How Do You Go About Planning an Online Auction?


Fundraising remains an issue for many organizations today, and the global pandemic hit hard in this area. To accommodate the changes resulting from the pandemic, many companies chose to move their efforts online. However, hosting a successful online auction takes skill. The following tips are helpful as you move through this process.

Know the Inventory

Organizers must know what they will auction. Excursion events, for example, may not be a good choice at this time, as the trip could be canceled at the last minute. Find ways to fill in any gaps resulting from the removal of these items. To do so, consider adding online gift cards or delivery services for meals. Online auctions make it easy to sell multiple items quickly. Many organizations start with approximately 20 items and add more as the auction progresses. Consider staggering the ending times of bidding for various items to keep people coming back, and use the software when planning an online auction to keep the items straight.

Starting Bids

The starting bid for each auction item should be 35 percent of its expected price. Experienced auction companies strive to get 80 to 100 percent of the market value and roughly 16 to 18 bids for each item offered. Establish a minimum raise value to go from the starting bid to the final price with this number of bidders.


Explain how items will be paid for and picked up at the conclusion of the auction. Share information regarding how winners will be notified and whether shipping will be offered. Figure out which questions participants might ask and include a section on the site with the answers. Furthermore, share these rules in any communications centering around the auction.


Generate interest in the auction by promoting it regularly. Use landing pages, social media, and more to achieve this goal. Include photos of key items to get people excited about the event, and ask that people share with their followers. More participants make for a better event.


Include plenty of photos in the promotional materials. Aim for a minimum of three items per image. Include the business logo in each photo to brand the business and use the appropriate lighting and background. Make certain you photograph any details that make an item unique to catch the viewer’s eye.

Buy Now Feature

Consider offering participants a “buy now” option. This allows a participant to purchase an item without waiting for the auction to end. In addition, use a max bidding feature to allow the system to bid on behalf of a buyer up to a maximum amount.

Multi-Day Auctions

Online auctions allow organizations to carry out the process over several days. This provides time to market the event and attract more donors to the site. Furthermore, it gives people time to share the event so others can take part.

Times are changing. The global pandemic showed companies the importance of flexibility and finding new ways to generate interest when people cannot come together as they would have in the past. Online auctions allow companies to leverage the internet and reach a broader range of individuals. In fact, they are often so successful the organization determines it never wants to do an in-person auction again. Your organization might come to this same conclusion once you see how easy it is to have an amazing event when you select this option.


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By Sidharth

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