silent auction software

The 10 Best Software Options to Run Your Silent Auction

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Jules

If you have ever run an auction of any kind, you are probably no stranger to the work that goes into them! It takes a ton of effort to keep everything running smoothly. Tracking items and managing bids within the bounds of compliance monitoring is never easy, so once you have come up with some silent auction ideas, it is time to look into silent auction software.

Let's take a look at some of the best silent auction software on the market in 2022. We will provide an overview of which features to look out for to make sure you choose the best one for your organization.

Let’s go!

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What is Silent Auction Software?

Silent charity auctions are a great way to fundraise for your nonprofit. They are highly engaging and often tons of fun for participants. They potentially bring your supporters the opportunity to own some interesting items, and what you sell should depend on who your target audience is. 

Silent auction software exists to make the organizing of your event much easier. Any great software can virtually eliminate the monotonous tasks that you would otherwise have to do to keep the auction running. For example, tracking items and bidders can get very confusing. Yet software ensures you do not have to waste any time managing bids so you can focus on managing the event as a whole. 

David ready to use a silent auction softwareDavid is ready to get up to speed on silent auction software!

Additionally, any great silent auction software will help organizers plan their events by bringing structure to their great silent auction ideas; it will also help them capture bids, and remain in compliance throughout the event by following all the essential silent auction rules. All of these things would require a dedicated team if you were hosting your silent auction entirely on your own, without the help of any technology.

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The Benefits of Using Silent Auction Software

When you leave the tedious tasks to your software, you free up valuable time to prep your items and focus on growing your nonprofit in other areas. You can also run more than one event at the same time - perhaps both an in-person and online auction fundraiser - which can potentially bring you far more donations in a shorter period. 

Your scheduling limitations are much less rigid when you do not have to do everything manually, both during and after the event. When the sending of silent auction receipts, for example, is completely automated, you can spend more time planning your next event, instead of focusing on the one that just happened. 

Marketing and running these events can be a very stressful thing; creating clear communications between everyone on the team is a huge task in and of itself. Software can ensure everyone has a role, and that they stick to it: when everyone knows what they are doing and how to do it, because their organization’s software is that easy to use, the other more creative elements behind how to run a silent auction become evident.

When you create ease in your backend processes, you get more done. That means your silent auction software can not only mitigate your team’s stress, but save you time! 

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7 Must-Have Features To Make Your Silent Auction A Success

To get the most out of your silent auction software, there are some built-in features that you will always want to look for. Check for the following options as you review different software and ensure you choose an inclusive option. 

Stock Management 

It is important to have the locations of each item listed, along with keeping tabs on the shipping process once you mail it. Your software should offer a good item tracking system to help you keep everything on schedule, and any relevant people completely updated. 

Real-Time Bid Tracking

In an auction effectuated entirely without the help of nonprofit management software, you would most likely have one person receiving, tracking, and managing bids, one person tracking the final bidding price of items, one person gathering the highest bidder’s shipping info, and one person removing the item from the sales area. When you employ software, however, it can do all of this for you! At the end of the event, you can check in to all the most important information, send notifications, and begin the process of getting those items to their new owners. 

Detailed Analytics

The better analytics software you have access to, the more you can dial into your performance to reach your goals faster. You can use it to learn which items were likely the most popular, by judging which got the most bids. You may be able to access timestamps for the points in which the viewership was at its highest. Knowing these things gives you more tools to keep in your pocket for next time. 

Emily taking note of must-have featuresEmily is taking note of all these must-have features!

Gift Matching

There are many companies who are willing and able to match donations or transactions that your nonprofit processes. If this is something you are looking for, check for software that has access to a database of potential gift doublers. If it does, you can likely reach out to them directly from the sotware with information about your event, and the donation request.

Maximum and Minimum Bids

Your software should allow you to set a specific amount that bidding should not surpass, and once someone bids the amount, the item is theirs. This is for a few important reasons. Firstly, it keeps you circulating through the items, as it is important to keep up the pace. It also keeps people from paying obscene amounts of money for items just to realize the MSRP - the suggested retail price as determined by the manufacturer - is much lower. 

Your software should also account for a minimum bid, which it will not allow individuals to bid under. This ensures that an item is not sold for an obscenely low, and profitable amount.

Watchlists

When you create a page for people to watch items, they are more likely to swoop in with a higher bid just before it sells. People often do not want to compete with other bidders, but they know they will pay the maximum bid. For this reason, you may be able to secure their purchase by allowing them to follow your auction from a distance with a good watchlist. 

AI Integrations

Some software, such as Donorsearch, has the capability to utilize AI to connect you with supporters. Using complex algorithms, it shows your nonprofit’s marketing directly to people who may already have an affinity for your cause. This is obviously not 100% necessary to have in your arsenal, but it can certainly help to slingshot the success of your event. 

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Silent Auction Software Providers To Explore in 2022

Here are some solutions for you to explore that have one (or several) of the previously listed features. It can be time-consuming to comb through loads of information as you look for the best platform for your nonprofit. That’s why we made it easy! We have got you covered with a light overview, including the pricing for each of the options listed.

