system processes winners’ cards and sends detailed receipts are used to pick up their items.
Instant auction bids – instant payments – instant receipts. How much does this mobile bidding tech cost the fundraising group?
Pricing is important. We offer performance pricing based on how well our clients and our mobile bidding platform perform. We call it transparent pricing because unlike some others, there are no hidden fees or charges.
We don’t charge for an open account, ongoing or training fees, and no user fees of any sort until the mobile bidding platform is used in an auction. Then, we charge a reasonable performance fee as a percentage on raised funds. We also offer a cap on our fee, because we respect the needs of the non-profits we serve. Here’s the scoop on pricing.
Last but not least, we understand the importance of analytics, so we capture guest contact information and bidding stats by product and category for future planning. This data increases accuracy and ends manually collecting and recording data. Custom reports can be arranged.
Try MobilBid Now!
Join Our Real-Time Demo Auction. Simply Text “demo” to 647-699-0053.