One of our newer clients holds a silent auction as part of their annual invitational. An amazing array of luxury travel packages are donated by generous sponsors, and proceeds supported the work of the foundation. During previous events, the foundation used a bidding app to make the bidding process easier, but attendees had to use the provided devices to place bids. In addition, a limited radius meant attendees had to be in the auction room to place or update their bids, which significantly limited participation since the invitational provided many opportunities for attendees to go on offsite excursions.
When MCI USA started managing the invitational, we determined that a technology upgrade would make the bidding process more user-friendly, promote increased attendee use, and ultimately drive up auction revenues. We reviewed several bidding apps that participants could easily download to their phones, and selected an app with a user-friendly interface and robust suite of marketing tools.
We sent out a series of pre-event emails that encouraged attendees to download the app so they would be ready to bid as soon as the auction opened. These emails leading up to the event also generated a lot of excitement around the auction. The week prior to the event, attendees’ information was uploaded to the app, so text notifications to download the app were also sent.
The new app enabled attendees to read descriptions, view pictures, and search the auction items by destination. To stay competitive in their bidding, attendees could create maximum bids, so the app would automatically rebid for them. Attendees also had the option to receive push notifications when they were outbid for their favorite auction items so they could easily increase their bid, even when on excursions and events.
The attendees’ ability to competively bid on silent auction items at their leisure increased engagement and built buzz throughout the entire event. As soon as the auction closed, each winner’s credit card was charged. This not only quickly completed the transaction, but reduced administrative follow up after the event. MCI USA’s effective integration of the new app into the silent auction increased revenue by $120,000 over the previous year’s silent auction.