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11 May 2017

How To Run An Online Auction Before Your Fundraising Event 

A great way to increase revenue for your upcoming fundraising event is to create a pre-event online auction site.

There is often a misconception that people can only participate in fundraising activity at the actual event. However, we encourage you to think further afield to the thousands of people who cannot attend the event who are also a great source of additional revenue.

The lead up to the live event is the perfect opportunity to launch an online auction site. This is where you can showcase all of your silent auction items and open them up to your guests in advance, as well as others who may not be able to attend. It often builds anticipation and interest for the event whilst encouraging donors to take part in the auction to offer greater contribution directly to the charity. 

The online auction can be populated with all of the same auction lots which will carry across to your live event, thus saving you time. Once it’s live, it’s important to communicate it to your guests, internal mailing list, on your charity website and through social media.

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When should I start my auction?

To make the most out of your fundraising website you need to consider your launch date, as this will be crucial to its success.

Either a Thursday or Friday evening is the best day for the auction to begin, as this means the auction will be viewed over the weekend, which is peak time for activity. Targeting commuters on their way home creates a viewing window, thus creating interest and optimal viewing over the weekend.

How long should I run my auction for?

You need to engage your guests by giving them enough time to view all your items on display, and encourage pre-event bidding. However, if you leave it too long bidders will begin to lose interest.

In our experience the optimal period for your auction to be open is between 7 and 14 days. This is enough time for guests to familiarise themselves with the auction and any specific auction lots they might be interested in bidding on. Over this period, guests will begin to place bids on the most desirable of lots, encouraging other guests to become enthralled with the bidding activity creating healthy competition thus raising you more.

How should I launch my auction?

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Once you have chosen your ‘go live’ date for your fundraising website you need to consider how you will be communicating this out to your donors. Your aim is to communicate the site out to as many people as possible once it has gone live.

We encourage you to utilise your internal database, sending out invitations to people to come and view the website and start the bidding. By using this method, you are targeting donors who already support your cause, making these the ideal candidates. You can utilise the various free templates within our fundraising tool kit to further promote your online auction!

Another powerful tool is “word of mouth”, or to utilise your social media presence. Mention the event and encourage your connections to participate in the pre-event fundraising website.

By making your website live prior to the event, you are reaching out to a vast network of social media outlets which will help promote and advertise your event to the world, and in doing so making people aware of your cause and hopefully invite them to support you in the future.

Good luck!


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