MobilBid Virtual Auction

Since its introduction, MobilBid has been used at more than 1000 events, raised millions of dollars, and given fundraisers an innovative, cost-effective mobile bidding platform.
MobilBid is also a popular solution for virtual or remote auctions…silent auctions held without an audience. If you are considering MobilBid for a virtual auction this guide will help.

1) Open a MobilBid Account

Visit www.mobilbid.ca find our Account Request at the bottom of our landing page fill out the form and we’ll open an account in your name. There is no charge for an account, training fees, tech support or product upgrades. Our fee is 5.5% of monies raised.

2) Set up Your Auction

You will receive an email invite with instructions on how to access your account. Use our setup videos to get started. Request tech help if needed. Design your auction with logos, messaging, open and closing times. Then load your items with images, descriptions, and opening bid amounts. Be sure to test your auction in a preview mode.

3) Invite Bidders

If you have contact information – cell numbers or email addresses – you can invite your guests to join the auction with a simple message asking them to text a key word or phrase to the dedicated phone number for sign-up. Drive awareness and participation through social and public media, and donor lists.

4) Engage Bidders

Guests review items, bid, or place max bids and receive immediate outbid alerts on their personal phones. Unlimited texting keeps bidders informed and engaged. Use multi-sale items and donation feature to raise more funds.

5) Checkout & Closing

Checkout and closing auctions have never been easier with STRIPE mobile payment. Collect credit card info at first bid. The system processes winners’ cards immediately at close and issues detailed receipts. Plan for central item pickup. Contact information and bidding analytics are retained for future planning.


For further information, contact Dale Carter 855-202-4404 or carter@mobilbid.ca

Dale Carter is the Director of New Business MobilBid at NDI, a privately-owned technology company based in Toronto, Canada focussing on the academic and non-profit markets. MobilBid is Canada’s only full-featured mobile bidding platform designed and engineered in Canada for non-profits both large and small.

A Guide to the Charity Silent Auction Technology Makeover

MobiulBid on screen

Five features fundraisers love about today’s charity silent auctions.

Charity silent auctions have been a mainstay of modern fundraising for decades. As popular as they are, anyone who has ever been involved agrees that silent auctions of any size are a lot of work, require astute planning, tight organization, and an army of volunteers to ensure the event is a success.

We’re talking live event silent auctions, not to be confused with Internet-based online auctions that all mimic eBay.

Like most things in the information age, the technology revolution has caught up with the silent auction and in a whirlwind of innovation, removed the tedium, added excitement, glammed the process and put the power of success at the fingertips of the organizers and the excitement in the hands of the bidders.

So, let’s take a closer look at five areas where technology has forever changed the silent auction protocol and how you can harness these changes to star in your own success story.

1) Organization and Management

No matter the size of the auction, it is still necessary to gather worthwhile items. Committee members can canvas local merchants, corporations, and patrons or alternately contact a myriad of companies that can source any type of item – fine art, sports memorabilia, travel, dining, and personal experience. Special software now allows you or your event organizer to design your auction online, in most cases with images, full descriptions and pre-set opening bids. This reduces up front time and eliminates the expense of a printed catalog while letting you add or remove items up to the very last minute. Auction items should still be displayed but hold the bid sheets and the pencils.

2) Check-in and Sign-up

Now you can forget the confusion at check-in. If you have found a provider or a program that permits bidders to use their own smartphones – marrying software technology with the popularity of mobility – guests simply register through email, an SMS prompt or short code. Accessing the auction this way makes check-in easy. Collecting credit card information along with name and contact details, provides the administrator with important data stored for later use. Some event planners arrange for attendants with tablets to assist guests who don’t have Internet access.

3) Increased Bidding

Once signed in, guests can review items, build favourite lists and place opening or maximum bids. Bidders are notified immediately if they are outbid and can respond with a keystroke…from anywhere. (Perfect for golf events.) Mobile bidding replaces the scramble to check bid sheets and jostling to markdown re-bids with a quick, seamless response that encourages friendly competition and increased bidding.

Mobile silent auctions provide multiple administrative options and a much better guest experience. More recent platforms include the option to sell multi items at a fixed price and the popular “Fund-a-Cause” feature.

Many programs offer a leader board function that previews auction items then tracks the bidding as well as providing an opportunity to publicly recognize volunteers and thank sponsors.

4) End on a High Note!

As they say, “It’s all fun and games until it’s over.” When it’s over at conventional silent auctions the closing usually triggers a mad rush. Organizers hurry to collect and tally bid sheets, figure out the total by winner and then scramble to generate invoices, find the winners, and decide on a payment method.

This is the number one pitfall you want to avoid at all costs…and now you can. Make sure the system you choose offers an automatic running total of commitments by bidder and instant invoicing at close. Letting you at the end of the evening with a few simple keystrokes, send detailed invoices to each winner’s phone within minutes of closing.

