The 16 Best Silent Auction Software Choices for Your Nonprofit: What Top Auction Software Encourages the Most Bidding?
The 16 Best Silent Auction Software Choices for Your Nonprofit: What Top Auction Software Encourages the Most Bidding?
When you host a silent or live online auction at your next event, it pays to choose the right silent or live auction software for your charity. Good auction software automates a lot of tasks, and improves the auctioneering process, saving your event team time and letting you create the charity auction experience you want.
Choosing from top software that includes handy online auction tools also encourages more bidding from your attendees, increasing the amount of revenue you can generate from your fundraising event. Making sure your platform has the right features, pricing, and mobile bidding options for your attendees is particularly important if you know you’ll be holding many virtual events throughout the year.
When it comes to choosing excellent software, however, you have a lot of choices. Different bidding software is better for different nonprofits and you may find yourself gravitating toward different auction management platforms based on if you plan to hold more silent or live auctions, in-person auctions, hybrid events, or virtual events. Pricing can be an issue too, depending on your nonprofit’s budget.
To help in your search, we’re comparing the features of multiple platforms, including PayBee, to show the benefits of each. Some of these software systems help you build and manage your entire auction. Others are good for handling specific tasks in marketing or assessing donors. As you work your way through this list, you’ll be able to decide which option works the best for your charity.
PayBee: Best Overall Fundraising Software
When it comes to evaluating auction software based on ease of use, pricing, support, and versatility, PayBee ranks as a preferred top silent auction software. Our platform is recognized by many nonprofits and charities as incredibly user friendly, not only for your event staff but also your attendees
Need to host a silent auction? PayBee’s got you covered with auto-generated auction pages, each with its own shareable URL. Want to improve your chances of aggressive bids? PayBee offers live item notifications that alert bidders on their mobile devices if they’ve been outbid via text or email, letting them know when to raise their bids. Do you have bidders who don’t have enough time to place a lot of bids? Our Buy-It-Now pricing option lets attendees simply purchase an item immediately, while our Silent Auction Max feature lets donors automate their bidding up to a desired price point.
As one of the most popular auction software providers for nonprofits, PayBee makes sure to support you every step of the way. Some of our more popular features include:
- A bulk uploading option that saves you time by instantly uploading all your items onto your auction page.
- Customizable features that let you set specific properties for items, like minimum bid amounts and custom bid increments.
- Auto generated bid paddles and table cards with QR codes that make check-in and check-out a breeze (and increase the fun of your live auctions).
- Social sharing links that let you promote your auction on every popular social media site.
- Automatic email invitations that let you target your most generous donors.
- Mobile bidding features that let bidders participate from anywhere using their mobile devices.
- Multiple checkout options, including mobile web checkout, mobile credit card readers, cash, check, and bank transfer payment methods, that make it easy for attendees to checkout from your auction their way.
- High bid leaderboard live feed that keeps all attendees an overview of the high bidders of the auction items.
- A system that automatically follows up with attendees with outstanding donations and provides in-depth reporting on all donations and attendees, making it easy to keep on top of financials.
- An on-call support staff ready to help you build your campaigns and provide you with technical support during your actual event.
Regular donation and auction campaigns are free to setup while pricing options on our other galas are very reasonable and include discounts. In addition, PayBee offers an option for donors to cover credit card and ACH transaction fees, reducing the financial burden on our users and allowing nonprofits and charities to raise more money. We’ve found that donors elect to pay processing fees 90% of the time when given the option, making this a must-have feature for your event.
Although PayBee is famous for its silent and live auctions, our platform is capable of much more. PayBee users have hosted many different types of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events using our tools, including festivals, raffles, peer-to-peer campaigns, and many other fundraising games. Pricing is transparent and includes no hidden fees or contracts.
That being said, although PayBee has offered many charity organizations an excellent overall experience, other providers have gained recognition for their efforts on one or more fundraising features. If your charity needs extra attention or special help in a key area, some of the software packages below may provide the tools you’re looking for to throw your best silent auction.
