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Better Than Free. For a limited time earn 110% of your auction revenues on your first Better Than Free online silent auction with our 10% Cash Back promotion. This is a limited time promotion –

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  • THE Single Best Item You Can Add To Your Online Silent Auction
    Posted 10 August 2016 | 7:28 pm
    You can get just about anything to put into your online silent auction... But should you? Of course not. You should spend your time and energy getting only the Best Silent Auction Items that are going to return the 'Biggest Bang for the Buck'. But how do you quantify that? Easy... Your time is valuable - and limited... So focus your attention ONLY on items that EVERYBODY wants, which coincidentally describes the Best Silent Auction Items! If only 3-5 people out of 100 might even want the item, don't waste your time. Instead, focus on the items that 90+ out of 100 average people would WANT and be EXCITED to bid on in your auction. These are usually items such as gift cards (restaurants, electronics, pet food/supplies, to name a few) that MOST people can use and even need on a day to day basis. You'll have LOTS of bidder competition on these items. But what's the best silent auction item you can get? And why...? THE Single Best Item You Can Add to your ONLINE Silent Auction is... Drumroll, please................. An EXPERIENCE PACKAGE! But probably not for all the reasons you may think - and you're probably missing THE most important reason of all. Before sharing this powerful secret with you, I should explain... What is an experience package? An experience package is an experience that can be enjoyed as opposed to just an item or gift card. Tickets to the ball game are an auction 'item' (and a pretty darn good one, most likely), but by pairing those tickets with a pre-game meet and greet with the team on the field along with a team-signed ball... now THAT'S AN EXPERIENCE!! So what makes an 'Experience Package' THE Single Best Item You Can Add To Your ONLINE Silent Auction? (Sorry, if your auction isn't online, you don't have access to this crazy-powerful technique) :( When you target 'Experience Packages' that involve a local celebrity (sports, music, movie, TV, etc), those celebs usually have LARGE social media followings of crazy fans that would do anything to be able to meet and spend time with that celeb (their hero, idol). This makes those fans INSTANT BIDDERS on that Experience Package in YOUR Online Silent Auction! But how do you reach them? You don't. Instead, the donor of the experience package does that FOR YOU - if you simply ask them to do it. Rocket Science, I know... I'd bet that either you or someone within your circles has access to a local celeb that either already is a supporter of your cause, or would love to help support it. And just to start the creative thinking juices flowing, here's one idea to get started... Check in with a local *FORMER professional sports player - someone that fans loved (and still do) - someone that everyone still knows (a household name in the sport, at least locally). *Pro-Tip: Former players are usually much easier to reach, yet they still have access to the current team and it's members. Ask that former player (e.g. a former pro football player) if he'd be willing to donate his time to facilitate a meet and greet on the practice field with the current team for a kid (with a parent). But you aren't done yet... Here's where this becomes far more valuable to your auction... Ask that player to post links to his donated experience package to your ONLINE auction on all of HIS social media accounts (once it's live and open for bidding) so that HIS CRAZY FANS can see it and click into your auction to bid. I've witnessed this exact scenario take place... I watched as just ONE TWEET from the former player generated over 1000 unique auction visitors in under 4 hours, with many more visitors trickling in thereafter. And that was all from Just One Tweet. Once in your online auction, statistics indicate that people stay and look at most, if not all of your auction inventory, bidding on things that they want and/or are perceived to be a great deal. Compare this to your typical pen and paper auction event that gets, let's say, 500 attendees (which is a lot for most events), but that's mostly couples or about 250 potential auction visitors, only about 20% of which actually participate in your pen/paper silent auction, and many of those drop out as prices begin to rise. This Experience Package Technique drove over 1000 unique auction visitors with a single tweet! Because of all that auction traffic, there was insane bidding competition that resulted in raising 163% of retail value auction-wide on their record-breaking WinningCause Better Than Free online auction fundraiser. I say this All. The. Time... Auction Traffic = Auction Success If you have an upcoming ONLINE silent auction, do yourself (and your cause) a favor... Go out and find one or more local celebs (did you know some singers/bands have MILLIONS of social media fans/followers eager for VIP Backstage Meet/Greet Passes?) and get them to donate an Experience Package to your online auction - then MAKE SURE THEY POST LINKS TO YOUR ONLINE AUCTION! You'll be glad you did as you celebrate the easiest and most successful auction in your organization's history!    The post THE Single Best Item You Can Add To Your Online Silent Auction appeared first on WinningCause.
