Your auction is coming up, you are still scrambling to get items organized and images loaded into your auction platform. It always seems that so many of your requested donations come in at the last minute, doesn’t it?
You want to open your auction early, but you aren’t sure you will be ready in time. So, now you have an added stress. Without the auction open early, you won’t have people bidding in advance. Despite the revenue impacts, you also fear that your guests are going to arrive unprepared.
How can you ensure this doesn’t happen? What can you provide them to get them prepared in advance? Here are some suggestions:
1. Get your auction open & online early!
Invite your guests to your auction as soon as you can. If you have late, straggling items, either add them later or put them in and hide them, if you're mobile bidding software has that functionality.
By acquainting your guests with the auction, you can get them interested in the items you have up for auction and in the bidding mindset. The sooner you get your auction live, the better.
2. Send out an email blast with information & instructions
Your email should contain the following bits of critical information for your guests:
- You are using a mobile bidding system this year
- They can bid from their mobile devices so they need to bring their phones to the event charged up
- They can avoid check-in lines by getting signed up in advance (and be sure to include instructions on how to do that)
- If they don’t have a smartphone, tell them not to worry because you'll have bidding stations available and people to help at the event.
- If you are going to require a credit card in order to bid, tell your guests in advance so they can either enter it early or have it ready when they arrive
If your mobile bidding company has instructional videos, those can also be helpful.
Here is one that some of our guests use at Handbid to help bidders get acquainted with the Handbid app in advance:
3. Provide information, signage and tip sheets at the venue
There will always be guests didn’t read your email and they arrive without a clue about what is going on? All hope is NOT lost.
Here are some things you can do to clue-in the clueless:
- Have 1-2 greeters at the door. They should greet the guests, give them a short explanation of what is going on, encourage them to get setup while they wait to get checked-in, and direct them on where to go to get registered.
- Put “tip sheets” in the check-in area for guests to pick up. These "tip sheets" are great ways to include the most essential information that people need to know. For example, you could print out the Wi-Fi network name and password, or key details about when the silent auction closes. Feel free to customize these, but remember, keep them simple!
- Put signage up around the event that helps guests. These could be signs in the auction area “Download Handbid from the App Store to bid!” At Handbid, we provide templates and samples of all of these signs and posters that people can use.
BONUS TIP! Provide an incentive for those that get setup in advance
Our customers come up with awesome ideas all on their own and we love to share them when they do. One popular thing to do is to create some incentives for guests who arrive at the event all setup, logged in and bidding in your auction.
Here are some of those ideas:
- One school gave out a free coffee coupon at a local coffee shop for anyone who showed up the week before the event in the carpool/drop-off lane and showed the Handbid app installed on their phone
- The Washington Capitals entered all “registered” bidders by 4pm the day of their event in a drawing to win a free team-signed hockey stick
- Another organization had a “skip the line and hit the bar” entrance at their event where bidders who arrived with the Handbid app up and running could enter through a separate entrance, grab a free drink ticket, and head to the bar
We have heard of tons more of these sort of examples. If you have one you want to share, please provide a comment here. Otherwise, feel free to ask questions or share this blog posts with your friends and colleagues who are planning their next big event using mobile bidding.
Interested in getting more tips and ideas on how to develop tip sheets and signage for your silent auction? We have a ton of resources (tip sheets, posters, etc.) and are constantly adding more. You can review and download some of our tips from our knowledge base:
This blog was published on the March 2, 2016, and has been updated to account for the freshness of content and accuracy.