Aug 3, 2021

Tracks to Reopening: Self-checkout and contactless item redemption


With hybrid and in person events returning, how are you going to make check-out and auction item pickup more efficient? And what can self-checkout and item redemption mean for your guest experience when social distancing isn’t a safety concern anymore?  

Guests and staff want face time at an event 

Of course they do! But whose time is best spent in line or troubleshooting technology?  

Give your guests the maximum amount of time possible to engage with your mission, chat with your development team, and enjoy your event. If you recruit the right volunteers and share clear communication, your supporters can have more time to give and have fun.  

You may have concerns about guests being put off by a contactless experience. First, you will still be able to maintain that high level of service to VIPs or people who are just more comfortable with the old way. Second, people overwhelmingly prefer contactless pick-up experiences and want them to be a permanent carryover from 2020. Give your guests what they prefer! Last, you can still have volunteers and staff making your guests feel appreciated and engaging with them on a personal level. The limited facetime you have is best spent stewarding your donors.  

Self-check-out and item-redemption how-to 

Take a look at these quick, easy steps to see how you can provide this preference to your guests. We have also provided a sample floor plan for item-redemption set-up.  

Contactless check-out in just three steps!  

  • Text winning guests that they have the option to check out, with their personal link
  • Text guests who haven’t done so after 15 minutes that you will run their cards at a specified time 
  • Run all cards with unpaid balances 

This works best if you have credit cards required during event registration. It is easier than ever  through auto-fill or camera scan. (Typing it in is still an option, too.) It is recommended to have a designated, trouble-shooting volunteer.   

Tips for contactless item redemption  

  • Have instructions printed in your program, on your GiveSmart homepage, and on displayed signage  
  • Never, ever open up item redemption until all volunteers and staff are ready – even if that means you are behind on the timing you initially communicated. 
  • Have a roped and sanctioned line, a backstage area for item holding, a front of house area with two sets of banquet tables parallel to each other, and enough volunteers to make the process efficient and guest-friendly. A sample floor plan and detailed steps can be found below.  

Nearly contactless item redemption how-to

  • Have volunteer(s) at the start of rope and stanchions 
  • Rope and stanchions volunteer(s) confirms guest’s invoice is paid and verifies package number(s). Winning guest writes them on a carbon copy “pick up” ticket. Use one ticket per item.  
  • Guest takes pick-up ticket(s) to pick-up table and sets them down. The check-out volunteer walks over, grabs the tickets, thanks the winner from a distance, and hands an auction item runner volunteer the ticket.  
  • The auction item runner volunteer goes to the backstage area to pick-up all items that have been clearly labeled with auction item numbers.  
  • The auction item runner sets the items on the pick-up table, verifies all numbers, and leaves the receipts to be signed by the winner. After they are signed, the check-out volunteer asks the winner to sign all receipts (from a safe distance) and remove the top white copy to keep. The winner should leave the yellow/pink copy on the table.  
  • Check-out volunteer files the yellow/pink copy, and moves to the next guest 
  • Have dollies available for people to move their items to their cards/cabs 
  • A sample checkout floorpan can be seen below

This same process applies if you had a virtual auction or raffle, and you are doing pick-up at your office or in a drive-thru way. It would have to be adjusted a bit based on those circumstances. It is best practice to have one set of volunteers (meaning one at rope and stanchions, one at checkout table, and one runner) for every 50 items.  


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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