About Online Auctions

30 Dec 2011 By Roger Devine

Many of our customers are either gung-ho about doing an online auction, or curious about it. It’s one of the reasons they like our software - with a Standard annual plan, you can do both, without having to pay any percentage of the sales to the auction platform.

Online auctions have obvious benefits over gala auctions - you don’t have to sell tickets, you don’t have to rent a hall, you don’t have to hire a caterer.

They also raise less money. The reasons are pretty simple - galas generate immense social pressure, within the confines of that space and those 5-6 hours, for people to bid or give, in the presence of other community members. That’s really difficult to duplicate online. And online auction bidding tends to happen in the spaces between other things in our life - we’ll go check the auction after we finish helping the kids with homework, and before we start cooking dinner. Or, after we get back from soccer practice. And sometimes, those spaces evaporate.

This is not to say that online auctions can’t work, or aren’t a good idea - they are! But my recommendation is to make them an adjunct to your gala - run one for two weeks before your gala, in order to build excitement and possibly start the bidding on items you want to finish at the event. Or run one two weeks after the gala, to “clean up” unsold items, and offer people who couldn’t attend the event an opportunity to contribute. These complementary online auctions can help increase your take by 10-15%.

What’s your take on online auctions? Let us know in the comments!