So for your next fundraising auction you've decided to ditch the paper bids and go digital. Great move! Not only will you maximise your fund raising potential but you'll also create an event that's fun and interactive for your guests. Plus, getting rid of all that paper makes it a feel-good, Earth friendly switch. But who's the right digital auction provider for your organisation? There are plenty of providers to choose from - and - to help you make the right choice here are a few must-ask questions:
It might seem like a no-brainer. Your guests participate in your fundraising auction. The money is immediately debited from their credit or debit card. The funds go straight to your organisation's account. Not necessarily. Some providers may collect the funds on your behalf meaning you need to wait a certain amount of time before you can receive payment. How long will you need to wait? It may be a case of the proverbial length of string. Ideally you want the funds to go direct to your account. If not it's important the digital auction provider is contractually committed to delivering raised funds within a short timeframe.
We live in a global economy and most of us comfortable with the notion of service providers having offshore service teams. However, when things go wrong we also expect timely response rates and in the case of emergencies, immediate help. Find out where the provider's service team are based. Are they wholly overseas or do they have a local presence to deal with urgent issues? Does their local presence extend to provide on-site support when needed? This can be particularly important for organisations new to digital auctions or who are running a new type of fundraising event.
Holidays are undoubtedly the winning items when it comes to auction fundraisers. The prospect of a luxury stay in a fabulous villa somewhere warm is guaranteed to get bidders digging deep. However, one of the most common complaints about holiday items is that when bidders try to book their holiday none of the dates they need are available. People are then forced to book years in advance to get the time that suits them. It can leave guests angry and tarnish the fundraiser's reputation. Ask the digital auction provider if guests will have access to an availability calendar during the auction. If bidders can see what's available and when they can have confidence that their dream trip can take place when it suits them â€“ not the consignment provider.