Charities often hold fundraisers, such as auctions, in which donated goods are sold to raise money for the charity's cause. As an alternative to a traditional auction, a charity can host an online auction fundraiser, in which the charity lists available items on a website and patrons bid through the website instead of having to visit the charity or auction house in person. While the charity can host the auction on it's own private website, several companies offer online auction fundraiser hosting, but the charity will have to pay the company a fee for the service. Running an online auction helps the charity reach more potential bidders.
In many situations, an online auction fundraiser starts by collecting different items to offer for auction. For example, the organization could assemble gift baskets to auction or take donations of valuable goods. Sometimes patrons of the charity auction their services, such as photography, hair styling, and grooming. These items are offered at a starting bid, which is the lowest price the charity will accept for the item.
After obtaining the auction goods, the charity will post these items online, along with the date of the auction. For example, a charity may decide to host the auction on one night only but allow buyers to view the available items ahead of time, or the charity may decide to hold an open auction where patrons can bid on items up to a certain date. The charity can host the auction on their own website or start a website specifically for the auction.
Several companies host online auction fundraisers on behalf of different charities. The company develops the online auction site, collect bids from patrons, and finishes the auction by either delivering the names and addresses of the auction winners to the charity or by shipping the auction items directly to the winners. This option can work well for charities that do not have their own website or do not have the technical ability to host an online auction fundraiser themselves. The company does, however, keep a portion of the proceeds made from the auction.
Having an online auction fundraiser can help a charity reach more potential bidders than it would have by hosting the auction in a specific location. Reaching more bidders gives the charity a greater chance of auctioning more items and of reaching a higher bidding price. The more bids a charity receives, the more funding it can raise for its cause.