Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 14, 2018

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Fundraising with Online Auctions

by Deane Brengle

Fundraising auctions, whether live or silent, have been around for a long time. And they work successfully for many nonprofits. Fundraising auctions do so well because they are an effective way to raise more money for your organization by typically tapping into your donors discretionary spending funds vs. charitable giving funds.

But it is a fact that they are a lot of work! Especially when combined with another event like a dinner, wine tasting, or desert extravaganza.

Why Online?

If you're thinking about adding an auction to your fundraising arsenal, think about starting out with an online auction. It's a perfect way to start tapping into new fundraising dollars without the hassle of auctioneers, event venues, caterers, volunteers, auction brochures, security, checkout, auction software, and all the other hassles that can seem overwhelming to the auction virgin.

Online auctions have many other benefits too:

  • They are a fun and exciting way to connect with those who care about your cause whether they are nearby, across the country or around the world.

  • They motivate younger donors to participate and give in a new and pleasurable way.

  • They are a great way to engage consumers online, where they are spending more and more of their time and dollars.

  • They are becoming an important component of fundraising for progressive non-profit organizations.

  • They are a fresh, new way to keep fundraising interesting and fun.

  • They are a lot cheaper than a traditional auction too! Less money to overhead costs means more dollars for your cause.

Comparing Online Auction Providers

In preparing for this article I researched all the online auction alternatives, and believe me - there are a lot. Here is what I was looking for in an online auction service provider:

  1. Easy to use. Must be user friendly, especially if you aren't tech or internet savvy.

  2. No money upfront. No need to invest any dollars to get started.

  3. Reasonable costs. Nobody wants to pay an arm and a leg for convenience.

  4. Longevity and Reputation. Must have experience and a rock solid reputation.

  5. Power and Reach. Must have the ability to help you attract new supporters, donors, and sponsors.

cMarket - The Online Auction Leader

I found all of these qualities in cMarket and more.

cMarket is an on-demand, online auction platform solely for organizations engaged in fundraising for nonprofit causes. That's all they do and they are very dedicated to it. Since 2002 they have helped over 1,100 nonprofits raise funds for nonprofit causes.

What cMarket offers is an easy way for you to hold an online auction:

  • Using their online system and step-by-step instructions you create your group's own personalize online auction web page that is hosted on their website.

  • You can auction as many items as you want. Supply your own items or add items from their risk free consignment catalog to spice your auction up.

  • Have a completely online event, or an online event in support of your physical live or silent auction.

They give you power, flexibility and control. Via a selection of online tools you customize your auction to meet your unique fundraising needs:

  • Create custom email with your event and cause information, featured auction items, and clickable sponsor logos.

  • Add "Donate an Item", "Refer a Friend", and "Guest Book" buttons to your auction site to expand your reach.

cMarket has great customer support and is available 9 - 5 by phone and you can send an email any time of day to them. They also provide free training and advice to nonprofits to make the most of their online auctions:

  • Auctions secrets.

  • Building your auction catalog.

  • Promote like a pro.

  • Boosting your bidding.

  • Going online to live.

  • Building your catalog and sponsorships.

cMarket does all this without any up front dollars from you. After you hold your auction they charge a flat fee and a small percent of the take.

If you're new to fundraising auctions or online fundraising auctions, why not stop by their website and see if it's right for you? And while you're there sign up for their free publication, "50 Auction Tips".

Find out more about online fundraising auctions with cMarket


About the Author:

Deane Brengle is the editor of several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.

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