Silent Auction Pro

4,8 (378)
Simple * Affordable * Powerful

Overall rating

4,8 /5
(378)
Value for Money
4,8/5
Features
4,6/5
Ease of Use
4,5/5
Customer Support
5,0/5

99%
recommended this app

378 Reviews

Erin C.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Fund-Raising
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

A Must for School Fundraising

Reviewed on 2020/03/12

We are going to start using our SAPro software in our other school fundraisers, not just our auction. It is a great way to organize and keep all of our sponsor and donor information organized. I can also not speak highly enough of the customer support! They are quick to answer calls and get you answers to your questions.

Pros

We've used Silent Auction Pro for at least three events in the last several years as a Mobile Pro client. It is pretty intuitive and keeps our donations well organized, as well as allowing us to communicate effectively with bidders and donors. The ability for anyone to bid online opens our fundraising to the community, not just our school families, helping us raise much more money than we could achieve with paper bidding.

Cons

We would love to see an app in the future, rather that just a mobile site for bidding.

Alternatives Considered

Handbid

Reasons for Switching to Silent Auction Pro

Mobile bidding was not available with Handbid at the time we purchased; also, SAPro is a good value for the product and service we receive.
Kaylee F.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 11-50 Employees
  • Used for 1-5 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

Overall Excellent Experience with Software and Support

Reviewed on 2021/03/15

We were overall very pleased. It provided a greater reach than we would have ever been able to achieve with an in-person silent auction. We loved the versatility, the ease of use (after learning), and the support. We'd absolutely recommend this to another organization and will be using it again.

Pros

Easy to use: The software is very easy to use after spending a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with it. They have numerous help pages and even some youtube videos that help you learn the software. Additionally the technical support was out of this world (see Tech Support is Outstanding). We also loved that numerous people can enter donation items so that the cumbersome task of entering items is not tasked to one person.

Reasonably priced: It is reasonably priced, relative to other similar softwares, and the support alone was worth the money. Originally, we thought the fees were slightly high, but after investigating other software pricing, and after our experience with this software and their support, the annual fee (which allows for as many auctions/events as you'd like within a year) and the 2.0% taken from high bids were nothing, and we would absolutely do it again.

Tech Support is Outstanding: The event coaches are very friendly and incredibly helpful. They help you get started, make suggestions along the way, and they are there to wrap up afterwards as well. We had an IT problem at 9:00pm CST. I called in, my event coach answered me, and she had tech support looking into my problem immediately. Every tech call was answered or gotten back to within an hour.

Overall Great Features: The user pages looked stunning, most features you'd want are available. We really enjoyed our use of the software and are looking forward to our next auction.

Cons

Takes Time to Learn: The administrative pages are slightly cumbersome to navigate in the beginning. They take time to learn, although that is probably true of every auction software.

Some Features Not Available: There were a few features that were not available that we would have liked to have seen, such as an option for the public to view all bids placed on an item with bidders names or without, similar to an in-person silent auction. The Donate Button (Fund-a-need) was not intuitive for our users and confused them.

Administrative Pages: Looked a bit dated. For a new software, we would have expected everything to be a bit more up-to-date looking. However, the user pages were very nice looking for the actual auction. Additionally, it would be great if there was a "view as user" option to be able to see what your changes look like once you've made them in the administrative account. It was cumbersome to have a user account and an administrative account and have to switch between the two constantly to be able to view things we were changing in the administrative account. Also the software won't let you have two logins open at the same time.

Alternatives Considered

BiddingOwl.com, GalaBid and 32auctions

Reasons for Switching to Silent Auction Pro

The support, the features, and the integration between it and Blackbaud (eTapestry). Our decision was based off of the reviews we read and the support we received even before we bought the software.
Nancy G.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Civic & Social Organization
  • Company size: 51-200 Employees
  • Used Monthly for 1+ year
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

First experience with Silent Auction Pro

Reviewed on 2022/01/07

Managing a remote, virtual auction isn't easy but Silent Auction Pro made it as easy as I can imagine!

Pros

I had the distinct pleasure of working with Silent Auction Pro’s auction software and “coach” [SENSITIVE CONTENT]. Initially they were to support a live event with both a silent and a live auction, but Covid had other ideas and put us into a virtual Silent Auction. I am not a software wizard by any stretch of the imagination but found I was able to navigate Silent Auction Pro well with some brief instruction from [SENSITIVE CONTENT]. The “help” function was also truly “help”ful. When obvious that it would take longer to explain it me than to just do it, [SENSITIVE CONTENT] often stepped in and just took care of it for me! Suffice it to say I became somewhat proficient in managing our auction through a successful close! I have worked with several SaaS providers for other purposes, and none has been as easy to learn and navigate as Silent Auction Pro. Thank you C[SENSITIVE CONTENT] and Silent Auction Pro!

