The Lowdown on Online vs. App-Based Auctions


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Your bidders’ experiences are the most important thing you can consider as you set up a silent auction. If your bidders aren’t having fun, if the act of bidding is too time-consuming, or if checking in and checking out takes too long, bidders can’t get into the swing of your event. They’ll be too distracted by minor annoyances to get caught up in the emotion of your story and your appeals, and that results in less revenue for you and more aggravation for them.

The Evolution of Online & App-Based Auctions

As nonprofits got more and more creative with how they ran their silent auctions, many of them opted to move their auctions online. And, as online auctions became increasingly popular, more and more people started accessing those auctions on their smartphones. Today, an increasing number of fundraising professionals are looking for ways to make online auctions more user-friendly for mobile bidders.

That’s where app-based auctions come in! Apps are a great way to overcome some of the obstacles donors face when participating in an online auction. And, since fewer obstacles mean more engaged donors, app-based auctions can raise much more money for your cause. Here are a couple of ways using an app to run your auction can help your next event be more successful.

App-Based Auctions Improve Upon Web-Based Auctions

Online auctions took the functions of paper auctions and made them easier to manage. App-based auctions take the functions of online options and make them even easier! Online auctions took away the need to jostle around the bid page at a paper-based auction. Now, apps take away the need to huddle in front of a computer screen. Instead of hard-refreshing the web page for each auction item, donors can build watch lists and bid on items directly from their phone. Because they’re using an app, the current bid amount for each item is automatically updated. That means donors don’t have to obsessively refresh their favorite items and can focus instead on enjoying your event and connecting with other supporters.

Bidding is Simpler on an App

Paper auctions require visiting tables and writing down bids. Online auctions make it easy to bid with a few simple clicks. Apps make it even simpler. Donors can bid with a swipe of their thumb! In-app notifications alert donors when they’ve been outbid, and updating their own bid only takes a second. In the time an online bidder refreshed their browser, entered a new bid, and hit “submit,” the app user will have swiped to bid and continued their conversation. Simpler bidding means new bids on items happen quickly, and more bidding means higher bid amounts.

Using an App Makes Check-In and Checkout Easier for Everyone Involved

Paper auctions require a lengthy check-in process. Checking out is a flurry of running around collecting bid sheets, trying to locate winning bidders, and hunting through payment methods. Online auctions are better, but they often require donors to register for the event and sign up to bid using two different services. That’s awkward for them and a pain for you! App-based auctions let donors register for the event, download and learn the app, set up a profile, and check into the event all in one place. It’s also where they can make bids and pay for day-of-event purchases in one place instead of having to use multiple services. Online auctions are certainly an improvement on paper auctions, but they often require complimentary programs to fill all your auction needs. Apps don’t!


Donor experience is the #1 element that can make or break your next auction. Online silent auctions are an improvement upon paper auctions, and app-based auctions are an improvement upon online auctions. If you want to raise more money at your next silent auction, focus on finding an auction platform that lets your donors check in, bid, buy, and check out in just a few taps of the screen.

Want to Learn about Qgiv Auctions?

Qgiv is getting ready to launch an auctions platform that’s designed to help you raise more money by giving your donors an amazing auction experience. If you want to be the first to know about our auctions tools, get sneak peeks at our app, and learn more about how to raise more at your next silent auction, add your name to our list right over here!

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