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Mobile bidding is a paperless bidding method that allows auction guests to bid directly from their phones, making giving easy and raising more revenue for your cause. But it’s more than just an easy bidding process—mobile bidding can streamline your entire event from start to finish.

Mobile bidding is growing in popularity and an increasing number of companies are offering it. Philanthropic giving in general has gravitated toward online donations in recent years, which has inspired many fundraisers to create new methods of fundraising in other areas. Through this, mobile bidding was born.

In this article, we’ll cover how mobile bidding can benefit your next charity auction, the features you should look for, and how to pick the right solution for your organization. Let’s dive in!


mobile bidding - woman bidding on mobile phone

1. Benefits of Mobile Bidding

One of the most impactful benefits of mobile bidding is convenience. When bidding is easy and convenient during your auction, more guests will participate. Rather than getting up to check and see if they have been outbid on the paper sheets during a silent auction, your guests can simply update their bid from their phone.

Mobile bidding also allows for:

  • Outbid notifications. Guests stay on top of the items they’re bidding on.
  • Raffle ticket sales. Guests can easily purchase fixed price items and take part in these fun add-ons to your event.
  • Donation appeals. Guests can donate directly to your cause.
  • Maximum bids. Guests can let the mobile bidding app do the work for them.
  • Previews. Guests can preview auction items and jumpstart their bidding before the event.
  • Remote bidding. Individuals not present at the event still participate.

The more ways there are to get involved in your event, the more revenue you’ll build and the more engagement from your guests. Make the event fun and easy and you’ll set up your auction for success!

Also read: Should Your Nonprofit Have a Fundraising App?

2. Mobile Bidding Features

Of the features you should look for in your mobile bidding solution, event management, item procurement, gamification, and data tracking stand out. Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Event Management:

No one likes to wait in a long line, and your charity auction should be no exception. Typically when a charity auction opens and closes, people need to register at the start of the event and wait in line to check out at its conclusion.

Mobile bidding works to eliminate long lines and streamline your process. You’ll still want to recruit volunteers to help run your event and check guests in and out, but with mobile bidding thrown into the mix, you’ll be able to do things like:

  • Easily capture guest information.
  • Swipe credit cards for express checkout.
  • Check guests in on their mobile phones.
  • Offer discounts during registration.
  • Collect seating requests.

It’s much easier when your registration process is done entirely through mobile technology. More guests will be pre-registered when they arrive and ready to go! Make sure your volunteers stand out with event t-shirts so your guests know who to go to for help with registration onsite, as well as checkout.

If you cover your bases and have most guests pre-registered, the lines will be almost nonexistent!

Item Procurement:

Your charity auction won’t make it far if you don’t procure appealing auction items that encourage higher bids. In order to manage item procurement, look for mobile bidding software that allows donors to donate items online and makes it easy to track the progress of obtaining these items.

For example, you should be able to:

  • Generate solicitation letters.
  • Track the status of each item.
  • Log each item’s location.
  • Bundle items into packages.

Item procurement doesn’t have to be a daunting task, but it’s still important to find items that will encourage donors to place bids and keep them excited and engaged. If you’re looking for some awesome charity auction item ideas, check out our Pinterest board.


Mobile bidding is also meant to help motivate and further engage your guests. When you add gamification elements to your event, you can encourage friendly competition among your bidders and inspire others to get their names on the board, too.

For example, you can:

  • Showcase current bids at your event.
  • Highlight donation progress.
  • Recognize donors.
  • Inspire friendly competition.

Gamification is a great feature of mobile bidding that will make your event more engaging. Raise the revenue you need and create long-term relationships with your guests as a result of their positive experience.

Also read: 10 Tips to Make Your Silent Auction a Success

Data Tracking:

One of the most important parts of running a charity auction is managing and acting on your data. When you can successfully track analytics from your event, you’ll know a few things, such as:

  • What items sold well.
  • What items didn’t.
  • How your event performed overall.

You can then act on these findings and use them to host an even better event next time. But you can also take this a step further.

For example, before your event, if you notice you have major donors who haven’t RSVP’d for your auction (which you can view through your registration component), you can reach out to them personally and invite them. This can help increase your chances of raising more from their bids and further cultivate your relationship with them.

Your software should also integrate with your nonprofit CRM so you can keep track of guest information. This will allow you to track your donations and registrations, and customize post-event thank-you messages to those who attended or donated in some way.

Staying on top of your data is the key to forging long-term relationships with your donor base, but also putting on successful events. Make your charity auction stand out with a great foundation built from your donor data.

3. Choosing the Right Solution

Whether you’re new to the fundraising scene or a seasoned professional, planning an event takes a lot of organization, resources, and people. Incorporating software into the mix can help to streamline your planning process, keep your guests engaged, and drive the revenue you need.

But it’s important to pick the right software for your organization and budget. Follow these steps to make the right investment for you:

  1. Take a close look at your current process and decide what you need. Look at areas of your auctions that need improvement. For example, are you using paper bids? If so, are they difficult to decipher at the end of the night? If so, mobile bidding may make it easier for you to tally the results.
  2. Look at your budget. While the upfront investment may seem like a lot, it can be worth it down the line if you bring in more revenue from your auctions. Keep this in mind as you determine if you can make the initial investment.

Take a look at your current process and decide if you could benefit from incorporating these new resources. More likely than not, they will help you boost your revenue and work toward your mission.

There are many ways mobile bidding can benefit your next charity auction, so be sure to choose the right solution for you. If you’re looking for more information about how to get your next auction started, check out the OneCause guide to charity auctions. Good luck!


About the author:

Kelly Velasquez-Hague brings over 20 years of fundraising, nonprofit management, and sales/marketing experience to her role as the Director of Content Marketing for OneCause. As a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Kelly manages all of the company’s content strategy and execution. She is passionate about empowering great missions and loves that her current role allows her to continue to help nonprofits reach new donors raise more funds for their cause.

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