If movies have taught us anything about auctions, it is that they are intimidating events exclusively for wealthy old people. However, this is inaccurate. Auctions are a common way that organizations raise funds for various causes, and they can have a diversity of participants in attendance—even young people.
An auction is simply a method to sell assets, usually artworks, antiques, novelty items, furniture, and even real estate. They often take place in person, but there are also instances that they occur online through the host’s platform of choice.
The challenge then is how to get a younger audience to take an interest in auctions, especially because of its stiff, inaccessible reputation. In addition to this, there is the practical challenge of safely holding an auction as COVID-19 cases again rise in the country.
An online auction is a medium your organization is looking for in successfully staging an auction. These are our tips for staging your online auction to success.
Building Your Auction Setup
Since you are gathering bidders online, you need a professional onsite setup that fulfills the technological needs of your auction and lets you seamlessly follow your program.
1. Prepare your tech equipment
The usual process for online auctions is to have every item for bidding displayed on a platform such as Charity Auctions Today and BiddingForGood. Bidders can then place their bids on items through a registered account with their card details.
However, an alternative method is to hold a live online auction that allows remote attendees to bid in real time while you stream the auction proper from your chosen platform. This setup requires a professional camera to show the items for sale and a high-quality microphone to allow participants to hear the auctioneer’s announcements. You also need a stable internet connection to ensure that you do not miss any bids, even when the pace of bidding intensifies.
If your auction includes other events in the program, see to it that you have the necessary features, such as screens, lights, and wire rope products to help you lift things.
2. Set up your online site
You can hold a live online auction and put items up for sale on your platform afterward to maintain bidders’ interest. For this, you must choose an auction platform that not only has an accessible interface for your bidders but also promises security for the information they input on the website. You should also have multiple photos of your items with descriptions.
Remember that since the audience you are hoping to attract is younger, they are also more tech-savvy than older buyers. Do not overlook ease of use and data privacy as they look into these features.
3. Choose your auction items wisely
The uninitiated will assume that only items that cost a fortune are put up for auction. However, you can auction off things as “normal,” as tour packages, vintage souvenirs, and handicrafts. But you must also note that upscale items such as luxury bags, fine wines, and art pieces also have their market.
Curate items your target market is drawn to. In this case, you are catering to a younger crowd, so choose items that have relevance to their lives.
If you have the means to, you can replicate the effective way that charity MusiCares has gotten young bidders interested in auctions. They involve popular celebrities such as BTS and Harry Styles to auction autographed guitars. Star power is a great pull to auctions and greatly increases your event’s publicity.
4. Set clear guidelines for the auction
First, set reasonable starting bids for every item up for auction. 30% of market value is typically a safe amount to price your items at initially. For donated goods, you may check with the donor on the price they originally got the item for to properly set a starting price.
You should also inform participants regarding the payment and claiming process for sold items. Tell them how the items will be shipped to them and if they must pay additional fees for them. Communicate these instructions multiple times before, during, and after the event to minimize confusion.
Attracting Guests to Your Auction
Share your auction on your online pages, from your website to your social media pages and email newsletters. Share the links and publicity materials with your partners, sponsors, and donors, too, so they can help signal boost the event to their social circles. Remember that an online auction is reliant on the attention it receives on these pages to attract people to the auction proper, so sustain the hype with good marketing.