A Guide to Online Fundraising

Online auctions and bidding have in recent times caught up in a big way, fueled mainly by the lockdowns and the strict social distancing norms imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The fun and excitement and people jammed into on-premises venues are frowned upon now by the authorities and discouraged. This has dealt a big blow to fundraisers and charitable institutions for whom auctions were the main source of raising funds.

Fortunately, in the modern-day Internet-driven environment, it has not been a big problem to take auctions on the web and carry on with the fundraising through online bidding. So successful has this experience been that most charities are moving in this direction even though the restrictions that were in place a year before are slowly being relaxed.

Comparison of Traditional Auctions and Online Bidding Sites

Traditional auctions that have been in vogue for ages require a definite venue and the goods are displayed on tables for the participants to inspect and bid for. An auctioneer is hired who handles the proceedings, encouraging the attendees to bid higher and higher. There is a lot of bonhomie around and the bidding is often fierce and competitive. At the end of the proceedings, which is generally between a few hours and a day, the winners make the payments and take possession of the goods.

In online bidding sites, the difference with this is stark. There is no physical venue as the auction is conducted completely on specialized websites. The items are not physically displayed but their photographs are uploaded to the site by the organizers. Participants have to register on the site to take part in online bidding.

The winners have to make payment through the available payment gateways and it is generally the responsibility of the organizers to arrange for dispatch and shipping. It is because in Internet-based auctions, the goods remain with the sponsoring merchants or donors and their location is known only to the fundraisers. There is a problem here though. Anybody can take part in online bidding across the globe and international shipping can be a complex affair. This has to be taken care of by the event managers.

The Benefits of Online Bidding

The Benefits of Online Bidding

The main advantage of online bidding is the convenience factor. In physical auctions, the bidders have to be physically present at the venue. In an online auction, bidders can follow the auctions from anywhere on the globe and bid through any Internet-enabled device like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop while on the go.

It is also not necessary to follow the proceedings. After a bid is placed, a notification is sent to the device when that is crossed by someone else. There is then the option of increasing the bid or dropping it off.

To make things simpler, there is also the provision of making a bid for an item at a price expected to reach after rounds of hectic bidding. Here, notifications will not be sent after every bid but only when that level is reached. The advantage is that it is unnecessary to follow the auction closely and a participant can go about other normal chores. The downside is that if the bidding for that item stops well below the anticipated level, the person will still have to pay the higher price.

The Benefits of Online Bidding Sites

Overall, though, online bidding auctions have a great edge over their traditional counterparts.

  • Higher Bids: Online bidding auctions are more profitable for fundraisers as the number of participants is not limited by the space at a physical venue. Since online auctions are based on the Internet, anybody from any corner of the world can take part remotely. A large number of attendees lead to more competition for items, thereby pushing the final bids to very high levels. Further, because of the same reason, all the items are generally sold out. Hence, it is a great boost for organizers as online bidding auctions always give more returns than the usual physical auctions. For the bidders, it is also a good opportunity to get items that are not available at their locations.
  • Low-cost events: Online auctions have primarily been so successful because of the low cost of holding such events. At physical auctions, a venue is to be hired as well as manpower for conducting the event. Plus, all goods have to be transported to the auction. In an online auction, none of these expenses are incurred as the event is conducted through specialized websites that use advanced software designed exclusively for online bidding auctions. Only the photos of the goods have to be displayed and payment is through the gateways on the site.
  • Moreover, these websites only charge negligible administrative fees for the use of their platforms and many of them are free too. Organizers need to pay third-party fees like those charged by payment gateways only. Bidding sites take care of every aspect of the auction from registration of the attendees to tracking and monitoring the bids and declaring the winners.
  • Wide product range: Organizers can put up any number of items at the online auctions regardless of their bulk or size. This is because the goods do not have to be physically transported to a venue and only the photographs have to be uploaded at the site. Anything goes at online bidding auctions, from holiday packages to cars and everything else in between.

There are many advantages of online bidding and Internet-based auctions, one reason why they have caught on in a big way.