DonorSearch

Remember when we mentioned AI? Well, if you want to experience what it can do for your nonprofit, check out DonorSearch. They create solutions for nonprofits of all sizes, and they are passionate about helping to build fruitful relationships. DonorSearch is for any organization looking to expand its network.  

They accumulate information on donors and calculate their capacity to have an impact on your organization in the future. They do this by generating awareness around the individual's wealth in comparison with their affinity to your cause. All of this is done behind the scenes with fascinating AI technology, and it can very efficiently help to expand the reach of your fundraisers. It costs $209 per company, per month, but they offer a demo for trial purposes. 

Handbid

Another all-inclusive option for auction management, Handbid creates fully remote events, complete with mobile bidding for payments. You can stream a live event, create text-to-give campaigns, or host peer-to-peer fundraising, all within their convenient software. 

You can request a demo to test it out for yourself, or you can purchase it based on how many events you will need to run. You can pay $792 for one event each year, or $2,496 for multiple events throughout the year. 

Qgiv

Qgiv is a highly specialized solution with powerful integrations. It helps with peer-to-peer fundraising, text fundraising, and all kinds of events. It also helps you create donation forms, plan auctions, and any other fundraising endeavor you might imagine. 

Qgiv provides partial services starting at $25 a month, with the full arsenal of features available at $230 a month. It is very easy to navigate, so it is also a great option for organizations that are not entirely tech-savvy. 

OneCause

OneCause is designed to manage several virtual or live fundraising events at a time, so in theory, your organization could host one silent auction online and one in person at the same time! OneCause offers a variety of tools to streamline and simplify your silent auction fundraiser. This includes things like reporting and analytics, campaign management, and online and phone support. 

OneCause does not disclose their pricing online. If you want to look into them further, get in touch with a sales representative for more information.

Greater Giving 

This fundraising software offers a wide range of services for virtual events, but also supports hybrid and live events with equal competence, including silent auctions. Event services connects you with consultants that can help you maximize event performance, and their client services team will help determine specific needs for your silent auction campaign. 

Sam searching silent auction providersSam is checking out some of these providers!

Greater Giving also does not disclose their pricing online, so you have to contact a sales representative for more information.

BiddingOwl

BiddingOwl is highly accessible for many nonprofits as it has tons of free tools. It charges a 5% fee only for online auctions based on auction performance. It is an all-in-one auction management tool, with free technical support and extra fundraising information. Their website is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate.

BiddingOwl helps you to print bid sheets, sell raffle tickets, and allow your supporters to preview items and event details. When your auction is fully online, they charge that 5% fee, which means five dollars to every hundred - a competitive pricing structure.  

Auctria

Auctria helps to create a smooth auction with an extensive management engine, including the option for mobile bidding. It can help you run your auction from the first donation to the final collection, and they have hosted 30 thousand auctions with 2.5 million bidders. It can be a powerful tool for nonprofits of any size. 

They offer a free trial and a free version, but there are limitations. For no-cost, Auctria can help you accept $10,000 yearly, but if you host auctions regularly, this will not be enough. If you want full access, you will pay $300 per year or $600 per year, depending on how many additional features or how much additional income you will be accepting. 

GiveSmart

GiveSmart is a mobile bidding event management solution for fundraisers both large and small. They work with nonprofits to create a ticketing portal, and offer guest and silent auction event management tools. GiveSmart is a great option for anyone, and it is once again an all-inclusive tool. 

GiveSmart offers a free demo, but they are not completely transparent about pricing, so you have to contact them for more info. They offer data analytics for all kinds of online fundraising events, including donor management and hybrid fundraising. 

32Auctions

To bring you one last silent auction software, we give you 32Auctions. It is another option that can be cost-efficient, allowing you to create and host your auction with up to 20 items for free. Organizations must upgrade to a service package for premium support, brand consistency, and advanced insights; but the free version is great for small organizations. 

32Auctions is extremely straightforward and simple Their event planning is smooth and to the point, making it a great option for people who might not be so tech-savvy.

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Final Thoughts

No matter which tool you choose for your silent auction software, you should now be well prepared to make the most of it. A silent auction is an awesome opportunity to create a greater level of engagement with your audience, so utilize these aids to maximize the impact of yours.

There are a lot of platforms on the market, so it is important to explore a few of them before you make your final decision. Keep a list of your favorite features; it is vital to get something that is compatible with your organization. Hopefully, you will click away from this article with a good idea of how to bring your silent auction into reality. Happy bidding! 

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FAQ

💡How do you organize a silent auction?

Get all of your items together, and photograph them with high quality. Determine the date and length for your auction, and create your promotional material. Once your software is set and ready to go, begin promoting the event. Find out more. 

🔑 What are the benefits of using a silent auction software?

A donation tax receipt is proof of donation for a donor, so that they can write the amount of the donation off on their taxes. Find out more. 

📝 What are the best silent auction software available?

GiveSmart, BiddingOwl, DonorSearch, Handbid, Qgiv are some of the best on the market. Find out more.  

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Jules
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