AuctionZoom software for charity auctions.

Why should I use software to organize and run my fundraising auction?

It amazes me each time I hear from a prospective client that they currently are not using any auction software to organize and run their silent auction, aside from spreadsheet software such as Excel.  There are a variety of reasons for this, ranging from fear of change to fear of spending money. Fear not readers! Making the move to automating your auction with AuctionZoom is easy and affordable and you’ll save tons of time while putting on the best run auction your organization, church, school, hospital, etc., has ever had. Really, you will. No more line ups, chaos and upset guests, just happy bidders and happy you!

What does auction software do?

What does auction software do? It’s your organizing hub for all of the bidding and purchasing activity at your auction.  Sounds complicated right?  Wrong; it just takes a bit of practice to learn how it works and as you do, you’ll quickly begin to recognize the benefits. When I write that, I am referring to our own software, BidStation and PayStation. They are both designed to be intuitive and simple to use so that they naturally follow the flow of your auction.

Pre-Swiping at Check-InAuction checkout software and scanner for fundraising

Using good auction software, with integrated credit card payments that allow for pre-swiping at check in, will cut down on the sheer volume of steps involved in manually running an auction with spreadsheets.  It will also open up opportunities to better server your guests and your own administrative requirements.  For example, BidStation helps you prepare your bid sheets, labels and other documents before the auction and then organizes your bidders, their winning bids and purchases and prints invoices for distribution.  This all happens in one place, with a few clicks.  Then, after the auction, you simply click another button to upload all of the card payments and the funds are on the way to the bank.  Print reports to reconcile everything and you’re done.  It’s not uncommon to hear clients tell us that they not only have a much better auction, but that they completed wrap-up the next day in just a couple of hours where it used to take a week or more.

Auction software, if it’s worth its salt, will give you a platform to organize around and build on from year to year as well as a valued resource when it’s time to hand the reins over to someone else.

Features, Price, and Value

There are several approaches to auction software by the various providers; some are cloud based, some require mobile devices to operate and, depending on who you talk to, some will be complex with big learning curves and some won’t. Some cost thousands of dollars, some are free. We have a saying around here relating to cost and that is “To know the cost is one thing, the value another”.  With that in mind, costly software may not provide value in line with the price and free software may not be good enough.

Our full package auction solution is a one-time investment of $499. For that, you get everything you need to fully organize and run your auction simply and efficiently, year in and year out.  At that price, it’s not hard to see how quickly the spend will be recovered in savings of time and in increased bidding and donations from happier donors!  Those who are working the auction (you included) will also be much less stressed out by having all of the details organized and flowing through the apps. BidStation and PayStation also run on just about any Windows computer and don’t require any networking or internet to function so they are perfect for locations where connectivity might be questionable or non-existent.

If you are not using software to run your auction, or if you’re feeling that the software you’re using is too expensive, you owe it to your organization and to yourself to take some time out to evaluate our software.  We provide a fully-functioning demo complete with sample data that will allow you to test drive it from start to finish. Along with the demo, we offer a full user guide (great for those who like to read!) and demo videos (great for those who like to watch!). And finally, whether it’s before the purchase or after, our support is top-notch and we’re here to help answer questions when you need us, including evenings and weekends.

Download a Free Trial to Get Started

Don’t let another auction go by without organizing it with BidStation and PayStation. Download our trial today and book an online guided demo with us soon. We look forward to meeting you and helping you put on your best and brightest auction events!

A few words on cloud (mobile) vs. local (AuctionZoom) software.

We started offering a software system for charity auctions over 10 years ago and since that time dozens of other offerings have come on the market, the most recent being mobile bidding.  At first blush, mobile bidding seems to be a great idea.  But as you dig into the details, the good idea’s shine fades.  Traditional bid sheet auction events that are run well using software such as ours will produce higher donor/bidder engagement in the organization’s mission, at a much lower cost – and they will raise as much or more. Bidders will engage socially, with each other and with your fundraising staff and volunteers, not their devices.  Mobile systems also suffer from bandwidth and connectivity issues that can, and often do, hamstring your event and leave you scrambling to use a manual method to check people out. The appeal of having less admin with mobile systems is there, but in the end, it might not server your guests’ interests in having a great time with friends and the organization they’re passionate about.  They’re there to take part in an event and the auction.  They could have stayed home and bid with their phones.  It’s like going to a movie theater and then using a phone or tablet to watch it instead of the big screen.  Why would you do that? Give them the event they came out for!

In 2016, we heard from more clients than ever before who had used mobile but came back to bid sheets because of issues they had or because they were not comfortable with the culture they were creating at their event with donors being on their devices – very distracting!  Talk to us about organizing your event with bid sheets, before you make the big investment of time and money in mobile.

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