Cons

It worked for me without a hitch. Occasionally I had to try multiple tabs to find what I was looking for.

Aaron W.
Overall rating
  • Used Monthly for 1-5 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 3.0 /10

Silent Auction Pro - basic auction software

Reviewed on 2018/06/18

Pros

Silent Auction Pro has features like image uploading and item organizing that make it useful for auctions.

Cons

Silent Auction Pro uses an unreliable payment processor, they do not give an opt out for saving credit card info, and there is no bulk upload for items.

Response from Silent Auction Pro

Regarding our credit card processors: Silent Auction Pro uses two of the largest and most reliable payment processors on the planet - PayPal and WorldPay / Vantiv.

Regarding storing credit cards: For mobile bidding, yes customers must put a credit card on file. This is by design as we believe that it is in the best interest of organizations holding fundraisers that they have a credit card on file for each online bidder. People who do not have a credit card or refuse to put one on file may bid on a bidding Kiosk. Note that credit cards are NOT stored on Silent Auction Pro servers but instead with PayPal or WorldPay.

Regarding no bulk upload for items. This is true. It is just as easy if not easier to enter donations into Silent Auction Pro than it is to enter them first in a spreadsheet (where you can't enter a photo anyway). If you purchase a system to help manage your event, you should use that system exclusively and not try to switch back and forth.

Mary W.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Veterinary
  • Company size: 11-50 Employees
  • Used Monthly for 1+ year
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Silent Auction Pro User Review

Reviewed on 2021/10/29

This was our first year using this software at an in person event. The check out process made package pick up much more efficient and attendee friendly.

Pros

Silent Auction Pro is very intuitive software. They have thought through the needs of both the organization putting on the event (silent and/or live auction) plus have made it user friendly for the auction bidder. Reports are comprehensive and easily downloaded to use as event wrap up in usable formats. But where they go above and beyond it their customer service. Clients have access to live support during normal business hours during the ramp up to the event plus live support during the event should the need arise to contact them while the event is in progress. Hats off to Silent Auction Pro for their great event product.

Cons

There are a few features that I believe are being addressed in an update coming at the first of 2022, one of which is the ability to use tablets and the event instead of computers. We look forward to the update.

Alternatives Considered

OneCause

Reasons for Switching to Silent Auction Pro

Silent Auction Pro had all the features we needed while still being reasonably priced.
Robert H.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Daily for 6-12 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Round 2; Regrouping

Reviewed on 2019/10/22

I loved the software. We had used BidPal/OneCause prior but the cost model was unbearable for us this year. With Silent Auction Pro we pay after the first event; nothing upfront. Capped fee% and low fixed cost are benefits. Credit card processing (we used WorldPay) fees are lower (and no monthly fee), making the total cost lower.

Software is feature-rich. This can be a double-edged sword as features can add complexity. Help is always available and phone support was awesome. Overall, the features are worth it.

Ability to 'stage' or start a new event while keeping a recently finished event active for a bit would be a welcomed improvement.

Pros

Features, Performance and Support were all Excellent.

Cons

Registration and PW requirements for bidding .

No import (from spreadsheet) capability. Understandable, but would have been nice. They do offer to import for you at extra cost. They must have had bad experiences... It turned out to be less an issue than I thought. They were very upfront about it and it was not a surprise.

Alternatives Considered

OneCause

Reasons for Choosing Silent Auction Pro

Cost and payment model.

Switched From

OneCause

Reasons for Switching to Silent Auction Pro

Cost/payment model. There were some interpersonal issues as well but did not drive the ultimate decision.
Jo anne H.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 51-200 Employees
  • Used for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

WDCC Fashion & Frolic Fundraiser

Reviewed on 2021/01/12

Excellent - A++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mobile Online Bidding and Custom Email / Text Distribution for marketing SAVED our annual fundraiser which was 100% virtual in 2020.

Pros

Software is user friendly and website easy to navigate. Continue to annually learn and become more familiar with functionality of features since 2013.
The websites offers variety of features: previous donation report, contact history, donation inventory and tracking, auction item bundle function, mobile online bidding, email merge, and custom email / texts distribution.
Support (Help) staff is very knowledgeable and accommodates at anytime.

Cons

Would like to see individual email / text contacts available for email distribution, besides category labels.
Would like to be able to obtain only 2-3 years previous donation history. History older than 3 years not necessary, report too long and cumbersome.

Alternatives Considered

ClickBid

Reasons for Switching to Silent Auction Pro

Variety of features: previous donation report, contact history, donation inventory and tracking, auction item bundle function, mobile online bidding, email merge, and custom email / texts distribution.
Jessica S.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Fine Art
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Weekly for 1-5 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

The Support is Unparalleled

Reviewed on 2020/06/30

Pros

The price point for us was manageable - about half of what the other guys are charging.
So many features we will take years to master them all.
Don't worry - the support people have you back all the way through the process. They are truly on your team and will step you through click by click. SO many ways to get help. video. tutorial. PEOPLE!

