How Make-A-Wish Used Mobile Bidding to Increase Charity Event Donations by 45%

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Make-A-Wish Colorado faced a challenge at their charity auction event: donors weren’t fully enjoying the event because they had to run back and forth to the auction table to bid on items.

This led to less overall bids and ultimately lower sale prices. Plus, Make-A-Wish Colorado had professional athletes at their event, and guests were having to choose between meeting athletes and participating in the auction.

Enter mobile bidding. When the foundation employed mobile bidding at their first event, they quickly realized it was a brilliant solution because guests could interact with honorees and continue to bid on auction items from their mobile phones. Not only were guests free to roam about the event as they pleased while participating in the auction, but donations went up by an impressive 45%.

GiveSmart, the company behind the mobile bidding app of the same name, was not surprised by these results.

“We typically see an increase in funds raised when mobile bidding is used in place of pen and paper,” says Erin Shy, Executive Vice President of Nonprofit Solutions at GiveSmart’s parent company, Community Brands. “On average, we see clients increase funds raised by 30% or more.”

The increase is largely due to the platform’s instantaneous mobile alerts to participants who have been out bid. Bidders can receive a text saying “You’ve been out bid on the Chicago Boat Tour. Reply to increase your bid.” Instantaneous messages like this often ignite bidding wars which escalate over a matter of minutes rather than hours; ultimately driving up prices.

GiveSmart’s success is not only driven by ease of use for auction participants, but for event organizers as well. In addition to mobile bidding, the platform can be used at events to capture winning live auction bids and donations during an appeal moment with a paddle raise. Staff or volunteers can then approach the donor and easily record their name and bid/donation amount on iPads.

GiveSmart’s Guest Management feature enables organizations to manage guest lists, seating assignments, meal preference, notes, and guest contact information. The administrative side of the GiveSmart platform is accessible on iPads and can be used by GiveSmart staff and organization volunteers to register guests at check-in and close guests out at check-out. A reporting dashboard allows organizers to export and download all pertinent donor and financial information, rounding out their event fundraising tasks.

“Everything I need is at my fingertips, and if I can’t find it, a GiveSmart team member is always available to help,” commented Stacie Winslow, Auction and Sponsorship Coordinator at Make-A-Wish Colorado. “The increased profit is like a bonus; it’s really the ease of getting ready for an event and the on-site support that sets GiveSmart apart.”

GiveSmart is a Community Brands company and partner of Expo Logic. For more information please visit the GiveSmart website or contact us at


About GiveSmart

GiveSmart by Community Brands is a mobile fundraising platform and event management service. GiveSmart serves over 7,000 nonprofit organizations across the United States and Canada, helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Community Brands joined the forces of 501 Auctions, Gesture, and GiveSmart to bring you the industry’s leading fundraising technology, event expertise, and customer service. GiveSmart’s platform streamlines financials for nonprofits and schools by providing one fully branded site to sell tickets, sponsorships, merchandise, raffle tickets, and house auction items. The site can be used year-round for various fundraising endeavors, serving missions of all shapes and sizes.


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