How to Have a Vastly More Profitable Auction

How’s your fundraising auction doing? Is it painful or fun? Is it profitable auction or only so-so?

How to Have a Vastly More Profitable Auction

Technology like BidPal can dramatically increase your profits at an auction.

Auctions can bring in tons of money. Especially if you try out some of the new technology that’s coming along for auctions.

Some of these “gadgets” can really, really ramp up the profitability of your auction.

I bet I know what you’re saying right now:

“We can’t afford this stuff. Every dollar we spend in expenses comes out of our bottom line.”

And here’s what I say back:


Here’s the thing: Investing in technology for your auction is just that: an “investment.”

It means that you will make back the money you spend enhancing your event.

And you’ll make a significant return on your investment.

How to Have a Vastly More Profitable Auction

Museum board chair Joyce Fitzpatrick places a bid on her BidPal gizmo.

Some auctions that embrace the technology I’m discussing in this post have increased their NET REVENUE from the auction by 30-130%.

I’d say that would make the technology awfully affordable, wouldn’t you?

My next master class webinar next Tuesday May 15 will review the latest auction technology and give you guidelines on what to purchase that will help you meet your own goals.

You can attend the stand-alone webinar or subscribe as a Fundraising INSIDER to all my master class webinars. (just scroll down on the Fundraising INSIDER home page to register.)

Take the popular new technology that BidPal offers, for example.

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I’ve had two experiences recently with BidPal and am pretty impressed with what I saw.

Here’s my take on this particular technology:

BidPal offers auction attendees a little hand-held gizmo (aka “device”) that contains a database of all the auction items you have to sell.

You can see a photo of my BidPal gizmo for last year’s auction at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

If you look closely you can see that it’s branded with the museum’s logo and also has my own name in the upper right hand corner. (pretty cool!)

How to Have a Vastly More Profitable Auction

Note the happy smile on my face when I finally figured out how to use my gizmo!

What’s so nice about these gizmos?

I like it because I can select my favorite items and track them on my personal gizmo, rather than having to hover around the bid sheet all night.

You can actually stalk your favorite items secretly.

You can enter a bid right on your personal gizmo.

If someone else bids on that item, then you get an alert – and encouragement to raise the bid.

It just makes the party-goer a lot happier.

What I like about this is that you can participate as a party-goer all night, wine, dine and dance with your friends, while still bidding on items.

AND it encourages LOTS more bidding.

How to Have a Vastly More Profitable Auction

Put your staff to work encouraging people, like Mary Blake at the Art Museum.

Benefit #1: You’ll get 3-4 times MORE bids on your silent auction items.

The folks from BidPal say that, on average, you’ll get 3-4 times MORE bids on your silent auction items if you use their gadget.

I can count that kind of money. Can you?

Benefit #2: You can promote items that don’t have a bid.

I attended the gala for Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum last Friday night, BidPal in hand.

Inside the museum, I rounded the corner in this lovely building and there, projected on the wall, was a LIST of all the items that did not yet have a bid.

It rotated there all night long, teasing guests to go check out these items.

Intrigued by two cool artsy light fixtures that didn’t yet have bids, I went right over to them and entered my bid.

How to Have a Vastly More Profitable Auction

Here’s the general appeal for the NC Museum of Art projected up on a screen.

And I tracked them all night long. (I ended up getting outbid – oh well!)

Just think, how much more money could you raise if you had a way to IDENTIFY and PROMOTE the items without bids?

I can count that kind of money. Can you?

Benefit #3: You can raise tons more with a general appeal.

One more thing you’ll really like about these gizmos.

You can pull off an absolutely killer general “appeal” with these devices.

What’s an appeal?

The total started increasing quickly as everyone got into the game.

An appeal is when you ask everyone to make a general contribution.

It’s not for an auction item, it’s for the organization – or some special project for the organization.

If you are not doing an appeal at your auction, you are leaving tons of money on the table.

You see, many people come to an auction planning to spend some money.

Many people may not end up purchasing an item.

Suddenly everybody was making contributions to the General Appeal. The total started skyrocketing!

But they still may be willing to contribute.

I can count that kind of money. Can you?

I’ve given you the pros. Now let me give you a con.

For BidPal at least, the very first time I used it, I struggled a bit.

I didn’t have my reading glasses, darn it.

And it was hard to read in the low light.

And I had too many things to carry in my hands: my clutch purse, my Iphone (I was taking pictures), my glass of wine, and the BidPal gizmo.

It was a bit too much to keep up with!

The very first time I used it, it took some work to figure it out.

A year later, when I used the device last Friday at the Contemporary Art Museum, it seemed to be much much easier to use.

Maybe, like all technology, I just needed some time to learn how to use it.


Adding technology to your auction can dramatically increase your profit.

But remember – not all technology is a wise investment!  Be careful, check references and plan carefully.

If you do, I bet you’ll raise TONS more for your wonderful cause!