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  • [Case Study] How They Did It: 434% Higher Auction Revenues (and counting)... with 90% LESS WORK!!
    Posted 13 November 2015 | 7:08 pm
    auc·tion ˈôkSH(ə)n/ noun a public sale in which goods or property are sold to the highest bidder. The very definition of the word ‘AUCTION’ hints at the secret to achieving a successful, dare I say ‘RECORD-BREAKING’ silent auction fundraiser. I’ll share that secret with you in a bit… I’ll also share how our client was able to reduce their workload by 90% on silent auctions that traditionally raised only around $9k, how they Amplified their auction, Increased Engagement with bidders, and raised $39,126.00 in their most recent silent auction fundraiser (their 4th straight Record-Breaking auction in a row!). PLUS... I’ll explain how they earned an extra $1,565.04 as a bonus! We’ll also go over their case-study showing how they were able to throw together a last-minute silent auction fundraiser as part of their ‘Pink’ campaign in the fight against breast cancer, raising a staggering 183% of retail value auction-wide. But first - Let’s take a look at silent auction fundraisers - specifically what has changed when it comes to pen/paper silent auctions over the last 100 years or so... Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Zippo. Think about it for a second... You put together an event, invite people to attend, put your auction items out on display with a piece of paper and a pen, and hope people show up to your event and place their bids. I call this the ‘Hope and Pray Approach’ You Hope people show up, and then you Pray they bid in your auction… ...sound familiar? I see you nodding your head up and down ;) Does it work? Sure… sometimes… sort of… And in a $16 billion dollar auction fundraising industry, you might be lucky enough to be average and raise just 60% of retail value value on your auction items. Yeah, you might see results that are better (or worse), but that’s the average raised on silent auction items industry-wide in the US - only 60% of retail value. Considering how hard you work to get these items in the first place - you deserve better results and more money for your cause. Agreed? But, hey - that’s still pretty good, right? It’s certainly better than nothing. Here’s a question for you... What if you could have raised 2X, or 3X, or 4X as much? Wouldn’t that be better? What if you could raise more while also reducing your workload and providing your bidders with a better auction experience? Now we’re getting somewhere!! If your organization is like most of the others I hear from, you might be struggling with attendance at your events, watching it decrease year over year, and watching your auction revenues creep lower and lower as a result. One thing’s for sure… Ignoring this problem is only going to make it worse! Am I saying it’s time to do away with your events? Absolutely NOT! BUT, dropping attendance at your events is only going to further reduce participation in your silent auctions. And as our culture gets busier and busier with so many grabs for our time, event attendance will continue to drop, reducing your revenues and forcing you to make some tough decisions you probably don’t want to make. If you’re seeing a steady decline in event attendance, and you’re struggling with, or are unable to increase bidder participation to raise more money from your silent auctions, then you might even be forced to cut programs, cut staff, or worse… What would happen if you could no longer fund some of your most important programs? Who would be hurt most by cuts you might have to make because what should be a staple in your fundraising endeavors, your silent auction, is woefully (and needlessly) under-performing? But there is hope - and the solution is probably easier than you think! I’ll get to the solution (and the case study to back it up) in a second... All of this leads us back to the Success Secret I referred to in the definition of ‘auction’… and it’s hidden right here in plain sight: Auction Definition: “a public sale in which goods or property are sold to the highest bidder” It implies you need to have bidders. (Shocker, right?) ;) (NOTE that there’s NO mention of ‘event attendees’) This also infers that there is more than one bidder, thus someone is the ‘highest’ as opposed to the ‘only’ bidder. It goes without saying, you need great auction inventory, too. (Free Download: Learn how to identify great inventory in less than 30 seconds using The Want Factor Formula from my 3 Silent Auction Success Secrets!) But what should be your highest priority? Bidders! Always start with your Scope of Reach. Why? Because your Scope of Reach dictates your next actions... You won’t achieve success by building an auction, you’ll achieve success by getting bidders (enough of them) to