The Definitive Guide to Online Auctions
Online Auctions are the modern way to raise money.
They are the perfect and easy to manage solution for school fundraisers, supporting a cause or helping a friend in need.
We are going to take you through the steps of how to set up and manage your auction from the comfort of your own home or office.
We are going to show you how to try our platform for FREE before you commit to any plans. Without a sales call or pushy sales person.
We are going to give you control and offer you an affordable solution to meet and exceed your fundraising needs.
You ready? Let’s go!
Before we get started, below are quick headers of sections in the blog that cover specific areas of this guide. Learn, click around, try it out, come back to this page for more advice. Contact us with questions. We are here to help you.
Sections of the Guide
- Getting started
- Auction Setup Fundamentals
- How to List Items
- Designing your Landing Page & Invoices
- Bonus Features
- Download Checklist and Support Documents
- Helpful Links
Section One: Getting Started
1. Visit CharityAuctionsToday and click Create an Auction Now
2. Confirm your email
Tip: after you get this message, check your personal email. Click the link provided and you’re good to go!
3. Sign in with your newly created auction Username and Password
4. Welcome to your personal Auction Dashboard!
Note: You will see a dark grey sidebar to the left of the screen. Click Auctions and then Manage Auctions to get started.
5. Click the Create a New Auction graphic
Section Two: Auction Set up Fundamentals
1. Name your Auction
Tip: Use the name of your fundraiser. Keep it short, simple and something that you will use to share your auction.
2. Create a URL
For example: NCHSPTO2018
Note: The URL is auto generated when you type name your fundraiser
3. Select your Time Zone
4. Set and Name your Time Block
Note: This is when your auction will begin and end.
5. Select your Item Status
Note: this defaults to ‘yes’ and shows your items in your dashboard.
6. Choose your Currency and click Next Step
7. Select Listing Type
Online Auction: The most common choice to allow guests to view and place bids on auction items.
View Only: Shows auction items online only, not bidding. This is typically used to allow guests to preview items online before your auction begins.
8. Select Bid Options
Straight Bid: Allows the bidder to place a bid of their choice.
Auto Bid: Allows the bidder to put in their max bid and the system will auto-bid for them until max limit is met
9. Enter Goal Amount (optional)
You can have the goal amount displayed on your auction page. Enter the value in the pop up box that appears when you click yes.
10. Enter Auction Terms (optional)
Display terms on every auction item. Terms can be shipping details or disclaimers.
11. Auto Assign Catalog/Bidder #s
Auto assign numbers to items and bidders
12. Buyer Premium
Yes allows for the passing on of any fees (ex: credit card processing fees) to the buyer
13. Select Bypass Home Page
Selecting yes bypasses the auction home page for mobile auctions
14. Click Save and Continue
*All of the features above apply to all items in your auction.
They can be modified at any time. Should you need to update any selections at a later date, you can do so without worry.
Section Three: How to List Items
In Demo Mode, you can list five items with up to five images each. Ensure your images are of good quality and accurately show the item being auctioned. Note that once your auction is activated, you can add additional items.
To add items, go to the Items tab in your Auction Dashboard. Select Add Item from the drop down menu and follow the below steps:
1. Listing Type
Previously chosen in demo auction set up
2. Add Category
Click bar to show drop down menu and assign a category for your item. You can select multiply categories or create your own in Custom Categories
3. Item Title
Create a clear, concise and intriguing title. Inspire your bidders to click for more information. For example, if you have a gift basket donated from a chocolate company you may say something like, “Chocolate Lover’s Dream Basket“ to entice your viewers.
4. Item Description
What is it? Who donated it? Where did it come from? If it’s a gift basket, list the items inside. Use brand names, sizes, and retail values. Be as detailed as possible.
5. Auction Time
Preset during your auction set up. To change, you will have to edit your time block or add an additional block in the Edit menu.
6. Starting Bid
Enter the value will the item begin bidding at? Make it low enough to entice bidders but not too low. Enter an integer, for example, 1 not $1.00.
7. Add Buy it Now
Optional feature to allow bidders to buy the item at a fixed price. Set this amount to be greater than the retail value. Click yes and enter your desired amount in the field.
