Your Auction Fundraiser in the Shadow of COVID-19

Published on 12 Mar 2020 by Auctria

Auction fundraising events are supposed to be fun and social events. COVID-19 is casting a dark shadow on large gatherings but the fundraiser can still go on, though it may take a different form. Whether you are converting your auction fundraiser to an online auction or needing to refund registrants Auctria is by your side to help navigate the change.

We recognize what a difficult time this is for our Auctria community. We are available to come alongside you to help transition your event to the Online platform.

Convert In-Person to Online Fundraiser

We know it has taken many hours of dedicated effort to put together an in-person fundraising event. Don’t let it go to waste! Convert, don’t cancel. Think outside the box, or rather inside the box this time.

Advantages of going online:
There are many considerations when considering how to run your fundraiser. But if the in-person event option is not possible for now, then an online auction has many benefits:

  • It opens the bidder pool to a much wider audience.
  • Bidding can happen over a longer period, allowing bidders to engage when they have opportunity
  • Online bidding specific features like proxy bidding and anti-sniping make it easier to maximize the funds raised for your cause
  • Bidders receive active notifications of being outbid so can ensure items don’t get away on them
  • You can promote specific items during the event to drive involvement
  • You can solicit donations online for specific projects with up to date information on how you are tracking to your goals.

Converting to an Online Fundraiser

There are just a few adjustments that need to be made to convert a silent or live auction in Auctria into an online offering.

The mechanics of running an online auction fundraiser are in many ways easier than an in-person event since the system does most of the work for you:

  • Bidders can register online themselves
  • Bidders record their own bids and donations
  • Auctria will close items at the end of the event and notify winning bidders.
  • Bidders can pay online

Some areas that may need to be handled differently. For example, the logistics of distributing items: are they available for pick-up or will be mailed.

Additional online features within Auctria can boost the income: proxy bidding, anti-sniping & mobile should be employed.

Proxy Bidding

Proxy bidding accelerates the bidding so more bids go higher, faster. The greater the number of bids, the higher the auction fundraiser proceeds. In a standard auction after each bid is placed the outbid bidder does receive a notification but then NEEDS to do something to then be back on top.

Why offer proxy bidding?
Proxy bidding allows bidders to set the highest price they are willing to pay for an auction item without having to “baby-sit” their bidding. When offering proxy bidding auction fundraising administrators have found that auction items do go for higher prices.


Anti-Sniping extends the active bidding past closing time. Have you ever been running an auction and as the bidding is closing there is a surge in activity? The winner is the one that got that very last bid in at the instant before the auction closes. The winning bidder is super happy but how much higher could the bids have gone?

Why offer anti-sniping?
Prevent bid sniping by last-minute bids outbidding people before they have a chance to react. Any bid placed within the trigger window will cause the closing time to be extended by the amount of the extension period. This helps bids reach their full potential.

Mobile Bidding

Auctria’s mobile bidding application is available for Android and Apple devices.

Mobile bidding allows bidders to view the catalog from their personal device via an app optimized for the experience.

It makes it really easy to view the auction catalog by category, and place bids. The quicker a bidder can find the items they want to bid on the faster the auction income can rise.

Mobile bidders receive instant outbid notifications with a quick click to re-bid option. The quicker a bidder realizes they have been outbid the sooner they can rebid. Faster bidding means fundraising soars.

Promoting an Online Event

Going online opens up other avenues you can use to communicate with your supporters.

Add Video

Your dedicated auction website can include a video. Tape a short but sincere message to be seen by all your donors, sponsors and bidders. Post it front and center on the homepage of the auction website.

Leverage Social Media

Ensure your online event is shared everywhere you have an online presence: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.


Communicate with all stakeholders: donors, sponsors, volunteers. Communication is key.

Use the dedicated auction website to post a video message about the status of the auction fundraiser. If you are converting to an online auction clearly state the dates and next steps.

Ask sponsors to remain as sponsors for the online event. Offer to give them some extra attention on the online website and/or auction emails & notifications.

Include a special Sponsor Page or customize the emails with links or messages about your sponsors, Make it worth their while to continue the support. To really sweeten the deal offer an extended appreciation at your next event or throughout the year. Here is an entire webinar devoted to helping you win the sponsorship race.

Ticket Refunds

First, try to encourage participants to donate the ticket proceeds. Or, offer the opportunity to roll the ticket over to a future event if practical.

Some refunds may be inevitable. Don’t worry, it’s not difficult with Auctria to do either a partial or full refund.

Regarding fees: we will always fully refund our credit card fee when a refund is issued via Auctria. We can’t detect if the refund is issued directly from the payment processor’s dashboard.

Please contact your payment processor directly to discuss the fee returns on their part.

It is our goal to make getting through the COVID-19 with your fundraiser intact! Let us help you continue YOUR good work!

Next Steps

We have a collection of resources, how-to guides and videos available at that will help guide you through the process.