participate, then get the inventory to match that audience. Getting your inventory first, then figuring out how to drive bidders to your auction, is backwards. You can never have ‘too many bidders’, but you can have too few - and that’s a problem. What’s the goal? You need enough bidders to create a Competitive Bidding Environment wherein bidders are each trying to competitively outbid one another, which is what makes auctions exciting and fun! If your auction lacks bidders, then it probably lacks the all-important competitive bidding environment needed to achieve success. How powerful can a competitive bidding environment be? Example 1: One gal I talked with won a chicken coop in an auction fundraiser. But, she didn’t have chickens, and never intended to have chickens. When I asked why she kept bidding, she mentioned getting caught up in the competition of it all, then said, and I quote, “I just needed to win”. Then she asked if I was in the market for a chicken coop! Example 2: Another gentleman I spoke with won a $2500 (retail value) snowmobile - for OVER $4,000! Interestingly, he didn’t even have a need for it - but once he placed a bid (when the price was really low), he got hooked. He was caught up in the psychology of a competitive bidding environment and happily won and paid over $4k! Here’s why you should care about these two examples… Neither of these Auction WINNERS needed, wanted, or originally intended to bid on, much less WIN these items. They were part of what I call ‘Surplus Auction Traffic’ - which are people that simply stumbled across the auction and got caught up in the Auction Psychology that creates a competitive bidding environment (low starting bids, others bidding against them, and then stir in a little human nature… our desire to WIN!). These are 2 examples of Surplus Auction Traffic that would never even know about your traditional pen/paper silent auction event. Yet this additional auction traffic produced 2 WINNERS, one of which won something she flat out couldn’t/wouldn’t use, and the other paid well over 160% of retail value! And THAT is why you should care about these 2 examples... Surplus Auction Traffic is what YOU NEED if you want to Break Auction Records! (Looking for tips, tools, and techniques to drive more auction traffic to an online auction? Checkout this free download: 3 Silent Auction Success Secrets REVEALED) Listen, there’s simply no way around it... Auction traffic (bidders) is a prerequisite for a competitive bidding environment. When you combine a Plentiful Supply of Willing Bidders with Great Inventory (items bidders want), and you use the Perfect Starting Bid on your items, you can create Auction Magic! Do it right, and you’ve practically guaranteed auction success. But, do it wrong and… ...well, it’s not very pretty. (you may have even <cough> ‘attended’ one of these silent auctions wherein the competitive bidding environment was non-existent, resulting in just a few bidders winning the majority of the auction items - and usually at fire-sale prices) Sound familiar? I know how frustrating this can be, especially when you’re the one doing all the work of putting your auction together, only to watch it fall apart because you just don’t have enough auction participants. Fact #1:  There’s no way to easily increase your auction event attendance, unfortunately. Short of barricading the roads and redirecting physical traffic to your venue, you’re out of luck. Fact #2: There exists an unlimited number of potential and willing bidders that would happily participate in your auction, providing you with the Competitive Bidding Environment you need to Break Records, IF they only knew about and had access to your auction - which can be both easy and free to do on your next silent auction! In fact, you can actually get paid to implement this solution! Seriously… In this case study, our client earned an extra $1,565.04+ ON TOP OF their Record Breaking auction revenues! How? It’s simple... I’ve created an ‘Outside the Box’ solution that’s helping our clients break free of the old-fashioned, inefficient, pen/paper silent auctions - going from severely under-performing to Record-Breaking silent auction fundraisers. Just take a look at the results some of my clients have enjoyed... Using our proven system, a small school PTA in Woodbury, MN broke their 13 year auction record, raising $25,360.41 (their 3rd-straight record-breaking auction), and earning an extra $1,014.42 on top of their record breaking auction revenues! Another organization went from having (really good) inventory go unsold in their silent auctions, to selling ALL of their inventory and raising a record-breaking 162% of retail value auction-wide on just their first auction using my system! In fact, one of our clients went from a disorderly silent auction mess that raised only about 60% of retail value (their 5 yr avg), leaving them with unsold inventory and bidders that wanted to bid, but couldn’t (???)