Fundraising Blog

Your Go-To Online Fundraising Guide

Dee Brannick
Fundraising specialist, Co-Founder of GalaBid

Love the idea of digital, online fundraising but baffled about the jargon? Unsure whether a silent auction or live auction is right for you? Worried you don’t know the difference between consignment and self-sourced prizes?

Don’t worry, we’ve got all the low-down you need to make your next fundraiser a breeze.

Fundraising Auction

Let’s start with the basics!

Online fundraising auctions raise money for charities, non-profits and community causes.  Items such as beauty hampers, jewelery, sports memorabilia and vacations are sourced* and made available for people to bid on.

Bidding can take place online or at a live event. The highest bidder wins the prize.

*see ‘sourcing fundraising prizes’ below

Online Silent Auction Platform

An online auction platform is a fundraising auction that takes place either 100% online or in support of a live fundraising event.

Participants can bid for items in the auction via their mobile device.  Bids are made in real-time.

Auction participants can be onsite at an event or bidding at home in their PJs!.

Online Fundraising Auction Website

A dedicated website where the digital fundraising auction takes place.

The website has all the information your supporters and donors need to help your cause, including: prize catalogue, auction, cause information and fundraising targets.

A service provider like GalaBid will give you access to everything you need to set up your personalized site.

An auction website platform may have limited mobile compatibility. Double check with your provider to make sure the set-up is what you need. GalaBid’s platform is both mobile and desktop compatible.

Sourcing Fundraising Prizes


This is how fundraisers get prizes for their auction. It can take a bit of time to self-source prizes as you’ll need to canvas the local community, businesses and supporters for donations.  


An alternative is to use a consignment service.  Consignment means the prizes have been sourced from a provider (like GalaBid).  Using consignment prizes can be faster and easier than self-sourcing items and it can give access to hard-to-source items, like holidays or memorabilia.

Cost structures differ depending on the supplier. Galabid offers fundraising prize packages on a no-risk basis. If the prize doesn’t sell, there’s no cost to the organisation.  

Fundraising Prize Catalogue

Online auction platforms will often have prize catalogues available online for bidders to view.  To make it easy the digital catalogue should also allow people to bid on the items.

Cash Donation

Many fundraising auctions will have a cash donation element.  It’s a fast and easy way for people to help a cause.

Supporters can make a direct donation to the charity or non-profit via an online donation platform.

Digital Raffle

An online raffle is just like a traditional raffle, minus the paper and with added ease! Raffle tickets are bought using an online link and 'tickets' are issued via SMS or email.

The draw takes place using an online and secure automated system that picks winning tickets at random. Winners are immediately notified via SMS or email. Real-time updates are available to let people know important milestones, such as opening and closing times.


Real-time means there’s no delay between an action starting and the result. For example, when someone makes a bid on an auction prize, that bid is registered the moment it happens.  

Or, if a fundraiser wants to let people know that the auction is closing in five minutes a real-time notification will pop-up on participants’ devices straight away.

The best online auction platforms will have no delay between the bid being made and logged. This is especially important for high volume bids where competition is fierce!

Starting Bids/Minimum Bids

To make sure prizes don’t undersell, auction organisers set a starting bid or minimum bid e.g. a luxury holiday to Hawaii may have a minimum bid of $1,000.

This still enables bidders to get a great deal but also ensures the charity or cause can generate a healthy return from the sale.


If lots of people are bidding for a particular prize and you want to keep the auction running a little longer, you can hit the overtime button.

Overtime can run for as long as you like. An extra 5-10 minutes is probably all you’ll need. Much longer and you may exhaust your bidders’ good will!


You may be required to set-up a Stripe account to facilitate payment from your fundraising platform to your organisation’s account.  Stripe is a secure payment gateway that ensures every cent arrives at its destination safely.  It’s super easy to set-up a Stripe account, all that’s needed is a form of ID, e.g. driver’s licence, and a bank account.

About GalaBid

Ideal for donations. Perfect for Raffles. Awesome for Live and Silent Auctions! GalaBid’s online fundraising platform is designed for fundraisers of all types and sizes. For over 10 years we’ve been helping non-profits, charities, community clubs, churches, schools, and individuals to raise more and make a difference.

More Posts