Software Advice has helped many fundraising organizations and businesses choose the right auction software to increase bids and ensure event success. How does it work?

Auction Software

 
Silent Auction Pro logo
 
Silent Auction Pro is an online event management solution for fundraising, auctioning and selling tickets. This solution is suitable for charitable institutes, clubs and other nonprofit organizations. It includes tools to manage contacts,... Read More
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Silent Auction Pro is an online event management solution for fundraising, auctioning and selling tickets. This solution is suitable for charitable institutes, clubs and other nonprofit organizations. It includes tools to manage contacts,... Read More
 
ReadySetAuction logo
 
ReadySetAuction is a cloud-based bidding management software designed for small and midsize nonprofits. It offers donation management, guest management, event websites, mobile bidding, cashiering and payment processing within a suite. ReadySetAuction... Read More
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ReadySetAuction is a cloud-based bidding management software designed for small and midsize nonprofits. It offers donation management, guest management, event websites, mobile bidding, cashiering and payment processing within a suite. ReadySetAuction... Read More
 
Auctria logo
 
Auctria is a cloud-based bidding and auction management solution designed for small and midsize nonprofits. It offers website management, payment processing, bid sheets, donor receipts and reporting functionalities within a suite. Auctria's... Read More
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Auctria is a cloud-based bidding and auction management solution designed for small and midsize nonprofits. It offers website management, payment processing, bid sheets, donor receipts and reporting functionalities within a suite. Auctria's... Read More
 
Accelevents logo
 
AccelEvents is a cloud-based nonprofit software solution specializing in mobile fundraising. Users can hold either silent auctions or raffles in the system. For silent auctions, AccelEvents gives users access to a host dashboard,... Read More
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AccelEvents is a cloud-based nonprofit software solution specializing in mobile fundraising. Users can hold either silent auctions or raffles in the system. For silent auctions, AccelEvents gives users access to a host dashboard,... Read More
 
AuctionMethod logo
 
AuctionMethod is a cloud-based auction management solution with features such as user-configurable auction websites, consignment management, invoice generation and payment processing. The software suits the needs of organizations that... Read More
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AuctionMethod is a cloud-based auction management solution with features such as user-configurable auction websites, consignment management, invoice generation and payment processing. The software suits the needs of organizations that... Read More

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Sharp Auction Engine logo
 
Sharp Auction Engine is a cloud-based auction software that helps companies set up auction websites and conduct online auctions. It caters to small and midsize businesses. Primary features include catalog management, an auction calendar,... Read More
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Sharp Auction Engine is a cloud-based auction software that helps companies set up auction websites and conduct online auctions. It caters to small and midsize businesses. Primary features include catalog management, an auction calendar,... Read More
 
ProcurePort logo
 
ProcurePort offers a cloud-based e-procurement suite to assist companies with their sourcing, procurement and auction needs. It is suitable for small to midsize pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and more. ProcurePort’s... Read More
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ProcurePort offers a cloud-based e-procurement suite to assist companies with their sourcing, procurement and auction needs. It is suitable for small to midsize pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and more. ProcurePort’s... Read More
 
Promena e­-Sourcing logo
 
Promena e-Sourcing is a cloud-based auction management, sourcing and procurement platform. It supports strategic solutions, such as request for information (RFI), request for proposal (RFP), request for quotation (RFQ) and e-auction... Read More
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Promena e-Sourcing is a cloud-based auction management, sourcing and procurement platform. It supports strategic solutions, such as request for information (RFI), request for proposal (RFP), request for quotation (RFQ) and e-auction... Read More
 
Tip Top Auction logo
 
Tip Top Auction is a cloud-based auction solution for small auction businesses. Primary features include donor management, item management, payment processing, print-material generation, online tickets and fundraising. Tip Top Auction... Read More
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Tip Top Auction is a cloud-based auction solution for small auction businesses. Primary features include donor management, item management, payment processing, print-material generation, online tickets and fundraising. Tip Top Auction... Read More
 
BidPal logo
 
BidPal’s fundraising suite is a fundraising and event management solution for any size nonprofit. It supports activities including donor management, online fundraising, auction execution, event planning and mobile bidding. The event... Read More
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BidPal’s fundraising suite is a fundraising and event management solution for any size nonprofit. It supports activities including donor management, online fundraising, auction execution, event planning and mobile bidding. The event... Read More

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Bidcoz logo
 
Bidcoz is a cloud-based, nonprofit software solution for small to midsize organizations. Key features include functionality for hosting auctions, selling tickets, soliciting sponsorships and encouraging donations. Bidcoz allows users... Read More
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Bidcoz is a cloud-based, nonprofit software solution for small to midsize organizations. Key features include functionality for hosting auctions, selling tickets, soliciting sponsorships and encouraging donations. Bidcoz allows users... Read More
 
Easy.Auction logo
 
Easy.Auction is a cloud-based auction management solution that offers website management, online bidding, live auction, bid management and proxy bidding functionalities within a suite. Easy.Auction features website management, which... Read More
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Easy.Auction is a cloud-based auction management solution that offers website management, online bidding, live auction, bid management and proxy bidding functionalities within a suite. Easy.Auction features website management, which... Read More

 

Buyer's Guide

by Brian Westfall,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: October 5, 2017


Auctions have the potential to raise a ton of money for your foundation, charity or school. Nonprofit event planners said as much when we surveyed them for Software Advice's 2015 report, “Which Fundraising Event Is Best for Your Nonprofit?"

That's the good news. The bad news is they're a ton of work.