... ...and then how my system helped them turn it around, even enabling them to facilitate a last-minute auction with very little work and almost no planning that raised a staggering 183% of retail value auction-wide for the American Cancer Society! But before I share this case study and my system with you, I need to ask a favor... ...I need to ask that you set aside any preconceived notions or beliefs about how to run a silent auction fundraiser... I’m about to share a better mousetrap with you - a true ‘outside the box’ solution. Please keep an open mind, and keep your focus on the record-breaking results you will achieve with my proven system... Because here's what matters to you... How much you 'NET' after all expenses Are you being fair, honest, and transparent with your bidders/supporters? If my system weren’t breaking auction records for my clients while creating a more ethical auction environment for their supporters, I wouldn’t be sharing it with you. It’s based on THREE SIMPLE TRUTHS: It’s getting harder and harder to maintain, much less increase silent auction participation. Your organization could definitely use the Extra $$$ from a Record Breaking silent auction. A change that results in less work for you, increased reach, increased bidder participation, increased bidder enjoyment - and getting paid to Break Your Silent Auction Record - is a change for the good!! To get started, you only need to adopt a change in mindset and have a desire to ‘upgrade’ to a proven and better method. I know... change can be scary. But, if we don’t try new things, maybe in an effort to become more efficient or effective, we can really miss out, perhaps even doing more harm than good in the big picture. Imagine this... What if fear of change kept you from upgrading your phone, leaving you stuck with a corded landline phone… forever. Though that downgrade might make driving safer for everyone (I hope you’re not reading this in your car!), I’m guessing you’d miss the efficiencies and benefits of having the smartphones of today ;) When it comes to your phone, I’m guessing it isn’t attached to the wall - because it makes more sense to upgrade to something more current and efficient, right? So, if you’ve updated your phone from the 1900’s, opting instead for something more efficient and advanced (the benefits of which should be obvious), then why would you still consider using an antiquated approach to silent auctions - continuing to bank on the Hope and Pray Approach? I’m sure you can agree, it doesn’t make any sense. Now is the time to take advantage of the incredible new tools and technology available to you that will reduce your workload, increase bidder participation/enjoyment, and help you Break Your Silent Auction Records! Here’s how one of our clients did just that... [CASE STUDY] From raising just 60% of retail value (5 yr auction average), to consistently selling out all inventory and raising a record-breaking 183% of retail value auction-wide... Here’s their story: Our client, KFAN Radio, is a large sports radio station that helps local nonprofit organizations by facilitating silent auction fundraisers on-air. As the largest sports radio station in their market, even they were not immune to the pitfalls of an inefficient pen/paper silent auction fundraiser. Though KFAN didn’t facilitate traditional pen/paper silent auctions, they basically did the same thing by running on-air, call-in radio auctions. Limiting bidder participation, no matter how it happens, has the same result... An in-person silent auction generally only allows those in attendance the opportunity to bid, which limits the potential number of participants. Although KFAN ran ‘on-air’ call-in radio auctions with what would seem like a very wide scope of reach (over 400k listeners), it was actually very limiting in that only current listeners would be made aware of an auction item to bid on, and then bidders would need to call in their bids, but many couldn’t get through on the station’s phone lines. These limitations resulted in lackluster results. For 5 years running, their largest call-in silent auction fundraiser would raise an average of just $9k/auction, which equates to about 60% of retail value. Fast-forward to today, and that auction fundraiser has broken records for 4 straight years using my system, raising $39,126.00 this year, plus earning an additional $1565.04 matching donation (which I’ll explain in a bit)! Even a last-minute silent auction with very little advanced prep or planning sold out, raising a staggering and Record-Breaking 183% of retail value auction-wide for the American Cancer Society. What created these results? Traffic. That’s it… Really!! (Did you know that a lack of auction