Your Go-To Guide: Online Auction Terms

We’ve all been there. You’re in conversation with someone important and they mentioned a fundraising related term that you think you probably should know but you’re stumped.  Do you:

a) Nod along in the vague hope the conversation will move on quickly?

b) Ask the person you’re talking with to explain the term?

c) Turn bright red, mumble something about an emergency and bolt for the bathroom?

Chances are most of us will opt for a) or c)!  So to ensure you glide into your next fundraising conversation with the cool confidence of an especially chilled cucumber, here’s our guide to must-know terms:

Fundraising Auction

A nice and easy start! Fundraising auctions raise money for charities and non-profits.  Items such as holidays, experiences, wine and chocolates are made available for people to bid on. The highest bidder wins the prize.

Online Auction Platform

An online auction platform is just that: an auction that takes place online.  Participants can bid for items in the auction via their mobile device.  Bids are often made in real-time. Auction participants don’t necessarily have to be onsite to bid.

Auction Website Platform

A dedicated website that houses online fundraising auction.  An auction website platform may have limited mobile compatibility so double check with your provider to make sure the set-up is what you need.

Live Auction

Takes place onsite at a fundraising event and often facilitated by an auctioneer or MC.  Bids can be taken from participants by raised paddles/hands or via the online auction platform.

Silent Auction

Can be associated with a live fundraising event or as a stand-alone auction.  The auction takes place online with winners notified by SMS or email.

Sourcing Prizes

This is how fundraisers get prizes for their auction. They’ll often canvas businesses and supporters for donations e.g. a massage from a local beauty salon.


Consignment items are a great option for marquee prizes (e.g. luxury holidays) that are difficult to source. A supplier provides the prize to an organisation to sell.  Cost structures differ depending on the supplier. Galabid offers prize packages on a no-risk basis. If the prize doesn’t sell, there’s no cost to the organisation.  

Prize Catalogue

Online auction platforms will often have prize catalogues available online for bidders to view.  Some catalogues will also facilitate bidding.

Cash Donation

Many fundraising auctions will have a cash donation element.  Supporters can make a direct donation to the charity or non-profit via the online auction platform.


Bids are registered as they happen.  The best online auction platforms will have no delay between the bid being made and logged. Critical for high volume bids where competition is fierce!

Starting Bids/Minimum Bids

To ensure prizes don’t undersell, auction organisers fix a starting bid or minimum bid e.g. a luxury holiday to Bali may have a minimum bid of $1,000.





GalaBid is CrowdComms’ fundraising software, developed inhouse, which facilitates bidding, donations, purchases, payment for and management of all fundraising activities before and during live fundraising events, galas, golf days etc.