Affordable auction software that supports nonprofits, schools, and community organizations without breaking the bank can be hard to come by. Bidding for Good, like Auctria and others, brings together event planning and auction management in one piece of software.
Bidding for Good appears to be a solid solution for organizations that need some help with their auction planning, but at a glance, we can already tell there are some problems in place.
This software comes with a range of tools from remote bidding to event management, ticketing, and table seating. But, the site looks outdated, and it’s hard to understand if it’s built for the nonprofits looking for a software solution or the bidders themselves.
After some poking around, we did find the website, but overall, we weren’t especially impressed with the platform. Other companies do the same thing, but better, and as such, it’s clear that users can perhaps benefit more from an alternative.
What is Bidding for Good?
Bidding for Good is an auction service that allows users to organize online auctions in front of a large bidding community, as well as in-person event coordination. The process ranges from preliminary set-up to online registrations, processing transactions, and facilitating mobile bidding.
The tool comes in the form of a Pro plan and a limited free version, both of which help users organize an auction and create promotional materials and keep track of registrations.
The primary features included here include things like auction home pages, bid sheet design, event promotion, and auction reports.
Based on our look at the website, it seems that Bidding for Good looks pretty old. We didn’t like the user experience of being on the site, and while it seems like this company provides a valuable service, it’s hard to see this platform as a good resource for users looking for a way to better market their services to their donors.
It’s also worth pointing out that, as a donor management solution, this probably isn’t going to cut it. For example, it’s not a CRM and there’s a lot of uploading spreadsheets involved here.
Already, we’ll say that it might not be the best choice for anyone who wants to make relationship management convenient and cloud-hosted.
Event and auction management in one place
Bidding for Good’s main selling point is that you can plan the whole event in one platform. This way, users can look at all planning details–things like seating charts, tasks, and so on, while listing auction items on the site.
Self-registration allows guests who have not purchased tickets in advance to register themselves when they arrive on site. All attendees need to do is provide a name, an email, and a credit card.
The benefit here is, attendees won’t be trapped in a long line, looking for a paper registration form. For organizers, they’re skipping the inconvenience of manual credit card processing or having to take checks.
Process Transactions in the Auction Room
Bidding for Good includes a feature called QuickSale that allows you to process transactions on-site, outside of auction activity. So, if you have a donor that wants to contribute independent of bidding, you can quickly process their gift on-site and send along a receipt.
It’s also worth pointing out that your account comes with credit card swipers, so you can quickly process gifts, as well as help your donors check in quickly.
Saves information for the next event
All event information from your home page to your items, donors, and email campaign materials are stored inside your account, making it easier to set up when the next big auction rolls around.
The website just states that they offer a robust suite of reports. We’re guessing that means you can view revenue, items sold, and so on, but they don’t get into the nitty-gritty.
Support with Event Details
Of course, the added support won’t come into play with the free plan, but users can contact the team to request help with the event. The Auction Experts work to train volunteers and employees and can help you make connections with bidders and donors.
You’ll need to get in touch to learn more about pricing, as some of these support options may cost extra.
Ability to Invite 450,000+ Bidders
Bidding for Good has access to a database of online shoppers. When you sign up for the Auction Manager Pro subscription, you’ll be able to invite thousands of bidders to power your online fundraiser. According to the site, bidders are affluent and ready to shop in the name of a good cause.
This feature also has the benefit of making it easy for organizers to hand over some of the online auction responsibilities to Bidding for Good.
Drag and Drop Homepage Builder
According to the official website, you can build a branded homepage in less than an hour’s time. The builder comes equipped with customizable templates and you can update your branding accordingly.
That said, we don’t love their designs. The platform isn’t all that attractive as a whole and homepage examples don’t have the professional touch. We’re not sure to what extent you can update the design.
Still, the pages allow you to upload your items and promote sponsors and you can contact an Auction Expert to help you employ best practices.
The event management feature brings a decent amount of functionality to the table. Users can manage their fundraisers from their online portal. Here, they’ll be able to set up an online event home page, sell tickets and assign seats to those who purchased a table.
You’ll also be able to print out bid sheets and manage your database of items and descriptions.
Leaderboard Display at Live Events
Leaderboards will display important information through a projector or television. The leaderboard is ideal for making announcements, showcasing sponsors, and acknowledging donations. This tool also makes it easy to show your appreciation during the event.
Premium Event Support
Users have the option of inviting Bidding for Good’s auction experts to help you with the event. These experts are available to perform a variety of functions. They might show up to ensure everything runs as planned, train volunteers, or help your auction team handle the extra workload.
The promotion process is a bit vague, but the site mentions users can showcase their catalog to the bidding community in the weeks leading up to the event. Additionally, the site states that users can promote sponsors and donors, as well as provide supporters with important details.