traffic is THE #1 Auction Torpedo that Sinks most Silent Auctions? Learn how you can avoid this torpedo by swiping my 3 Silent Auction Success Secrets) For KFAN, the difference-maker was the addition of a (previously lacking) Competitive Bidding Environment that was the result of driving thousands of potential bidders to their auction. Removing the barriers that were keeping traffic away from their auctions, and by making bidding easy and convenient for bidders, KFAN was able to drive over 10,500 unique auction visitors to their online silent auction, creating a competitive bidding environment. They suddenly had Surplus Auction Traffic!! Traffic = Success What did they do to drive all this traffic and create a Competitive Bidding Environment? They followed my instructions available in the 3 Silent Auction Success Secrets. KFAN moved away from an inefficient call-in radio auction (which is the equivalent to an inefficient pen/paper silent auction) to a free mobile/online auction solution provided by, finally reaching their supporters that wanted to bid, but couldn’t due to the inefficiencies of their call-in radio auctions. By using an easily accessible and convenient mobile/online auction platform, it eliminated most (90%) of the work done by the radio staff while giving bidders access to all necessary information, including item images/descriptions, current bid prices, outbid alerts, and more. More importantly, it allowed thousands of potential bidders access to their auction that otherwise had been shut out completely. Effectively, by simply abandoning their outdated methods and upgrading their auction - taking advantage of (free) current technology - according to their Promotion Director, KFAN was able to reduce their staff workload by 90%, while increasing their auction revenues by 434% when compared to an inefficient call-in radio auction. But it gets even better! KFAN (actually, their charity partner) was paid an additional $1565.04 on top of their record breaking auction revenues!! With a socially-responsible focus, my ‘outside the box’ system actually pays you, because it’s the right thing to do. I know… it sounds too good to be true. We get that a lot! That’s why you need to set what you ‘think’ is possible off to the side. We aren’t trying to do what everyone else does - because there’s a better way! My system is new, it’s different, and it’s better!! (Not to mention it costs you nothing and can actually pay you to use it!) Before explaining how it works, it’s important to understand how the online silent auction industry has been taking advantage of the current system… and by default… taking advantage of you. Note that all online auction services charge fees, which are always paid by the winning bidders, whether that’s truthfully disclosed to you and your supporters, or not. It is a fact. Here’s the real deal… If you’re charged ANY fees at any time (before, during, or after your auction ends), they’re paid from (and specifically reduce) your auction net, whether you realize it, or not.   Don’t fall for the ol’ shell game - money out is money out. Look at your NET after expenses… that’s what matters. And if you’re going to pay fees, make sure you know what they are, so you’re not being fleeced. In the case study above, KFAN had a net of 104% of their total winning bids before cc processing fees! Even AFTER cc processing fees, they had a NET of over 100%! AND, using my system, winning bidders get a tax-deductible write-off, too! (No other online auction system offers this for your winners!) Usually, online auction services just siphon off a portion of your winners’ bids (without their knowledge or consent), which also leaves your organization with less money (less than 100% of your proceeds). This isn’t good for your bottom line, and as I’m sure you can agree - it’s certainly not fair to your supporters when they’re left in the dark with no disclosure. Think about it… What if you were a bidder in one of these auctions? How would you feel if you found out that a large chunk of your winning bid (commonly 20% - 30%), you rightfully thought was supporting an organization or cause was instead taken by a 3rd party without your permission? I’m guessing you wouldn’t be very happy to learn this after-the-fact. Neither are the winners in your auctions. But my system can eliminate this problem for you, too! It’s not necessary to take fees from your winners without their permission. I’ve proven it!! In fact, my system relies on Unparalleled Transparency and Over-The-Top Disclosure for your supporters. How? Here’s where we travel ‘outside the box’ to see the inner workings of a ‘Better Mouse Trap’ - is unique… Though we do have one of the most competitive and more traditional pricing models available, we also have a hidden gem of a funding model that can pay you to put your auction