8. Blind Bid
This hides the bidder history, which can make the bidding experience more exciting. Note some bidders like to see their bids and get into bidding wars. This can dramatically increase what the auction total.
9. Add Quantity
Enter the total number of units you have of the specific item
10. Item Value
Enter the retail value
11. Add Shipping Costs
Will you add shipping costs to the invoice? Will you ship? Have this amount figured for each item. Shipping can get pricey. You can also require bidders to pick up their items at the end of the auction.
12. Set a Reserve
Ensure the reserve is for set higher than your cost of the item
13. Bid Increments
Custom: Set your own bid increments
Default: Allow our system to predetermine bid increments
14. Popcorn Bidding
What is popcorn bidding? Popcorn Bidding gives all bidders an equal chance of winning an auction by extending the end time of the auction if a last minute bidis placed. Any bids placed in the last five minutes before the auction ends will extend the auction by five minutes.
15. Catalog Number
Assign a number to your items to keep track for accounting purposes and taxes
16. Hide Item
This is optional. Use if your item has been sold or isn’t available.
17. Add Donors
Display who donated items. Click yes for a box to fill in details. Some donors wish to remain anonymous whilst others appreciate the exposure.
18. Upload Images
Upload up to five images per item
19. Reporting Options
Add item notes for internal tracking
Once your information has been entered, click save and exit.
You can add more items by clicking the green Add Items box in the upper right corner.
Section Four: Designing your Auction Landing Page & Invoices
When you run an online auction, you will attract bidders that may not know about your organization. These can be people that were invited by a current member when they shared it on their social media channel, or if you list your auction publicly, may be someone from our bidder pool.
Set your auction up for success by spending some time designing your auction landing page.
Not a designer or don’t know where to start? No worries.
We can design your page to match your website for you. For more information, contact us.
However, if you are feeling creative, follow the steps below.
Auction Landing Pages
1. Add a Logo/Banner
This will be the first thing your visitor will see when they land on your auction page. You want your auction page to be visually appealing to encourage guests to scroll and view your items.
2. Upload a Main Image
This image can highlight the organization itself, show members of the organization or people your organization helps.
3. Auction Title and Description
The title should be the name of your event or organization.
The description should explain what your organization does and whom you help. Give a call to action for your audience to bid or donate money.
4. Choose a Theme
We offer 12 predesigned color themes for you to choose from, or you can create your own theme based off your organization’s branding. All themes, predesigned or custom, can be modified. Think of your auction page as an extension of your website for your organization. Having a strong design builds credibility and trust with your audience.
5. Highlight Sponsorship
Allow sponsors to show their support for your cause by selling ad space on your auction page. The sponsor has the opportunity to choose from one to three locations for logo placement. This is a great tool for raising additional revenue.
It is important not to overlook this component when you set up your auction as it contains critical information ranging from your organization’s name, payment and shipping information as well as contact details. You can also input your organization’s Tax ID for tax purposes. Enter all this information in your Design Invoices tab from your Auction Dashboard.
Your bidders will receive an invoice for the item/s they win during your online auction. Instill confidence and consistency by adding your logo and completing as many fields you find necessary.
Section Five: Bonus Features
⭐ Invite Users
In your Auction Options tab, you can invite users to help you manage your auction. You can add Admin or Volunteers to help you along the way. Share the responsibility and allow others to contribute their time to your cause!
⭐ Invite Bidders
In your Invite & Promote tab, you can access links to invite guest and promote your auction online.
⭐ Promote Through Social Media
You can add you auction to your Facebook page through our Invite & Promote tab.
⭐ Send Custom Text Messages
Notify bidders when an auction is about to start or end. Send messages highlighting items with no bids. Ask for donations. Let bidders know about invoicing. Keep everyone informed quickly and easily.
⭐ Risk Free Items
If you don’t have items or want more items for your auction, we can provide options for you in your Risk Free Items button in your All Items tab. They are completely risk free. If it doesn’t sell, you will not be charged. If it does, you get a portion of the proceeds!