publication date: Jul 19, 2011
author/source: Janet Gadeski
Taking an auction online cheaply, easily and quickly remains
a distant hope for many small charities. Add the wish list of instant alerts
when bidders are outbid, email reminders that the deadline is near, and
instructional messages to winning bidders, and that hope might seem like a distant
But Australian Dean
is set to make that dream come true with Myminiauction.com
, an online auction site for charities.
Personal generosity inspired
It all started when Kirkland, an investment banker, wanted
to auction some valuable personal items to benefit a children's charity. He
couldn't find an existing website with the exact features he needed, so he had
a developer build one. Now he's made that site available to charities around
the world who want to create their own customized online auctions.
He's built in several functions to stimulate bidding. "Successful bidders receive an email
to confirm they are the highest bidder," he explains. "If they're outbid, then
they receive an alert that they are no longer the highest bidder." Other optional
emails can remind all bidders that the auction is about to finish or give
instructions to winning bidders.
Wrap up online or
take it live
Kirkland emphasizes that bidders don't need to create a
personal account before bidding, a feature that he believes generates more
activity. And the auction doesn't have to conclude online. Some of his clients
have transferred the winning online bids to a special event where they've
continued the bidding action in a live or silent auction.
"At a live event," he notes, "digital equipment can be hired
for thousands of dollars to facilitate a silent auction. These days with iPads
and MyMiniAuction, it costs only $100."
CEO Stephanie Lorenzo
of Project Futures
ease and the greater audience reach that MyMiniAuction brought to her small
charity. "We had quite a few people bid before the event and then it went
pretty crazy on the actual night," she recalls.
"What I found was great about the site was that it was super-easy
to use and did not take long to place a bid. We only had four computers the
night of the launch and we had over 400 people, so the technology worked
perfectly for what we had. . . . There were definitely people who re-bid once
they were outbid. The site made it very simple to find that out by sending
email alerts, and with iPhone technology, all the bidders had to do was keep
posted on the night."
She contrasts that with the organization's previous
experience of silent auctions: bids restricted to the attending audience, lower
revenue and the challenges of deciphering illegible handwriting on bid sheets.
To make the most of MyMiniAuction, Lorenzo recommends
marketing online and through social media to reach people most at home with the
technology. She added corporate sponsor acknowledgements and information about
Project Futures to the bidding site as well.
Flexible, easy to
The site supports a great deal of detail for each item
posted: the auction end date (which can be extended), a picture, text
description, starting bid, bidding increment and bidding history. It supports
all time zones and several currencies. An organizational account costs $100 AUD
for a year, no matter how many auctions are held.
Kirkland has drawn 20 clients so far, a mix of charities and
individuals fundraising for charities. He was particularly pleased to help Accor Hotels
raise funds for Queensland
flood victims and Japanese artists raise money for tsunami relief.
For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org