online. It works by effectively asking winners to leave a tax-deductible tip (if your organization qualifies to receive charitable contributions). This covers the online auction expense and enables us to share a portion of those additional revenues back with you as the seller, enabling you to earn and keep more than 100% of your auction proceeds! Because of this unique funding model, WinningCause is the only socially-responsible mobile/online silent auction service that can enable you to net more than 100% of your auction revenues. Want happy silent auction supporters? Then disclose the fees they’re paying to them up front. Let them decide how much to bid once the tax-deductible fees have been fully-disclosed. Alerting and reminding all bidders of this fee structure BEFORE they finalize each and every bid is our ‘Secret Sauce’ for Success. How novel, right? (Honesty truly IS the best policy!) That’s how we provide ‘Over-The-Top Transparency’, and it’s also the reason why it’s so well accepted by bidders, who always know exactly where their money goes. Every penny. In fact, bidders can even choose to lower their bids to offset the fee, though as you can see when our clients are raising up to 183% of retail value on their items (and breaking auction records), bidders clearly do not lower their bids, despite the constant fee reminders before finalizing each bid. Actually, in all of our Record-Breaking online auctions, winners agreed to pay a 15% tax-deductible donation. For perspective, how often have you ordered less food at a restaurant to offset the tip you know you’re going to leave? I’m guessing this thought has never even entered your mind... In the KFAN case study, this transparency allowed KFAN’s bidders to have full disclosure as to fees, and enabled WinningCause to share some of these revenues, paying KFAN’s charitable partner an additional $1565.04 on top of their $39,126.00 record auction proceeds. Because of this over-the-top transparency, bidders are left in full control over how much they ultimately bid and pay for their auction items, leaving bidders happy, and leaving the seller earning up to 109% of their auction proceeds through our Revenue Share Program. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get paid to Break Your Silent Auction Record? KFAN went from raising only around $9k, to raising $39,126.00 (plus our $1,565.04 matching donation) in their auction this year. That’s over a $30,000.00 INCREASE!! What if you could earn an extra $1,000… $10,000… $30,000… or even more??? What could you do with all this extra money from your auctions? Could you add programs? Serve more in need? Hire more staff? Buy equipment or training to become more efficient and reduce your daily workload? I’m sure you can think of some great uses for that extra money... Well, you’re in luck! In just 3 easy and free steps, you can run your next silent auction online with mobile bidding for free and Start Breaking Your Silent Auction Records! Just head on over to and then follow these 3 Easy Steps to Get Started Now: Register Set Up Your Auction Event Load Your Auction Items Some of our clients have their auctions live and open for bidding in under 30 minutes! Want more free Silent Auction Success tips, including how to identify and avoid the torpedoes that sink most silent auctions? Don’t go down with your Silent Auction Ship... ...Grab this free download and learn my 3 Silent Auction Success Secrets. *As a bonus for downloading this free guide, I’ll also give you free access to my 3-day Course that will teach you how to Shift Your Auction Into Overdrive! In this 3-day email course, you’ll learn: Day 1: How to easily get more inventory and improve your procurement success rate by up to 560% with one free, instantly-actionable technique! Day 2: How just 6-words generated over 1000 unique auction visitors in only 3 hours for our client, Special Olympics. Day 3: How to turn your supporters into a viral online Auction Traffic-Generating Army! To gain automatic access to this 3-Day Course, just download my 3 Silent Auction Success Secrets and Save your Silent Auction Ship from being hit by one of the Top 3 Silent Auction Torpedoes! It’s a free download - and you won’t want to miss it! Once you get the free download, you’ll automatically be registered for the 3-Day Course, which you’ll receive by email. Be sure to look for a ‘Welcome’ email from me, Steve Wasnick, and follow the whitelisting instructions listed there to be sure you receive your 3-Day course. Now Let’s start breaking your silent auction records! Happy Bidding, -Steve // <img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src=";cd[value]=0.01&amp;cd[currency]=USD&amp;noscript=1" /> The post [Case Study] How They Did It: 434% Higher Auction Revenues (and counting)... with 90% LESS WORK!! appeared first on WinningCause.