While we can’t speak for all systems…the platform we offer allows guests this time-saving feature combined with the ability to pay from their phones using a secure mobile payment system. The proceeds go straight into the organizers account. Once the invoice is paid, each winner is issued a receipt used to pick up the merchandise. The event closes in minutes rather than hours and even the volunteers get home on time.

Lately we’ve discovered an increasing number of people…in some cases up to 90%… using the mobile payment option.

A new MobilBid features asks guests to enter their credit card information as they place their first bid. When the auction closers, all the winners’ cards are processed, and detailed receipts are sent to the winning bidders used to retrieve their items. No more chasing guests for payment months after the event.

And as for results, one client recently compared two similar events held a year apart. The first event used pencil and paper. A year later the same event, with about the same number and type of items and guests – using our platform saw a revenue increase of just over 78%.

We can’t promise that to all our clients, but it’s not un-common to have increases of 35 to 50%, while some clients have doubled their expectations.

5) Bonus Feature

As a bonus, a few systems store bidding analytics with guest name and contact information for future planning. Handy for your next auction.

There’s a variety of silent auction programs on the market and a lot of them make your job easier, bring value to your efforts and improve results. If you are looking for a supplier for your next auction, ask for references and be sure they can deliver their service in Canada.


Dale Carter is the Director of New Business MobilBid at NDI, a privately-owned technology company based in Toronto, Canada focussing on the academic and non-profit markets. MobilBid is Canada’s only full-featured mobile bidding platform designed and engineered in Canada for non-profits both large and small.

Has the Smartphone Rendered the “Dedicated Wireless Network” for Mobile Bidding Obsolete?

Pretty women on phones using MobilBid

The surging popularity of mobile bidding platforms and the advantages of using these systems has dramatically improved not just the streamlining of the silent auction process, but also the results – the monies raised.

Pretty women on phones using MobilBid

Early Days of Mobile Bidding

The first companies to offer mobile bidding provided their service using pre-programmed devices – modified tablets – and a dedicated wireless network. The result being that a charity silent auction would offer two or three rented tablets per table shared by eight or a dozen guests. And a dedicated wireless network set up on site by a team of technicians to “deliver” the auction. Safe, sound, and self-contained – at a cost.

This system offered the convenience of “mobile” bidding, but the novelty – because of the cost of renting units and paying a technical team to set up and manage the auction – was expensive. Too expensive in most cases for smaller fundraisers and many non-profits.

These systems offered an improved bidding method but did little to overcome the challenges of signing guests into the auction, ongoing bidder engagement or resolve payment options and the chaos of closing. And sharing bidding devices was never a good idea.

Enter the Smartphone

More recently, as the smartphone gained popularity and mobile technology improved, better mobile bidding charity silent auction platforms have evolved. This has in most cases eliminated the need for a dedicated wireless network.

Some of these new platforms – including our own MobilBid – combine special software – to set up and manage the event- with advanced mobile technology to automate the entire silent auction process.

In the case of MobilBid, we set out to provide a full-featured, easy to use, effective silent auction system that could be self-managed by our clients. MobilBid has eliminated the need – and cost – of specialized technical support to set up and manage an event.

Since its introduction just a few short years ago, MobilBid is now used effectively at hundreds of silent auctions annually. MobilBid consumes very little cellphone data, is fast, efficient, easy to use, and a real crowd-pleaser.

Guests are familiar with their own phones, so there is a minimal learning curve. Phones
eliminate device sharing, the bother of logging in and out when passing devices from guest to guest and the annoying challenge of dealing with mixed-up bids and ensuing billing problems.

MobilBid uses a cellphone-based platform and works well at most venues. So, if there is an acceptable cell signal, your guests will be able to participate, view items and bid with confidence. And organizers will benefit from the full suite of features.

A Weak Cellphone Signal

Sometimes, a cellphone signal can be degraded due to geography, building design or venue location within a building, or a combination of all three. If you have any doubt about reception, we recommend testing the venue for suitability.

You can test the signal easily when you visit the site. Simply use your smartphone to access the MobilBid Real-Time Demo Auction by Texting “demo” to 647-699-0027 and observe the speed at which you can login, browse items and make bids. If it works effectively for you, it will work for your guests.

If the ability to text and receive the initial response is good, but you find the login, browse and bid functions are slow, then you should consider providing Wi-Fi access for your guests – usually the venue manager can help.

And because of the popularity of cellphone use – think social media and messaging – in public places and at social events, many hotels and event venues now use commercial cellphone signal boosters. Certainly, worth another question for the manager.

Oh, Oh! No Signal. Now What?

If, for whatever reason, if there is no cell signal, then we encourage you to you consider a vendor other than MobilBid. A vendor, that can supply dedicated devices and a supporting network to run the auction, set up and managed by a team of technicians. A lot more expensive and less convenient, but certain to assure a reliable platform.

Or, if all else fails, then you can fall back on the old-fashioned paper bid sheet method to run your silent auction. Just be prepared to spend a little longer at checkout deciphering bid sheets and preparing billing invoices.