You have to get auction items from donors and promote your event through email, social media and every other channel at your disposal to ensure a good turnout. On the day of the auction, the fun really starts: registering guests, capturing bids, collecting payments and writing receipts. Oh, and don't forget the government's cut. They'll want to see all of those 8282 and 8283 forms come tax time.

It's enough to make a short-staffed organization avoid auctions altogether.

If this struggle sounds familiar, you may want to invest in dedicated auction software—applications specifically designed to help users better manage their auction events.

In this Buyer's Guide, we'll break down auction software definitions, common functionality, pricing information and more to help you decide if auction software is right for your organization and what system might best fit your needs.

Click a link below to jump to that section:

Reviewers' Choice
What Is Auction Software?
Common Auction Software Functionality
Benefits of Auction Software
How Much Does Auction Software Cost?
Types of Auction Software Buyers

Reviewers' Choice

Auction Reviewers' Choice

Reviewers' Choice Products

Accelevents BidPal
Easy.Auction SchoolAuction.net
Silent Auction Pro  

Our Reviewers’ Choice list shows the five highest user-rated software solutions for Auction software when adjusted for total number of reviews and recency of reviews.

If a software solution has more reviews, and more recent reviews, we value those ratings more highly than a product with fewer, older reviews. This is because is it much harder to get 100 five-star reviews than it is to get 10.

We also know that software vendors continually tweak and update their product, so we believe that more recent reviews tend to be more accurate.

To determine which products made the final cut, we looked at how users rated each solution's:

  • Overall performance,
  • Ease of use, and
  • Customer support

A solution can make the Reviewers' Choice top five in all three categories, or just one or two. All software solutions in the Reviewers' Choice have at least 10 reviews from real software users. The final products are listed in alphabetical order from left to right.

For more details on how we selected our Reviewers' Choice, read the full methodology.

What Is Auction Software?

Auction software helps users with the event planning, bid capturing, payment processing and compliance management aspects of auction fundraisers. This kind of software can help with a one-time event or ongoing online auctions.

Auction setup in BidPal
Auction setup in BidPal

These platforms offer a central hub to track item and registrant data and facilitate collaboration between members in your organization. They help make auction events run more smoothly, and improve the effectiveness of your fundraising initiatives.

Common Auction Software Functionality

The various features found in auction software are designed to help users manage the entire auction cycle, from pre-event planning to post-event analysis. Here is a list of some common functions to look for in auction software systems:

Event & item management Track and store auction event details, RSVPs, seating charts and more. Procure, tag and list items for auction.
Auction type customization Online or offline? Live, silent, reverse or sealed bid? 'Buy Now' items? This software helps you manage a number of types of auctions.
Website creation & user registration Create a branded auction event website and allow users to register for auctions online for easy bidding and payment.
Automatic bid capture Capture and update bids on auction items in real time. Automated outbid notifications encourage participation.
Payment processing & receipts Process payments immediately upon sale. Email receipts and acknowledgements to donors automatically afterwards.
Post-event analytics & reporting Gain insight and generate necessary forms. For example, you can find out which items did better than expected and what times had the most bidding activity.

Auction software integrates with other systems within your organization, whether it be fundraising software to see how much an auction contributed towards your goals or accounting software to easily capture event expenses in your general ledger.

Benefits of Auction Software

If you never do auction fundraisers or don't rely on them for significant funding, dedicated auction software can seem unnecessary. On the other hand, if big ticket auction events make or break your organization every year, dedicated auction software becomes a vital investment.

Here are three ways auction software can help you run and manage auctions:

  • Make your auctions more flexible. Traditionally, if attendees miss your auction event they can't bid on items. Guests can also get wrapped up at your event and forget to walk over and see what items are on the table. With features like mobile bidding and the ability to host auctions online, auction software offers more flexibility for participants.
  • Encourage participation. Auction software can send automatic push notifications when a person has been outbid and periodic reminders to guests to donate towards your worthy cause. The result? Higher final sale prices on your auction items and more fundraising overall.
  • Securely capture auction data. Bids, payments, receipts, acknowledgements, appraisals, RSVP lists, catering lists, donor information—losing track of any of this information can sink your auction. Auction software not only offers a place to securely store and process this information, but also weaves them together in an intuitive way to create efficient process workflows.

How Much Does Auction Software Cost?

It would be great if every auction software vendor got together and agreed to price their software using the same method, but unfortunately that's not the case. Some common pricing methods you can run into with auction software include:

  • One-time cost (i.e., perpetual license)
  • Per-auction
  • Flat monthly or annual fee
  • Per-user monthly or annual fee

There are other factors besides the software license cost to consider as well. Some vendors may limit the number of items you can put up for auction in a certain pricing tier or charge a “performance fee" (similar to what you'd pay an auctioneer). Others can charge extra for things like customer support or training.

When researching options, pay special attention to how and when you'll be charged for the software to budget accordingly.

Types of Auction Software Buyers

Nonprofit organizations (charities, foundations, schools) are the primary purchasers of auction software, but they're not the only ones. Here are some other types of auction software buyers from commercial businesses, along with examples of products that cater to each audience:

  • Manufacturers. If you need to run a reverse auction to get the best bid from competing suppliers, check out systems like ProcurePort.
  • Auction houses. If you want to create a private online auction to sell off real estate or industrial equipment, look for platforms like Sharp Auction Engine.
  • Car dealerships. If you need to run an auction to sell off vehicle inventory, research products like Auction123.
  • E-commerce businesses. If you're looking to build a long-term auction business online like eBay, consider software like Easy.Auction.

 

 

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