Auction Packages: Ideal for Charity Auctions That Need High-End Items
It’s no secret that offering great auction items brings a lot of donors to your silent or live auction and galas. Guests love the chance to bid on highly desirable items, and being able to spotlight amazing experiences like international trips, resort stays, safaris, or a fancy spa package in your marketing materials can quickly increase the interest around your event.
That’s why Auction Packages is great for charity auctions that cater to attendees with luxurious tastes. As an auction item consignment service, Auction Packages allows you to choose from over 250 packages that are updated every month. These packages include vacations, shopping adventures, sporting events, and spa retreats.
Charities find this auction software particularly helpful since you don’t have to purchase anything in advance. Instead, Auction Packages gives you the price for each auction package, allowing you to set an opening bid. If the items sell, you pay Auction Packages for the sold auction packages and pocket the difference for your organization. If the items do not sell, then you don’t purchase the auction package. You can even offer multiple auction packages at your event, increasing the chances of generating a lot of revenue.
However, keep in mind that if you end up selling the online auction package for below Auction Packages’ price, your organization will be liable for the difference. This is why nonprofits need to be very careful when setting an opening bid — pricing your auction items below what you’d owe to Auction Packages if they sell could leave you with additional expenses. In addition, certain guests and donors prefer their auction items a little less high-end, so keep your audience (and their budgets) in mind when choosing auction software.
Boardable: Great for Keeping Your Board on Top of Managing Virtual Events
A online event has lots of moving parts and features, making it challenging for your board to stay on top of your event and auctions. Add to the fact that many people are still adjusting to hosting online events and aren’t comfortable with a complicated app or technical auction platforms, and you need to choose an auction software that works for many people.
Boardable is designed specifically to be used as an online board management platform for nonprofit teams. By offering features like agenda building tools, task managers, and centralized document storage as well as voting and polling tools, your board and event teams can stay connected with each other virtually as you create your event and online auction.
The features on this platform are also mobile friendly, making it easy for your team members to interact with each other wherever they are from their smart phones and mobile devices. Pricing options vary depending on the size of your charity organization and the features you require, so be sure to choose the one that works best for your organization.
Winspire: Auction Software with an Event Professional
Do you need an event fundraising specialist to assist you with your charity auctions or your event? Winspire connects you with their full staff of nonprofit fundraising and auction pro event professionals when you use their charity auction software. Each consultant has extensive experience with auctions and can offer valuable insights into how to use the right features on the platform to manage your charity event.
Like Auction Packages, Winspire is an auction item consignment service, allowing you to offer high-end experiences, such as wine tastings, resort stays, cruises, and shopping trips at your next online silent or live auction. Auction packages can also be sold multiple times if they prove popular among your attendees. Again, keep in mind that you need to set your opening bid high enough so the auction items don’t sell too low — and make sure your attendees are willing and able to keep the bids coming on items with potentially high pricing.
DonorSearch: Excellent for Researching Your Potential Donors
Assembling and managing a proper guest list for your event is one of the most overlooked tasks among nonprofits. Whether you’re a workforce development nonprofit, religious organization, or educational group, it’s important to make sure each of your attendees can offer a generous donation and high auction bids at your fundraising gala.
That’s where DonorSearch comes in. This system utilizes philanthropic and wealth databases to analyze your own donor database and let you know which donors are most likely to engage in generous bidding — or take part in your auction at all. With DonorSearch on your side, you can send event invitations to guests who already have a history of generous bids, charitable giving, and supporting nonprofits like yours. You’ll increase your event’s chances of success by focusing on donors with strong philanthropic backgrounds.
Double the Donation: Maximize Your Revenue with Matching Gift Programs
Matching gift programs allow you to literally double your revenue. These corporate programs allow participating businesses and companies to match the donations made by your attendees. This is a great way to motivate your supporters to leave a more generous donation in your online auction (since they know their employers will match it, letting them create an even bigger financial impact).
However, not all of your attendees and donors know their companies are involved in matching gift programs. This means many organizations could be missing out on some potentially lucrative donations for their online auction.
