How to Select an Online Auction Software Provider

So you’ve decided to use mobile bidding software at your upcoming gala. Great decision!

Mobile bidding will reduce your hassle managing paper bid sheets, drive up bids, and simplify checkout.

How do you choose the right mobile bidding provider for your event?

While, there is no one-size-fits-all solution as your event has unique needs and preferences, this list of questions should serve as a good starting point.

1. How long have you been in business?

Being in business a long time does not necessarily indicate a superior product. However, it is a good indication of whether that company will be around for next year’s gala. Learning just one mobile bidding application saves you and your audience time at future events.

2. How many events did you do in each of the last two years?

What you are looking for here is growth, especially if you are evaluating a product that is relatively new to market. A newer product with a rapidly growing user base is a good indicator of satisfied early customers spreading the word.

3. What is your pricing structure?

Learn whether you pay per item, per attendee, per dollar raised or a fixed price. Also, learn what the charges are for payment processing.

The characteristics of your event will dictate what the optimal pricing structure is for you.

However, for large events, the price of your mobile bidding provider will be a very small percentage of your overall gross revenue so minor price differences shouldn’t factor into your decision.

4. Do you have references?

Fundraising is a small circle. Make the effort to have a phone call with another user of the mobile bidding provider.

You will learn the benefits and pitfalls and ultimately have a lot more confidence in your decision.

Alternatively, check out a review platform like Capterra which summarizes your various online auction software options.

5. Do you integrate with any auction package providers?

Any organizer who has used mobile bidding knows what a pain it is to load items for auction into the mobile bidding software.

It usually involves a CSV exports and imports as well as manually loading photos.

Integration with your auction package provider, like TravelPledge, saves you time by manually syncing information between systems. Further, you reduce the chance for error by copying incomplete information.

6. Do you handle advanced ticketing?

Advanced ticketing is a huge timesaver by having attendees pre-register. This saves time during check-in and checkout and improves the flow of the event.

7. Can patrons bid from outside the venue? Are the items available online before the event?

This feature is becoming standard in most mobile bidding providers, but good to double check especially if you want to engage supporters who cannot attend in person.

8. What technical support do you offer?

Obviously, you don’t want to need urgent technical assistance at your event, but things happen. Know what resources you will have available and if the mobile bidding provider charges for support calls.

Considering a mobile bidding solution? Here are some industry leaders:


Al McDonald is the Chief Product Officer for TravelPledge and author of the e-book “The Definitive Guide to Silent Auction Fundraisers.” Al has helped thousands of nonprofits exceed their auction goals through auction item procurement and advice. Al understands that successful auctions are hard work and is committed to delivering practical advice that will move the needle for you today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.