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  • The Two-Option Technique
    Posted 10 July 2014 | 9:28 pm
    How can you use psychology to get bigger/better/more auction items?  Simple.  By using something I’ve coined as Steve Wasnick’s “Two-Option Technique”. First, let me share a quick story with you…   Our oven went belly-up.  (Just writing that suddenly makes me crave a homemade pizza)   My wife, kids, and I live in an older house and admittedly, our kitchen needs some updating. That said, we don’t have one of those big, fancy-schmancy ovens - ours is a small, built-in oven (the kind they don’t seem to make many of anymore).   We all piled in the truck and drove to the nearest appliance center (oh what fun - a family trip!).   Holy ovens!  Big ovens, bigger ovens, COLOSSAL OVENS!  Ovens almost as far as the eye could see - truly an oven haven!  We looked and looked and finally found it - ONE oven that would fit our tiny little built-in space.   What did we do?   We left without buying an oven.  We didn’t leave because we love family oven shopping so much so that we just couldn’t wait to get to the next place to continue frollicking through the oven-aisles (as tempting as that must sound to you).   Instead, we moved on because we simply weren’t comfortable paying $1000 for an oven without anything to compare it to - Was it a good deal? Did it have the features we wanted?  What other features might be available?  Was it right for us?   We didn’t know.  More to the point, we weren’t comfortable “pulling the trigger” - because there wasn’t another oven to compare it to, even in that sea of ovens.   With 2 young, hungry kids in tow, we decided one store was enough for the evening - no oven-baked pizza for us that night.   I’ll get to the ending of this story in a bit…   Here’s the takeaway:  Psychology - Understand it and it’ll help you.  Disregard it and you’re at its mercy, good or bad.  It worked against the appliance store and lost them a sale.   You’re probably thinking, Psychology?  What psychology?  What are you talking about, Steve?   Psychology (both in-kind donor AND bidder psychology) plays a HUGE roll in the success of your auction, or lack thereof - but that’s largely fodder for another post or 12.   You see, most of us are alike, which is really helpful because we can predict behaviors with incredible accuracy - that is, IF you know and understand the psychology behind these behaviors.   In this instance with only one option to choose from, we (used collectively) don’t like making decisions based on having only that one option (because it’s not an option at all).   My wife and I weren’t comfortable making a decision to buy when given only one option, and your auction item donors aren’t comfortable when you give them only one option.   (Okay, when it comes to something in our house, the decision is really hers, but she lets me think I’m part of that process by discussing it - then we compromise and do it her way.)   My wife and I packed the kids in the truck and left the store.  Your potential auction item donors will simply say, “No”.  Why?  Because it’s easier - and it’s more comfortable than having to think about and process your request -  determining things like, “What’s a fair amount to give to their auction?”, or, “Are they asking for too much?”, etc.  Too much brain-work for an already overworked, busy decision-maker - you'd have a standard "no" response, too.   Remember, the answer is likely “No” before you even ask for your donation - it’s an uphill battle from the start.  “No” is simply easier - it requires no additional work on the potential donor’s part, costs the potential donor nothing, etc.  It just makes sense to say “no” for a number of self-serving reasons.   BREAK THE CYCLE   Your auction item donors are asked to donate items all the time, probably every single week of the year.  They are pre-programmed to say “no”, and they are well-practiced at it, too.  You need to break the cycle. How?  Throw a glass of water in their face just before they can spit out a “no”.   That’ll definitely break the cycle and make your request stand out, but it’s obviously not likely to help you reach your end-goal of a nice auction item donation.   Instead, use what I call my Two-Option Technique.  What is it?  It’s two ovens.  They each have slightly different features, different brand names, and slightly different prices.   Give your prospective donors TWO options to help break the cycle.  But don't get carried away - more here isn't a good thing.  Too many options and our brains shut down yet again.   For example, ask for a $100 gift card (be specific, not generic in your ask), and follow it up with:  OR, if that’s too steep, we’d love a $50 gift card, instead.  You choose the numbers, but you get the idea.   This will break the typical “no” cycle and put in it’s place an open door for conversation.  Conversation leads to relationships and ultimately to auction item donations.   Why does this work?  Psychology.  