How to Host an Online Charity Auction

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As a business owner, you want to promote your products or services to a wider audience whenever possible. This ensures a better place for your business in the future. One effective way of promoting your brand is by hosting an online charity auction on your event website.

This is also a great way to provide back to the community and help make a name for yourself in the industry. You can also host an online charity auction if you’re thinking about launching a new idea or a product.

It can seem quite intimidating to host an online charity auction, especially if this is your first time. However, it’s really easy to do if you have the right tools in your tech arsenal. In this article, we’ll explain step-by-step how to host a successful online charity auction on your site.

Step #1: Set up the non-profit auction

The first thing you need to do is come up with a non-profit auction idea.

Let’s take a look at some different types of charity auctions you might want to set up on your event website:

Christmas charity auction

The auction lets people register and buy Christmas “wish lists” or gifts for less privileged kids. You can provide people with the list of children that are in need, and mention a few things they want as gifts for Christmas. People can then go through the list and pick out the gifts they can buy for the children. This way, people can sign up for a child and purchase their wish list for them.

Setting up something like this is straightforward. All you need to do is create a list of children that will receive Christmas gifts. Then, you can allow people to register to buy a Christmas gift for each child.

Annual fundraising auction

Annual fundraising auctions are perfect for hosting an online charity event on your website. Non-profit organizations can host annual fundraisers for charitable causes and for doing community work.

For instance, Furry Friends is a cat rescue organization that hosts an annual fundraising auction. Similarly, Toys “R” Us, a toy retailer company, holds multiple fundraising auctions throughout the year.

You can set up an annual fundraising auction by creating a list of people who buy tickets for the online charity auction. You’ll need to use an event management plugin such as Event Espresso to streamline ticket purchases. People who purchase the tickets can attend the fundraiser and those funds can go directly towards the non-profit organization.

Benefit auction

You can host a benefit auction for your audience soon after hosting the main event. For instance, you can host summer camps and then a benefit auction in the fall on your event website. This can be a great way to boost attendance for the benefit auction as you already have people interested and attending your summer camps.

You can let people register for the benefit auction as well as the main event. To do this, you need to use a robust event management plugin such as Event Espresso. Use its online registrations feature for creating a list of people that want to attend the auction soon after your main event ends.

Local auction event

A local auction event can be a great way to gain trust from the local community. For instance, you can host a local neighborhood auction event for a small church. This can help them raise funds for investing back into their church program and, in return, your brand gains recognition for helping out. This not only promotes a better relationship with the local community but also promotes mutual support among socially and economically diverse neighbors.

You can create a charity auction for people in your neighborhood and let the local community and people from the outside register for the auction. For this, you’ll need a good event management tool like Event Espresso to effectively host an online charity event.

Step #2: Promote your charity auction

Once your charity auction is set up and ready to go, you need to start promoting it to create hype and reach out to more people.

A great way of doing that is by leveraging email marketing and sending out promotional emails to everyone in your emails list. This way, you can inform loyal customers about your ongoing charity auction. In addition to this, you can get the word out about prizes to motivate more people to attend your online charity auction.

Social media can also help you promote your charity auction by sharing behind the scenes, exclusive content with people. You can let people know what goes on behind the scenes of hosting an online charity auction. Giving sneak peeks of the prizes and available items to auction on is also a great way to incentivize more people to attend. Additionally, posting ads on social media platforms about your charity auction is a great way to reach out to a wider audience.

Lastly, you can also use your event website to further promote your charity auction and gain new attendees. Displaying a countdown timer for the event start time is one of the best ways to boost engagement and create hype in the community. You can also use the event website for displaying additional details such as the legal information and documentation of the charity auction.

Step #3: Run your online auction

Soon after the online charity auction starts, it’s crucial to communicate with your supporters or bidders.

You can boost interest and encourage bidding amongst your attendees by showing them valuable prizes. In addition to this, adding surprise gifts can also be a great way to promote bidding at your online auction.

You want people who weren’t able to attend your online auction to stay in touch with the ongoing event through social media. You can post updates on social media and send out a notification for people in your email lists about the ongoing charity auction event.

You can include text and email messaging for things like letting raiders know they’ve been outbid or letting bidders know that they’re winning the auction.

Step #4: Announce winners for the auction

Once your online charity auction ends, you need to start wrapping everything up by announcing the winners of the auction. It gives the winners a sense of exclusivity and makes them feel special. This is also a great way to encourage people to come back to future online charity auctions.

It’s also important to get the prizes to the winners quickly after the auction ends. You can ask the attendees for their delivery address or let them know how they can pick it up themselves. Gather all the important information for the delivery so that the winner can get their prize right away.


If you’re looking to host an online charity auction, you can use Event Espresso to set up a registration form for the event, sell tickets to attendees, accept credit card payments and promote your charity auction. It’s very simple and easy to get started and has a lot of advanced functionality for when your business needs to grow.

Ready to host an online charity auction? Try the Event Espresso demo today!

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