5 Steps to Setup a MobilBid Virtual Auction

Woman on Computer participating in Charity Silent Auction

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

Virtual Auction Computer

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

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

Invite bidders to your virtual auction

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

Engage bidders in your virtual auction

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 your virtual auction

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.

For further information, contact Dale Carter at 855-202-4404 or carter@mobilbid.ca

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.

A Guide to the Charity Silent Auction Technology Makeover

MobilBid Charity Silent Auctions on Mobile Screen

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.

Need a Great Fundraising Idea?

Fundraising Ideas

Try mobile bidding at your next silent auction.

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Mobile bidding encourages competition (friendly, we hope!) and this leads to more bidding and more funds raised.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Silent Charity Auctions: Fundraising Goes Mobile

Silent Charity Auction using MobilBid

Try mobile bidding at your next silent auction

So, you want to have a silent charity auction, but you aren’t sure where to start? You’ve been to a silent auction event or two, with paper bid sheets and guests clumping together, all trying to outbid their neighbour.

Or perhaps you’ve attended a silent auction, where a team of technicians has overseen an auction that featured mobile bidding on shared tablets or smartphones?

Well, now there is a third option that is rapidly gaining popularity. New mobile bidding platforms with advanced features and technology let you manage your own auction from start to finish at a fraction of the usual cost. And your guests use their personal smartphones to participate.

Which of these silent option ideas will you choose?

The popularity of Silent Charity Auctions

In the mid-20th century, silent charity auctions became the norm for fundraising events from large formal black-tie galas to small town charities, with parent groups raising money for schools or sports teams – and everything in between.

Modern mobile bidding innovations lead to increased guest participation, more bidding, and better- much better- results.​

Let’s face it – silent auctions made sense. To raise funds, all a fundraising group really needed was a cause, a crowd, and a display of popular auction items with paper bid sheets and pencils. This “paper system” remained the silent charity auction way for decades.

Silent Charity Auctions Come of Age

The age of technology and the universal use of computers and tablets dramatically transformed traditional silent charity auctions. Early on, charity fundraisers and non-profits suddenly had the option of electronic bidding platforms.

Initially, auctions were built by the system suppliers who also supplied technical teams to manage the events. Guests usually participated by sharing tablets to bid on auction items. Generally, closings and billings were still manual and time-consuming.

So, even though these early silent charity auction programs were easier to manage, and had the potential to be more successful, much of the raised funds were lost to consulting and management fees.

Fortunately for fundraisers, this older model of mobile bidding systems has been replaced by an advanced mobile platform, which combines the desirable features of mobile bidding with the convenience of self-administration.

Enter the Smartphone

Mobile technology makes it easier for fundraisers to design and build their own auctions. The popularity of smartphones lets guests participate, bid, and even pay, using their own phones.

New mobile bidding platforms dramatically reduce the administration required, enhance the guest experience, make less work for volunteers, and lead to better –much better – results.

The MobilBid Difference

Our company has been designing innovative online giving products for North American schools and non-profits for almost two decades. After a close study of the mobile silent charity auction offerings available, we felt we could provide a better, full-featured mobile bidding product at a cost within reach of almost all fundraisers.

With the help of several professional fundraisers and a few prominent non-profits, we decided to design and build our own product.

MobilBid offers:

  • Advanced features with easy to use software
  • Scalability for use at events large and small
  • Self-administered to eliminate the expense of technicians
  • An exciting guest bidding experience
  • Priced within the reach of any fundraiser looking to use mobile bidding.

While MobilBid was designed for use at live events, some clients have found the unique mobile features make it an excellent choice for online auctions.​

Research indicates that the three major challenges of silent charity auctions are guest registration, engagement, and checkout.


It’s no secret that convincing guests to participate in conventional paper-based silent charity auctions can be a challenge. Sure, most people are willing to review items, maybe even place an opening bid, but to track bidding and check for outbids requires donors to constantly revisit the silent auction items display to review paper bid sheets. This process is disruptive and can be chaotic, particularly in those few minutes before closing.

MobilBid offers three registration options:

  • With attendee contact information, organizers can email guests and pre-register them for the auction. Opening the auction in the preview mode lets guests review items and build their preferred lists for bidding on the day of the event.
  • At the event, placing posters or cards displaying the basic rules and the special registration phone number encourages guests to participate by simply texting the phone number on their mobile phone. The text triggers an immediate response inviting them to register for the auction. There are no complicated apps to download or QR codes to interpret.
  • A third option allows volunteers to register guests as they arrive.


An important success factor of any silent charity auction is keeping guests engaged and bidding. MobilBid instantly sends outbid alerts to let guests know they have been outbid. Guests simply respond with a keystroke. This encourages participation, friendly competition, and increased bidding.

MobilBid offers unlimited text messaging with each event used to update guests and highlight items and features. The leaderboard feature using monitors or large screens tracks the bidding and is a great way to recognize volunteers and sponsors.

MobilBid captures guest contact information and cached bidding and performance analytics to help plan future events.​


Any fundraiser or volunteer will tell you the major challenge of any silent charity auction is checkout. At paper-based silent charity auctions, when the auction ends, volunteers spring into action picking up bid sheets, deciphering the hand-written bidding, and then determining winners and preparing information for printed invoices. Some large events require hours to close.

The MobilBid platform:

  • Automatically tracks results by the bidder, so the moment the auction closes, the system begins sending detailed invoices to the winners.
  • Notices include a prompt allowing mobile payment.
  • Payment issues a receipt used to retrieve the won items. This automatic process not only saves time, but it also eliminates mistakes made by manual tabulation bidding information.

Bidders can also choose to lineup and pay with cash, cheque, or credit card.

An optional feature requests credit card information when guests place their first bid. Then at the close, the system immediately processes all the cards held by winning bidders and issues detailed receipts used to pick up the winning items.

Raise More Money

Mobile silent charity auctions simply raise more money. The popularity of self-administered auction platforms will continue to grow as more fundraisers discover that these easy-to-use systems offer all the benefits of mobile bidding at a fraction of the normal cost.

Try MobilBid Now!​

Join Our Real-Time Demo Auction.
Simply Text “demo” to 647-699-0053.

Questions? Want to chat?

Call Dale Carter at 1-855-202-4404   Ext. 4