You've probably heard a lot about mobile bidding. And it sounds really cool. Right?
But there are a lot of cool things in this world that just aren't for everyone. (Like I saw this insanely cool surf board the last - and only - time I went surfing, but since I live a billion miles away from a good surfing spot, it's probably not a sane investment for me.)
So how do you know if mobile bidding is right for you?
Well, for starters, I came up with this list of six questions you should know the answers to about your event. Knowing these six things will help you make an informed decision when deciding whether the plunge into bidding technology is right for your organization.
Question 1: Can You Justify the Cost of the Mobile Bidding Technology?
Let's just go ahead and start with the big ticket item here:
Can you justify the cost?
We've got a free white paper that walks you through the steps of making this determination, and so if you are struggling with the answer to this, I'd recommend you take a look at it.
However, we can cover some basic parts of making this determination right here:
Will you (likely) raise more - or at least improve the experience enough to make it worth it - by having mobile bidding than you would with out it?
However, when answering this question, make sure you are thinking of net totals. Your net raised is the amount you raised after taking out all of your other costs - including the technology cost itself.
So let's say that you think you'll raise a net total of $10000 this year without offering mobile bidding. You've been pricing packages and find that they are averaging around $2000.
Now ask yourself this:
If you offer mobile bidding at your event, how likely is it to help you net more than $12,000?
If there is a good chance that it will, then you can probably justify it.
Question 2: Will Your Donors Actually Use It?
I like to talk a lot about knowing your donors.
It is important for a ton of reasons, but it'll help you once again here:
How likely are your donors to use mobile bidding technology?
Now, remember, don't be generic here or make assumptions. As I've written about before, it may surprise you to find out the demographics of the common online shopper (and, thus, potential mobile bidder).
But genuinely ask yourself if your donors would actually use this technology.
Now, one way to do this is to survey your guests and straight up ask them if they'd be interested. However, there are a few potential pitfalls to this.
- Maybe they, having never seen how easy or smooth the process is, would say no because they don't want to learn. However, if you were to get it, they'd be the first to learn to love it.
- Maybe they wouldn't even know what it is as they haven't been following this blog quite as closely as you.
A better way to figure out if this technology is right for you might be to start with a small test group. Or to go (with some of your most loyal and helpful guests) to another charity event that you know is using it and see how it works there.
Question 3: What's Your Venue Like?
The third question to ask yourself is where are you having your event?
Think about the actual venue itself:
- How good is the cell service?
- Is there WiFi?
- How stable and reliable is the network?
Using mobile bidding technology means being able use WiFi and cell signals. While most places are going to be fine with this (and even some of the less stable ones can be improved with boosters and other devices), there are still quite a few places where it's just not going to work as well.
If your event is being held at one of those places, then you may want to pass on this technology.
Question 4: What Size Is Your Charity Event?
How many people are you expecting to come to your event?
The bigger the event, the more likely it is that you can benefit from mobile bidding technology.
Think about your past events.
- How many people were crowded around the tables trying to bid on your big ticket item?
- Was it hard for the amount of guests you had to collect their winnings at the end of the night?
- Did you have a significant amount of bids on some of your items?
The more people you have, the more complicated everything seems to get. But that is what mobile bidding does: it makes the process a lot easier for your guests so that they don't have to crowd around a table and wait in a long line to get the items they bought.
If your charity events are big enough to cause this kind of back up, then you may want to consider offering mobile bidding.
Question 5: Where in the World Is Your Bidder Base?
The next question on our list is to ask yourself where your potential bidder base really lives and how remote they are.
Maybe you are a small organization, and you know that - while one or two guests might be sick or out of town on the night of your event - for the most part, everyone who is going to bid on your items will be in attendance.
If that's the case, then you still may want to offer mobile bidding, but whether you do will probably depend more on the other questions on this list.
However, let's say you know most of your supporters are spread around the country/world or that a lot of your older guests have become more reluctant to leave home.
If that is the case, your event may truly benefit from mobile bidding.
Those examples are kind of the two extremes - almost all present versus most are remote.
However, there are, obviously, middle grounds. Take a look at your potential bidders and examine where you fall on the spectrum. The more to the remote side you are, the better the odds are that you should be considering offering mobile bidding.
Question 6: How Many Items Are You Auctioning, Anyway?
The final question we are going to be considering today is the amount of items you'll be auctioning at your event.
The more items you offer, the more complicated everything becomes. Thus, you may want to include a way to simplify the process.
However, if you are only auctioning one or two items, then you may not be able to justify the cost of the technology (see question 1).
This question on its own may not be all that helpful. (After all, depending on the answer to the other questions on this list, you may want to use mobile bidding even if you only have one item up for bid.)
However, once you have all the other answers before you, this can be the question that helps put you over the edge one way or the other if you are still straddling the fence.
Let's Wrap This Thing Up
Mobile bidding can be a great investment for anyone running a silent auction or a live auction. However, while it may be great for most, it might not be right for everyone.
Ask yourself the questions we discussed here and decide if it is worth giving mobile bidding a try at your next event.