BidStation is part of our streamlined auction software solution for nonprofits and fundraisers — designed for churches, schools, charities, and other non-profit organisations to run silent auctions efficiently and affordably.
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BidStation Version 1.3 Update!
This BidStation Version 1.3 update is available for no charge to users with active Premium Support subscriptions. To review what we’ve fixed, what features we’ve added and details on how to update, please read on.
Things we’ve fixed.
- Payment Report. We updated the payment report so that it now displays only the bidder records with a full or partial payment on file. If there is no payment on file for the bidder, they are not included in this report. When you see a bidder with a negative amount showing i.e., -$100.00, this is telling you that the bidder has overpaid. This can be helpful in the process of reconciling your auction. (If you’d like to see a list of all bidders with purchases, use the bid reports.)
- Items and Attendees. We’ve fixed a bug that prevented updates from being saved when editing items and attendees that have either a 0 (zero) or an empty item number or bidder number. You will now be able to make updates to both without generating bidder numbers or item numbers first, or importing the data with numbers.
- Importing Items. In order to import Item data, or add an item to your database, you must minimally provide an item title. We’ve patched a bug that allowed items to be imported without a title so that now, if your import file includes an item without a title, you’ll see an error message alerting you to the issue and where it occurs. You will be able to quickly find the empty title cell so you can fill it in and proceed with your import. The import file will not add any records if one of the rows is missing a title.
- Database repair tool. Remember a few weeks back when we sent out a notice of a database corruption issue? We’ve fixed that issue. If you are using BidStation on a network, your database may become unusable due to a network disruption. BidStation will likely sense this error on its own and fix it in the background but if you do get the “unrecognized database format” error, you can manually engage the repair tool under the help menu.
- Merge document characters. Did you noticed that some special characters in your bid sheets and other merge docs were changed to question marks? For example, the e in café or the apostrophe in John’s? This has been fixed by adjusting the code page that MS Access uses to create the export file for the Word merge. Go ahead and use all of those special characters!
- Sending email updates and invoices. We found that an email with an dash or hyphen caused the email sending function to halt and crash. Previously, we had thought this was due to email sending limits imposed by most email services (read more about these limits in the next section). We fixed this so that email addresses with any characters can now be used. The sending limit is still an important consideration in your planning as we have no control over it.
Features we’ve added or updated.
- User guide. Overhauled and updated, the user guide is much more user-friendly, thanks to the technical writing skills of BidStation and PayStation user and fan, Myrla B. of Calgary, Alberta. We are very grateful to her for this, as we think users will benefit from the improved layout, flow and descriptive writing – from a user’s perspective.
- Email settings. Most email services limit the number of messages an account can send in an hour and in a day. This number appears to typically be 100, or fewer. Since most events have more than 100 attendees, the chances of your being email sending being impacted by this limitation are good. This limitation applies to all email services included free ones such as Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. as well as ones that are through your organization’s internet host. We are researching solutions for this but in the meantime, we’ve put in place a transactional service that you can access that will enable sending larger volumes of messages. If you’re planning on using the email service in BidStation, please contact us and we will create a sending account for your use that will allow up to 1000 sends per hour, 10,000 per month. We are not charging for this service so please do take advantage of it to ensure your emails will send. Send your account request to email@example.com or call us for more details.
- 4×6 index card template. We added a new template to the template folder. This will enable you to quickly print a 4×6 index card (I recommend unlined, blank cards) that you can leave behind when you pick up bid sheets at the close of a section or auction. Fill in the cards as you go, and bidders will be able to walk up to see if they’ve won. You can also place the cards under the bid sheets when you set up, so that they are there when you scoop up the sheets.
- License system updated. We’ve updated the license registration system to make it more reliable and perform with greater flexibility. Once you’ve registered your copy of BidStation, it will open any BidStation database, whether or not it was created under that license.
- Invoice printing groups. Often, attendees that only made other bid purchases do not ask for or need an invoice. We’ve created invoice printing groups to allow you to choose to print invoices for only those who won auction items or only have other bid purchases, to give you flexibility in printing. This might not only save you a ton of paper, but it be a much faster method of preparing for the auction pickup and checkout. Groups are also available via emailing invoices, should you wish to use email to notify attendees with winning bids on auction items.
- New report: Balance Owing. This report displays only attendees with a balance owing so you can quickly spot who you need to collect payment from. Negative amounts indicate overpayment.
- New support materials. We’ve added some new items to the support page on our website which include the sample databases for training and testing, the default templates, user guides and more. We will continue to add items to this area, as well as new videos, and will notify by email, Facebook and Twitter when we do.
How to update.
Updating is easy: With your computer online, open BidStation, open the Help menu and click check for updates. Follow the prompts.
- See GIF at the top of this post for a quick walk through.
- Backing up your database before updating is recommended, but not necessary.
- After updating, you may be asked to register BidStation again. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t have your registration information available. You can always download the latest version of the BidStation software installer from our website.
Things we’re working on.
- We’re working on new and improved invoice production to make it faster (it can take a minute or two if you have a lot of invoices!) as well as options to customize the invoice with logos, etc.
- We’ve also added split pay and auction baskets to the list. Both of these functions are possible with the existing software, but we’re going to try to make them simpler and easier to use, when you need them.
Do you have any feature requests or comments on how we can improve BidStation for your use? Please reply to this email if you’d like to share them with us.
Social Sharing. We’ve grown quickly over the past two years and have recognized the benefits of using social media to share news on updates as well as to spread word of our products and services. You can find us on Facebook at this address: https://www.facebook.com/AuctionZoom.
- If you like our software and service, please help us get the word out and tell others about us!
Staying in the loop.
When do you want to hear from us? We’ve created separate interest groupings in our email list to allow you to choose what you’re interested in hearing from us about. We’re doing this to refine our messaging and help avoid unwanted emails going out (SPAM – ugh!).
You can sign up for our email lists here. If you’re already in the list, you will be able to update your email preferences or unsubscribe altogether.