Because the tool does not offer an email marketing platform, we’re not sure if they’re referring to the homepage again or something else.
The basic plan is free—but it comes with a decent amount of features. You can create bid sheets, import spreadsheets, generate auction reports, and add one image per item. The basic plan does not offer online or mobile bidding, reporting, or payment processing.
The plan is free, of course, so we can’t criticize it too much, but it’s a little disappointing that the platform does not come with
Auction Manager Pro
Auction Manager Pro starts at $249 and is a big improvement on the free plan. Here, you’ll now have access to new features like mobile bidding, ticket sales, and donation, bid, and payment processing. Other added features include event promotion, the ability to create homepages for your auction, import Excel spreadsheets, and email lists and create reports.
Essentially, all of the features that are actually useful to someone planning an event are included with the upgrade.
we should also mention that this platform might not be super cost effective for smaller auctions. With the free plan, you’re getting a really small selection of features, so you’ll either need to invest in a product that picks up the slack or do a lot of the work manually.
Several users mentioned that this pricing structure might be a problem since the Pro plan isn’t exactly affordable to all organizations.
As such, you’ll want to keep in mind that you will be paying for payment processing fees. As such, fees will vary based on which platform you choose, be it Authorize.net, Stripe, or an alternative solution.
Bidding for Good is based in the cloud and it should work with most modern browsers. It’s unclear if they have a mobile app or if all mobile bidding is done via SMS.
Integrates with Eventbrite
The only integration listed on the site is Eventbrite, which certainly comes in handy for event planning. But, it would have been nice to see some additional add-ons—like a CRM or nonprofit software.
Who is this for?
According to the site’s FAQ section, the platform is designed for schools, nonprofits, charities, and even for-profit organizations. Because you can customize your content, the homepage templates work for everything from arts organizations to cancer research, education, and faith-based groups.
Customer service may be reached through email or the website. Pro subscribers will have access to phone support, as part of the paid plan.
We should mention that the site feels disorganized, and it seems that at least parts of the web content are older. For example, Bidding for Good is offering a “swiper solution for use at your Premium Mobile Event beginning in March 2014.”
Some features are written about in detail, while others are extremely vague. We don’t know what reports they offer, for example. And, that—when you’re dealing with multiple bidders, both online and off—along with donations, planning, and expenses—is a huge blind spot.
That said, they appear to offer good customer service. Physical help is available if needed, and the platform can help you make some additional connections.
The website, too, provides some resources to their users. Here’s a look at some of what you’ll find:
Not the most robust information center, but still pretty good. Here, the site goes through the basics of what they do and what each plan offers.
Bidding for Good Helps You Collect Donations
Paid subscribers can also take advantage of BiddingForGood’s ability to help them access top donors in your area. According to the site—and we’re not actually sure how this works—the company will help you connect with businesses in your community. So, Bidding for Good might ask the local golf course for a package, get in touch with a spa, salon, or a local boutique.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see any mentions of this service within the limited pool of customer reviews—however, it sounds like one of the better offerings especially if you’re short on time.
Still, it’s hard to imagine they put in the legwork required to build relationships with your community members.
The blog didn’t impress us either. Here, users will get some pretty run of the mill content—aimed at helping users come up with some fundraising ideas. That said, all content is on topic—and might have some useful information for fundraisers.
Tips and Tricks
This section is where you’ll find a long list of checklists, tips and other sources of inspiration. Most of these items are gated behind a lead capture form, so you’ll likely receive a sales call if you download an eBook before signing up.
There aren’t too many customer reviews for this platform, but as we mentioned above people complained about the pricing structure.
Others found that the platform was too choppy for users who were expecting smooth payment processing. A lot of the functions—like downloading a report, providing a payment record to a donor, or accessing bidder information turned into a multi-step process.
Another issue we found was, someone on Crowd Reviews mentioned that if you’re running a live auction and an online auction at the same time, if the online auction closes before the live auction, you will not be able to make any changes to the event page. While the two events might support the same charity, they are not one in the same and should be treated as such.
What’s the Verdict?
Bidding for Good has a lot of “good” in their software. it certainly could have a place in an organization tasked with hosting fundraising auctions. We liked that the platform combines event planning with both live and online auctions, but we’re not sure we’d recommend this without some caveats.
First of all, Bidding for Good is not a donor management solution. Yes, you can accept donations, but the reporting features are limited and there’s little in the way of contact management.
Donor management software typically brings some added convenience to the mix, too. Here, there are no automation and the site seems really behind on industry standards.
We found the interface a bit confusing and downright unattractive. Users also are faced with some inconveniences like dealing with Excel forms where other tools provide integrations.
In the end, you could try the free version to see what you think. However, there are other options, both in this auction specific space, and in the donor management area.