Power User Auction Tips
Houston Choral Showcase, the “fun choir,” energizes their audience with pop, jazz and Broadway. They host their own shows and can be hired out for events as well. They have even been onstage with Barry Manilow!
Auctria got hacked, in a good way, by Houston Choral Showcase. Power user Belinda, Executive Director at Houston Choral Showcase was kind enough to share her top tips.
Feedback from users is always appreciated.
This has helped the product evolve with so many features and characteristics that can be customized. Belinda says with 195 attendees at this year’s gala and hopes to grow the event, teamwork and organization are critical. Their past auction events were planned using Excel spreadsheets that quickly became impossibly cumbersome.
The Houston Choral Showcase 2017 gala goals were to raise money and have fun doing it. To do that, they had to streamline their planning and event procedures. Otherwise, their planning committee was getting bogged down with event and auction details, and their gala attendees were getting frustrated with confusion and delays.
Enter Auctria to save the day, to help the team:
- Get automated
- Broaden their community reach
- Do fundraising and selling throughout the year
Belinda’s exact words after the gala auction fundraiser were “using Auctria was a life saver”. In the past there were multiple spreadsheet versions of auction details. Keeping track of the most recent versions was a serious opportunity for human error. By automating and using a program that is web-based Houston Choral Showcase was much more organized. Job sharing was now possible and sharing an undertaking as large as an auction fundraiser is crucial. The entire auction process of planning, bidding and receipts was modernized and smooth.
Power User Tip: Belinda tweaked the bidder statements to put the final payment due in a larger font. “During an auction rehearsal we found that we were scanning the document to find that detail and we wanted it to pop out visually.”
Auctria Tip: All forms and documents are already created and need no modification to run a complete auction. However the for bidder statements, forms & reports can be customized for content and appearance including font sizes and colors. Custom [stationery](https://docs.auctria.com/v3/produce-forms-and-documents/stationery( provides even more distinctiveness to communications.
In the past, planning seating assignments was a cumbersome activity involving much scribbling (and erasing) on pieces of paper. And bidder numbers were assigned when people arrived at the gala, which was time-consuming and confusing. This year Belinda streamlined the whole process through Auctria -- no more unidentified people looking for a table, or bidders mysteriously having two numbers.
Power User Tip: By attaching a computer to a jumbo TV, Belinda and four other people were easily able to participate together in the process of assigning seating (while seated comfortably with a glass of wine!).
Auctria Tip: For in-person events, you can use Auctria to manage table assignments. It really is a simple drag and drop.
Bidder Sheets & Numbers
Create bidder sheets to match display pages and keep everything straight. The Auctria program has lots pre-set options for a quick print and go. Administrators can choose: 2 column, 3 column, single column, space for bidder number or email, starting bid, bid increments, value and images. The choices are designed to fit almost every scenario. This year, Houston Choral Showcase particularly wanted a way to accurately record bids even if handwriting deteriorated through the evening. If auction items get assigned to the wrong bidder, that’s time-consuming to fix and the people affected can get grumpy.
Power User Tip: Print bidder number sticker sheets and give the entire sheet to the guest upon arrival. No more trying to decipher handwriting at the end of the night.
Houston Choral Showcase has tremendous support from within. Friends and family of the choral group generously support the organization. By using a gala to garner attention AND that event being well organized they hope to expand beyond the reach of gala attendees. If they had fun at the gala, they’ll come back next year and bring their friends.
Having a website for the auction leads to credibility and the ease of sharing information. At the bottom of the auction catalog website there are links to the group’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Power User Tip: After the event, export the bidder list to your favorite email and mail programs to boost your communication reach (Houston Choral Showcase uses Mailchimp and DonorSnap). Keep your supporters updated with your ongoing activities and show them how the fundraising revenue is being used.
Auctria Tip: Bidder and Donor lists can be imported and exported in Excel format. This is very useful in updating bidders, donors, email lists into and out of your favorite communication or donor management platforms.
After the gala the next big event on the calendar for Houston Chora Showcase is the spring show “Let the Sunshine In”. Belinda says “For technical reasons we needed to change the way we sold show tickets and Auctria has provided a storefront where we can do that without having to pay for (and learn how to use) another service.”
Using the program for non-auction events is smart. Familiarity with the program from both an administrator and end user can be helpful. The administrator already knows how to prepare the website for another event, and registered bidders/purchasers can pass through a familiar system quickly..
Power User Tip: Get the most value by using Auctria throughout the year. We did so to sell show tickets without any auction event at all!
Auctria Tip: It’s true, Auctria can be used for auction fundraising and year round events. A license of Silver allows for 4 events, Gold 8 events and Platinum Unlimited.
Special thank you to Belinda at Houston Choral Showcase for these power tips. Belinda is the Executive Director of this unique and fun choral group. If you want to learn more about Houston Choral visit their website or follow them on Facebook.