Mobile Bidding Software and Virtual Fundraising: Part I
Mobile bidding software. Three words that strike fear in the hearts of many orgs and Virtual Gala (VG) guests. But not anymore! In Parts I and II, we answered common questions we field on a daily basis on the topic. Here, we’ll break down what guests can’t get enough of as it relates to mobile bidding software, AND what makes them want to find something else to watch or do.
Things Guests Hate: Too Complicated/Too Many Steps
Without a doubt, the single biggest barrier to participation (and subsequently, donations) you can put in front of guests is a complicated or multi-step sign-in or registration process. It’s imperative you make it as easy as possible for guests to take part in your fundraising event. The more steps they have to take, the more likely it is they’ll throw up their hands and say forget it! Guests do not want to spend a ton of time trying to figure out how to sign up for mobile bidding. For everyone to join in the fun, provide clear, consistent and simple explanations about the process. Include screenshots, graphics and imagery when you can. Make it simple for guests, and as a result, enjoy more donations (and happy donors)! Donors won’t forget how pleased they felt by a smooth and seamless process.
Things Guests Hate: Not Being In The Know
Surprises are not fun in this environment. Are your guests bidding on silent auction items, or will there be live auction packages featured during the live stream? Spell out exactly when packages close and if they’ll be sold live or as part of the online silent auction. What can donors expect in your show? Did I miss something? There are tricks you can display on the bidding page to make this abundantly clear to guests. Ask us for tips!
Things Guests Hate: Being in the Dark
In the same vein, guests appreciate knowing what’s coming up next in the live stream. They tell us being unaware of what will or won’t be included in the show – really, just being in the dark in general – is a major source of anxiety and frustration. Two things NOBODY needs more of right now (or ever), right?! Fortunately there’s a fairly painless solution: Educate them with preshow PowerPoint slides, outlining the content that’s coming up. Another benefit to preshow slides is that folks know they’re in the right place. If you include music and or video content, which we recommend, they’ll know they’re not experiencing any audio issues, either. Countdown clocks to the live show are a fun addition, as well. As for the months and weeks prior, think MARKETING! Shout it from the rooftops. Tell everyone you know you’re going VIRTUAL and tell THEM to tell everyone THEY know. Our Marketing and Communications Calendar – which we share with all of our clients – will keep you on track in the weeks leading up to your fundraiser.
Things Guests Hate: Not Easily Knowing How to Join the Fun!
Make it as simple as you possibly can for your guests to watch, participate, and DONATE. Once your live stream team has established the URL for you
r show, share it far and wide. Blast it on your website’s landing page. Plaster your social pages with fun details about what folks can expect. Again, our trusty Marketing & Communications calendar is a great resource for this task. It even contains sample copy you can use as is or modify to fit your org’s language. Send out emails and invitations to join. You never want to hear ANYONE say they didn’t know about it. Marketing is one of your MANY keys to success in the virtual world.
Things Guests LOVE: The Giving Thermometer
There’s something special about the dynamically rising giving thermometer – that visual representation of your fundraising success. Sure, it appeals to our senses of sight and sound, but it goes deeper than that. There’s a psychology to it, as well. It enhances the cultureof teamwork and community, which is an intrinsic part of your virtual event. It also conveys a sense of urgency and places the onus squarely with your viewers, which encourages giving.
Things Guests LOVE: Acknowledgement + Gratitude
Select a platform that can display donor names in real time, to acknowledge them during the VG. Showing your donors appreciation, both visually and verbally, pays off! If you have guests who’ve agreed to donate before the event (pre-commits), make sure they understand how and when to enter that cash donation during the show. Or you can opt to do this on their behalf – another boost for your giving thermometer!
Things Guests LOVE: The Chat
The chat feature is one of our favorite things. Seriously. When we first started doing VGs, we sort of figured the chat would be a fun afterthought. But we quickly realized it had WAY more potential than that. In the big picture, the chat helps us recreate some of t
he intimacy that’s missing when we’re not able to gather in person. It’s also just plain FUN! We’ve been amazed at some of the organic conversations that have popped up during the chat, often org-related and mission-focused. But sometimes people just want to share what they’re eating and/or drinking, or what they plan to bid on, or who they plan to OUTBID. No matter what the topic is, discussing it in the chat always increases the energy and engagement of your entire production.
Things Guests LOVE: Social Media Shoutouts + Interaction
Encourage your guests to join the social movement! Have them take pictures of themselves at home, enjoying the show, then post them to their social media pages and tag the org they’re supporting. It benefits everyone and should not be overlooked.
In addition to marketing, another key to success with VGs involves what people see on their screens. The almighty VISUALS! And we’re not just talking about videos and pictures. You need beautiful full-screen and lower-third graphics, attention-grabbing PowerPoint slides – pretty much anything your Dynamic Duo (emcee and auctioneer) is saying can be reinforced by some sort of visual. Reach out – we’d love to help with this part!
Notice there’s a lot more to love in virtual-land with regard to mobile bidding software than there is to hate! Technology can be daunting to many of us and it’s human nature to fear what you don’t understand. We hope our three-part series gave you a little more understanding of mobile bidding software and all the great things it can do for you. Have more questions? Contact us!