Double the Donation can help. This software provider for nonprofits is also a leading corporate philanthropy database and can enable your donors and supporters to see if they’re eligible for a matched gift from their company for their donation.
This way, you can request that eligible bidders follow up with their companies for a match on their donation. This doesn’t have to be limited to your silent or live auctions either. Any donation made during your event could potentially be doubled with the help of Double the Donation. This can even help you generate a better guest list by targeting donors who are match-eligible and inviting them to your next event or auction.
Mailchimp: Excellent Email Marketing Platform for the Auction Pro
You’ve likely heard of Mailchimp. This all-in-one email marketing platform is used by many businesses to manage and communicate with existing and potential clients. You can use Mailchimp to design campaigns and also manage your data.
This provides your nonprofit with a powerful marketing tool to locate the supporters who would be the top bidders and participants in your upcoming fundraising auction event. By analyzing your data, you can discover what the people in your contact list really like. This helps inform how you create and promote your auction. You can make sure the right people receive the proper invitations, reminder emails, and marketing materials at the right time. You can even use Mailchimp’s platform to promote your auction on social media sites as well as email.
SchoolAuction.Net: Respected by School Organizations
As its name indicates, SchoolAuction.Net is a fundraising platform built specifically for school organizations. Serving the educational community since 2004, this company is respected among academies, libraries, and other nonprofits. Its software can help you host an in-person fundraiser, silent auction, live auction, or hybrid event.
Although SchoolAuction.Net can help a variety of nonprofits and charities with their fundraisers, its name makes it best suited for school-related organizations. You can also find resources for hosting a successful silent auction on its website.
Kindful: CRM Software for Nonprofits
Successful nonprofits use good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Top CRM allows you to not only make sense of your donor data but also cultivate better relationships with your fundraiser supporters.
That’s what makes Kindful’s communication tools so valuable to a nonprofit organization. This system allows your third-party tools to merge with your database, allowing you to manage all your donor information in one place. From here, you can funnel all the data from your auctions, manage bidders, and communicate with your guests using email templates. You can even look at individual donor records and review their transactional history to learn which of your supporters offer the most generous donations — and which of your fundraising activities connect with the most guests.
32auctions: Low-Cost Auction Options
If pricing is an issue, then 32auctions offers nonprofits some low-cost auctions. Nonprofits begin with a set of free base features for your virtual auction, including the ability to list up to twenty items, include an image with each item, offer email notifications, and receive email support.
From there, you can add optional paid upgrades including additional item listings, live events, text notifications, premium donor & sponsor management, and more. Understand that 32auctions still charges fees for certain services like payment processing, which should be considered when looking at this system. The free version also causes ads to appear on your auction website, although you can pay to have them removed.
While excellent if you’re interested in low pricing for your events, you should watch for any hidden fees. Likewise, keep your future plans in mind — if you feel your charity will expand soon, you may be better served with a system that has a higher pricing point.
OneCause: Great for Hosting Virtual Galas
2020 caused a major shift in the field of fundraising. Without the ability to host in-person fundraisers, many nonprofit software providers focused their efforts on improving their ability to create online fundraisers. While many of these new platforms went through their share of growing pains, some rose as real innovators in their field.
OneCause is one of these providers. Although their tools are capable of hosting in-person and hybrid silent auctions, virtual fundraising functionality is built into all its products. This makes OneCause well suited for hosting online auctions. Nonprofits can make use of its mobile bidding capabilities, real-time bid tracking, item procurement and tracking features, fixed-price purchases, detailed analytics, and more.
Snowball Fundraising: Offers Unlimited Items at Your Silent Auction
One of the issues event teams experience when hosting a silent or live online auction is the limit on auction items. Many systems limit the number of items you can offer on their systems — or charge additional fees to list more items. This can reduce your revenue building opportunities and also reduce excitement if you have a lot of people interested in bidding.
However, this won’t be an issue with Snowball Fundraising. This online auction software allows you to list unlimited auction items, which is great if you can procure a lot of desirable products and services. Snowball also allows unlimited bidders to participate in your online auction, enabling you to accommodate large audiences for a very popular fundraising event.
