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Is your organization ready to host an online auction?

Posted November 16, 2021 by Virginia Davidson

Hosting an online auction

Online auctions can be an effective and engaging way to raise money. There are a lot of details and logistics to manage behind the scenes, though. If your organization is thinking about an online auction, consider these 4 questions before you commit to it.

What information would you need to collect for donated items?

As you’re exploring which online auction platform your organization would choose, such as Bidding for Good or Auction Frogs, go through the process of entering an item. Make note of which fields are required, the acceptable file formats, and any character limits on item descriptions or other fields. You can take those parameters into consideration when you plan how you’ll need to collect item information from donors. You want to make the process straightforward and efficient both for item donors and for you. With a gift pyramid, you can also determine if your staff has the capacity to successfully solicit and manage the details for donated items.

How many items will you need to sell to reach your goal?

A gift pyramid is a simple but powerful way to set realistic goals for your appeals. Use a gift pyramid to assess your fundraising goal for your auction and determine how many items, and of what value, you’ll need to sell to reach this goal. This exercise helps target your solicitation of auction items. It may also help determine whether or not an auction is the right choice to help achieve your fundraising goal. If it’s not, that’s okay! It’s best to come to that conclusion before you’ve invested organization and donor time.

How and where will you store donated items?

If you do decide that an auction is the right choice to reach your goal, do you have the space to comfortably store items? If not, what arrangements do you need to make and what are those costs?

How will you arrange shipping and/or pick-up for the winning bidders?

Make sure instructions for each item are clear when the item is posted. This helps manage bidders’ expectations. It’s also important to pin down those details with the donor of the item well in advance, so they know if they’re responsible for shipping.


Donor and fundraiser time and energy are valuable. By taking the time to answer the above questions, you’ll be well positioned to decide if an online auction would be a good addition to your development plan.

2 thoughts on “Is your organization ready to host an online auction?

  1. We are very interested in learning more about the online auction as we are planning to launch one for our non-profit, Marlow Guitar International, this Spring. Specifically we need advice on the platform and do’s and don’ts for organizing the auction. We are a subscriber already to littlegreenlight

    1. Thanks for being an LGL customer! Although LGL does not offer online auction management features, you may be able to connect a platform that you do plan to use to your LGL accunt. Feel free to contact our support team for more info on that!


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