Specifically, our collective psychological response when the number of options given to us lands in the "Goldilocks Zone" (not just one, but not too many, either - it has to be just right).   Here’s something that backs this up:   Daniel Mochin wrote an article for the Journal of Consumer Research in which he demonstrates that people have Single-Option Aversion (my wife and I were afflicted with this very thing - but no worries, we pulled-through)...   He took a test group of 129 people, split them into 3 groups, gave each group one or more DVD players, and asked the people in each group to consider the options presented for possible purchase.   Group 1 was presented with just one Sony DVD Player. Group 2 was presented with just one Philips DVD Player. Group 3 was presented with 2 options -  BOTH the Sony AND the Philips DVD Players. Each participant in the study was then asked if (s)he would either a.) consider purchasing one of the presented options, OR b.) if (s)he would rather defer making a decision to purchase to consider more options before making a decision.   The results?   Group 1 (Sony DVD Player only) - 9% said they’d buy it.  91% opted to defer the purchasing decision for more options.   Group 2 (Philips DVD Player only) - 10% said they’d buy it.  90% opted to defer the purchasing decision for more options.   Here’s where it gets really interesting (hint:  Pay attention to this part!)   Group 3 (BOTH the Sony AND the Philips DVD Players) - 32% said they’d buy the Sony DVD Player -AND- 34% said they’d buy the Philips DVD Player.  That’s a 66% conversion, up from only 9%-10% in the single option groups!   Only 34% of group 3’s people opted to defer a decision to buy right now!!   Let’s circle this back to you for a minute…   Those that deferred their decisions in the groups above - those are your instant “no’s” when you’re asking for donations.  Now, wouldn’t it be great to go from getting 90% “no’s” to only 34% “no’s”?  Do you think that would increase your number of donations?  Do you think it just might help to reduce your workload?   How much more money could you raise for your organization by simply using the Steve Wasnick Two-Option Technique?   Want to get really crazy?  Then watch for my 3rd Option Technique coming in a follow up blog post - it’ll knock your socks off and possibly eliminate ALL “no’s” entirely (while simultaneously helping you raise even more money!).   And don’t stop with auction item requests - my Two-Option Technique is a perfect strategy for fund-a-needs, yearly (monetary) donation campaigns, or any “ask” you have planned.  It works just as well in the "for profit" world, too.   Like this post?  Share it with your team - and share it with others in the nonprofit industry.  I can only help those I can reach - you can help by sharing.  Don’t forget, Sharing is Caring!   If you found this beneficial and helpful, then perhaps you’d be willing to do both me and your industry peers a favor?  If so, all I ask is that you leave a comment below and share a technique you’ve heard about or used to help increase your in-kind auction donations.  Perhaps it’s a technique, perhaps it’s a contact for donations, etc.  I also love hearing success stories - try this technique and let me know how it works for you! Or, just ask a question.  Whatever it is, leave your comment below.  I’ll read them all personally.  Thanks!   P.S.  My apologies, I almost left with you with an oven cliffhanger... I ended up finding a brand-new oven on Craigslist for just $250.  Works like a charm!  I can’t even remember how many home-made pizzas we’ve had since (I even make my own crusts from scratch).  Delicious!!  Most importantly, my wife is happy again, too (probably something to do with filling the big hole in our kitchen with a working oven)!  :)The post The Two-Option Technique appeared first on WinningCause.
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  • Should you take the leap into online auction fundraisers/mobile bidding?
    Posted 25 March 2013 | 6:28 pm
    The writing is on the wall.  Like it or not, technology is here and it's ever-changing; getting better and better at accomplishing everything from simple communications to auction fundraisers with mobile bidding.  You can choose to ride this wave and make an impact for your organization, or you can listen to the naysayers and do nothing.  "But we've always held silent auction fundraisers with pen/paper bidding - and that works just fine". Great, and I suppose you still use a typewriter to pound out letters to friends and colleagues, address an envelope by hand, lick and paste a stamp on it, then send it off in the mail?  I mean, why wouldn't you do all that - it does still work, doesn't it?  (And sometimes it's nice to get a real letter in the mail!) Still not convinced?  What are you using to read this blog post?  A computer?  A smart phone?  Hmmmm...The post Should you take the leap into online auction fundraisers/mobile bidding? appeared first on WinningCause.
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