According to Statista.com, the number of smartphone users in 2016 in the United States is estimated to reach 207.2 million, while the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to exceed 2 billion. The United States is one of the leading countries in the world to adopt mobile electronic products, and more and more nonprofits are starting to utilize smart technology to enhance the performance of their fundraiser events through implementing mobile bidding apps.
If your organization is still using pens and papers in a silent auction, here are five advantages of mobile bidding that might make you re-consider:
1. Increase Your Fundraising Revenue
For most nonprofits, justifying the upfront cost and additional expense to implement a new technology is probably the biggest concern. However, some nonprofits have reported a 30% increase in their fundraising revenue after implementing mobile bidding technology at their special events.
By streamlining the bidding process, these apps not only make it more convenient for donors to participate in bidding, but they can also encourage donors to bid on more auction items. For example, a common function of a mobile bidding app is real-time reporting on which auction items are neglected. An organization can instantly promote the neglected items at the event to notify those donors who would like to support the organization but don’t know which items to bid on. Some apps also send text or email alerts to a bidder’s device when they are outbid!
2. Create Better Bidding Experience for Your Donors
Based on a survey conducted by Bidding for Good, a firm that helps organizations put on auctions, 39% of bidders at silent auctions using clipboards and bid sheets cited “fighting the crowd” as the biggest drawback of their experience while 29% “didn’t like it when they didn’t know they had been outbid.” The key reason for using technology is to increase revenues for the nonprofit by making it easier for the bidders.
With a mobile bidding app, donors no longer have to wait in lines at an admission desk just to check in to an event. Instead, it allows donors to complete the process within 3-5 minutes on their own devices, leaving more time for donors to enjoy themselves at the event. Guests also can pay for the items they win on their own devices, without having to wait in lines again at the front desk.
Sometimes when the bidding tables get crowded, it takes a while for people to browse through the items and decide on which items they want to bid. With the app, donors can bid from wherever they are in the room while socializing with other guests.
3. Save Time for You and Your Staff To Host The Event
Fundraisers usually rely heavily on volunteers. With a mobile bidding app, it might take more preparation time to get everything in place, but once the event starts, the system pretty much takes care of itself. From selling tickets and registering guests, keeping track of bids and donations to collecting payments, most mobile bidding apps manage vast aspects of event planning with a single, integrated process. The ability to streamline these logistics can free up time for staff members to socialize and do what matters most – building and maintaining relationships with your donors and guests and making sure they are having a good time.
4. Collect and Analyze Data from Your Donors with Less Error and Effort
Mobile-bidding apps record all the participant information and bidding data for you automatically. Your staff no longer needs to collect data manually and record each entry into a spreadsheet or database. Aside from saving a lot of time, digitizing the process also significantly reduces the threat of human error. Some mobile bidding apps also provide advanced post-event reports that provide organizations with useful insights for planning their next events. GiveSmart’s post event reports generates all of the information the staff needs to thank every donor for their contribution. The data collected through the app can help organizations make informed decisions about future guest lists, bidding items and event planning, to make the next event even more successful.
5. Capture audiences who cannot make it to the event
Usually, only patrons who make it to an event can participate in an auction. However, it's impossible to find a time and place that fits into all of your individual donor’s calendars. With a mobile bidding app, supporters anywhere with connection to the Internet can participate in an auction – even the ones that are overseas! It allows you to reach a larger audience, which not only provides more ways to promote your events and sponsors but also opportunities for increased revenue. Mobile bidding apps like BidPals include functions to engage guests in sharing on social media.
Some Mobile Bidding Software Providers
Currently, there are many different software packages available that provide mobile bidding service to non-profits. It is going to take some further research to determine which one is the best for your organization, but here is a list to start with, arranged in alphabetic order:
Concerns with Mobile Bidding Apps
Despite the many advantages of using technology to improve your fundraising efforts, mobile bidding apps might not be right for your organization just yet for several reasons. First, If the majority of your donor base is not comfortable with using smartphones, then this new technology might not be a good idea. Second, internet connection is a crucial factor for mobile bidding to succeed. If your venue has a spotty internet connection, or it supports less than 50 Mbps download speed, then you need to consider upgrading the facility standards before implementing the app. Third, if your organization is small and the average attendance for a fundraising event is less than 100 guests, then investing in a mobile bidding app is probably not going to yield a satisfactory return on investment considering the upfront costs. Finally, it is important to recognize that just because a mobile bidding app allows donors from around the world to participate in your event, it doesn’t mean they will once you implement the app. Technology is just a tool; it is still up to your organization to execute proper event planning and strategic marketing efforts that are crucial to a successful gala event.
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