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  • Writer's pictureAmFund

Say Bye-Bye to Bidders’ Numbers

Avoid these 3 Problems that can Cost you Money

Live Auction Bid Paddle

When it comes to a fundraising auction, there are two main goals that should be on your mind: 1) Raise as much money as you can for your cause, and 2) Keep your guests happy. To achieve both of these goals, we need to say bye-bye to bidders’ numbers.

Bidders’ numbers remove the emotion that is so key to the success of a fundraising auction. Sure, bidders’ numbers can work well at goods and services auctions where the goal is to sell as many items as possible (often up to 120 items an hour. Think used cars or bankruptcy proceeds). But at a fundraising auction, you need a different approach.

It’s all about emotion

Fundraising auctions should encompass both the emotional need that your organization provides and the emotional reward of the auction item itself.

In addition to the tangible auction award, the winning bidder receives the emotional reward of being the "winner." This is a bigger deal than you might initially realize. There’s the recognition from peers combined with the emotional reward of supporting a good cause. And again, it’s this emotional delivery that bidders’ numbers cannot provide.

How exactly do you create that emotional draw?

In order to develop that emotional draw, you need an experienced, professional fundraising auctioneer to conduct the sale. This process is performed much differently from that of a goods and services auction. Remember, there is no need for speed at a fundraising auction; that’s how you end up draining the emotion from your auction.

Your fundraising auctioneer will spend between 3½ to 5 minutes building the emotional attraction for the item they are selling. Those 3½ minutes also give the auction staff plenty of time to get the name and telephone number of the prior item’s winning bidder. This means you can start processing their payments. This is a perk your guests will surely appreciate.

Wade West Live Auction

Three reasons to avoid bidders’ numbers

1.) The long wait. At a recent event where AmFund supplied incredible trips for the silent auction, bidders’ numbers were used in the live auction. Each attendee and their bidder’s number had to be entered into the electronic bidding system. This added at least 2 minutes per person at registration, and many guests were stuck in the registration line for over 45 minutes.

2.) You can lose “on-the-fly” bidders. Here’s a common scenario: guests think they will not be interested in any of the auction items, so they decide not to get a bidder’s number. Inevitably, they end up seeing something they like in the auction. At this point, they think they cannot bid, or they are hesitant to go back to the registration desk to ask. You are losing out on these valuable “on-the-fly” bidders.

Gala Open Ask with Bid Paddles

3.) Incorrect bidders’ numbers. We can all remember our own names — that’s easy. How about trying to remember a number that was assigned to you two hours earlier after a couple glasses of wine? This can lead to some major problems. And believe it or not, upside numbers cause issues as well. What should have been a 98 ends up looking like an 86!

Keep your guests happy and speed up checkout

To help you keep your guests happy, AmFund developed the "Concurrent Checkout” system. Using this method, live auction bidders are completely checked out in less than 4 minutes after each item is sold!

This kind of convenience is guaranteed to keep your guests happy and on their way. After all, these winners are valued supporters of your organization who you do not want to keep waiting around at the end of the night to complete their checkouts.

For more information on the Concurrent Checkout and easy replacement ideas for bidders’ numbers, please reach out to us at AmFund. Please remember, like you, AmFund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for your organization and your important cause.


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