Mar 27, 2019

9 questions to ask when purchasing silent auction software

charity auction software

It’s 2019, tech has taken over, and we’ve moved nearly everything online. Technology makes life easier, saves space, and saves even more trees. However, transitioning the way your donors give to be online can be daunting. There are a lot of silent auction software companies out there today, so we want to help guide you to find the one that’s the best fit for your organization. 

Choosing the right silent auction software is important to the success of your auction and fundraising event because it becomes your hub for donor details, financial information, auction inventory, and more.  

So, where does one begin this quest for auction software? Here are some questions to ask when purchasing silent auction software:  

1. Has the software been effective for nonprofits like mine? Look at other organizations that use the software to determine if they run similar events or have similar fundraising initiatives. Is this software saving them time on event-related tasks? Are they raising more money because of it? If so, what is it about the software that enables them to raise more?  

2. Has the software been in use for several years? More years on the market means more experience in both fundraising and the development of the technology. It’s good to know that a product has been out long enough to work through bugs and receives regular development updates. 

3. Can the software be adapted for our organization? You should inquire about how this technology will work with other programs that your team utilizes. For example, can you link to your social pages and export the guest list? Can you download financial reports to upload to your donor management system?  

4. Does the software handle all aspects of the silent auction? Managing a list of attendees for a free walk-a-thon is different than selling tickets to a gala, so it’s important that the software can support the needs of your event. If you’re hosting an auction and collecting donations, it’s important to consider payment processing and user accessibility 

5. Is the pricing model effective for my needs? If you need extra help at your event it’s good to know if there’s an option to add staff and equipment, as needed. Perhaps you’ll end up selling more tickets than expected. It’s also important to ask about fee structure to know whether pricing is based on a percentage or a flat fee.  

6. Do my donors need to download an app? According to the Community Brands’ Donor Experience Study, only a small portion of donors interviewed are willing to donate via an app downloaded on a smartphone versus text message or a website. It is important to know not only how much the donor wants to give, but also how they prefer to make that donation.   

7. Are training materials and support available? Being prepared to use the software that you purchase is crucial, so you’ll need to understand how you’ll access learning tools, the time commitment for learning, and how the training is shared with volunteers. You should also ask the hours and extent of support that you’ll receive. 

8. Will someone be on-site to ensure our event’s success? Some software companies provide on-site support the day of your event and some do not. It’s always good to ask whether this is an option. If so, how will the software team integrate with your event? Will they fully staff the event or will you need to supplement with volunteers?  

9. What have other nonprofits said about the software? Ask for testimonials, they’re a great way to hear what clients have to say about customer service and platform features. Figure out how they’ve utilized the software, how it’s helped them, and what they found challenging. 


Set a time here for a free demo of GiveSmart! 


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County