In addition, Snowball is designed for more than just auctions — you can create ticketing campaigns, text-to-give campaigns, and donation forms with the entire Snowball Fundraising suite. For small nonprofits looking to draw in huge crowds, Snowball Fundraising includes some very attractive features.
GiveButter: Easy to Use for Silent Auctions
GiveButter has won awards for its fundraising and online auction software, including accolades for being easy to use and setup. This software can support many different fundraising activities, including peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, text-to-donate, and recurring donations as well as auction management. You’ll be able to add unlimited items, offer mobile bidding, and automated bidding options. There’s also Buy-It-Now pricing and QR codes for silent or live auctions and silent auction bid sheets.
BiddingOwl: Free In-Person Auction Manager Software
If you’re looking for an auction manager software to help run your in-person auctions, then BiddingOwl offers free software that allows your nonprofit or charity to run as many live or silent auctions as you’d like. This software also does not place any restriction on the number of auction items you list or the number of bidders in your auction. You also won’t have to worry about a subscription fee.
That said, BiddingOwl does charge a performance fee of 5% off your highest bids. This applies for both online auctions and in-room bidding (which they consider a form of online bidding). While this may actually work well for nonprofits hosting small silent auctions with lower profits, if your plans involve raising a lot of money from your auctions, you could end up paying more than you would with a different provider.
For instance, if your nonprofit ends up earning $100,000 from a high-end auction, you would owe BiddingOwl $5,000 for use of its software. Other providers like PayBee offer a much lower flat rate (and allow you to pass on transaction costs to your bidders) saving you money in the long run.
Charity Auctions Today: Compatible with Many Third-Party Integrations
With all the tools and fundraising platforms out there, it’s always possible your nonprofit will run into issues if your new system isn’t compatible with the software you’re already using. However, Charity Auctions Today can work with many different companies you may already be using. These include nonprofit CRM software providers like Kindful as well as payment options such as Stripe or PayPal. Knowing that you can integrate an online/live/silent auction platform with the online tools that already work for you helps grant you peace of mind.
As its name indicates, Charity Auctions Today specializes in managing auctions and offers many tools to help you. These include a setup feature on its platform that walks you through the steps to get set up, mobile friendly features, and outbid notifications. Pricing options start from a basic free version (with 5% management fee and transaction fee costs) and move into prepaid plans starting from $297 to custom plans.
Handbid: Mobile Bidding Software
More and more, people are moving from traditional auctions with paper bid sheets to mobile bidding that lets you place bids from your phone, laptop, or mobile device. Practically everyone uses a smart phone or other mobile device to help manage their lives, after all, making mobile bidding an instinctive choice during silent or live auctions.
What’s more, holding auctions in the traditional way can slow down guests in long check-in and checkout lines. At a time when social distancing is still recommended or required in some places, improving the efficiency of your auctions and other fundraising activities is a must.
To make sure your software can accommodate so many attendees, Handbid provides a mobile bidding application that makes it easy for both donors and your event team to build, manage, and participate in your nonprofit and charity auctions. The Handbid app allows your event team to stay connected using just their mobile devices, saving the trouble of running an event from a laptop screen. Through the Handbid app, team members can stay on top of check-in, keep up with auction stats in real time, and even add or edit items. You can even manage livestreams, close auctions, and checkout attendees with Handbid.
Still wondering which silent auction software package is best for your nonprofit’s online fundraising efforts? Sometimes the best way to determine how well a fundraising platform fits your needs is to try it out yourself. You wouldn’t want to purchase an important car without taking it for a test drive, and you definitely shouldn’t choose a fundraising software based on a brief description of the platform either.
That’s why PayBee offers a free demo of its system for all nonprofit and charities to try out before making a decision. Not only will you be able to see how intuitive and user-friendly our software is, you’ll also be able to participate in a mock auction (with virtual cash!) that shows you what your attendees and donors will experience at your events. After that, you can ask all of your technical and pricing questions to our support team to see if our platform fits your plans. We’re ready to connect with you, so sign up for a free demo today!