Stable - this is not a website that cranks out a storefront... it's a robust database. And it is stable and functional. Not a sexy GIU, but it works when you need it and that is valuable!

It was a really good choice in the time of quarantine to choose SAP.

Cons

I wish I could have customized the site just a bit - and maybe I could, but we were under time crunch and it was not a priority.

There are SO many features. it is important to follow the Best Practices so you don't get overwhelmed.

Alternatives Considered

GiveSmart and Auctria

Reasons for Choosing Silent Auction Pro

The Bidding Owl software was much more inexpensive. But - the night of the event... it went down for 45 minutes in my 4 hour event. I was scarred

Switched From

BiddingOwl.com

Reasons for Switching to Silent Auction Pro

They checked more of my must have features and fell in the right price category for what we expected to earn.
Shelby G.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 51-200 Employees
  • Used Monthly for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

I couldn't have done it without Silent Auction Pro!!!

Reviewed on 2021/11/17

Pros

Silent Auction Pro helped manage all aspects of our fundraising event -such aspects include; ticketing, silent auction, live auction, raffle sales, Paddle-Raise etc.
The ability to have guests save their credit card information made the "check-out" process a breeze.
Silent Auction Pro gives detailed reporting for all areas of the event.
Silent Auction Pro's entire customer service team is friendly, knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

Cons

We had some troubles with getting our guests to log-in to the software ahead of time to add in guests' information or add their credit card information to their account. This is not any fault of the software though.

Pam B.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Arts & Crafts
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Monthly for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Our Best Fundraisers are with Silent Auction Pro

Reviewed on 2021/11/23

SAP helped us increase our revenue streams and enabled our arts organization to better project our income for our annual budget.

Pros

SAP - offers a beautiful platform that is easy and intuitive to manage. The Gallery Catalog highlights the art that is available with plenty of space to add details.
In addition, the support from our auction coach was incredible and many suggestions were offered that made a big difference

Cons

We did not experience any issues with Silent Auction Pro

Gail T.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Daily for 6-12 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

I like Silent Auction Pro and would recommend it to any NPO or organization for their event.

Reviewed on 2021/01/19

Fundraising for the Children's Coalition of Aransas County

Pros

That first phone call to Silent Auction Pro led to a Zoom demo with [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN]. The demo with [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] led to our Board giving approval for the contract. Since that first conversation to the post-event conversations, every step, every need, every question, every "OH NO" moment on my side was quickly answered and solved. There is no customer service team like theirs. Their team is the BEST. Phone calls were answered either immediately or with a very quick return call in minutes. And I must add that phones were answered during Holiday hours. Besides their immediate and expert support, the package features and pricing were more compatible with our NPO's size.

The announcement feature and the communication functions were tremendously helpful. We scheduled videos and sent texts and emails for our event. Afterwards, I sent every donor, sponsor, group member, volunteer, and every registered bidder either an email or software generated letter with the information that pertained to each one specifically. This function alone saved me hours of work. Thank you, Silent Auction Pro!

Cons

The initial use of the software required diligent data entry. It was a lot of work. We now have a database containing donors, sponsors, bidders, volunteers, and workers. Next year's data entry will not start at zero.

For some data entry and reports, (without checking which aggravated me the most I must be vague) having a "scroll to the top button" would be nice. Also, when working in one function, I would like to always be sent back to that one function when I hit submit rather than have to find that spot again.
And there must be a better way to edit items after they have been merged into an auction item. I never asked, so there might be. I would find a spelling error or decide to add a better description for an Auction item. The edited text would not appear unless I deleted it as an auction item, edited the donated item text, then reassigned as an auction item. Also, I believe a sponsor function that could be separate from the donor and bid reporting function would be beneficial.

These are my only criticisms. They are small and might have had an answer if I had asked. They were not even important enough for me to put on a list when I talked with the Support Team.

John f K.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Civic & Social Organization
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used for 6-12 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Excellent Event Planning Software!

Reviewed on 2020/03/23

We are a hypothermia shelter that houses 12 guests during the coldest months of the year, and have a fundraising gala every 2-3 years. At the beginning of our planning process for our February 2020 gala, we wrestled with the question “Do we really need an auction and event planning package for our little event?” At the end, there was no question that Silent Auction Pro was a HUGE reason why our event went so smoothly and exceeded our fundraising goals!

Pros

I cannot say enough good things about our experience using Silent Auction Pro. Some of the key things that we liked:

Event Coach. From the beginning, we were assigned an event coach ([SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN]), and she proved incredibly helpful in both understanding Silent Auction Pro as well as anticipating what other issues might come up before, during, and after our event. She checked in regularly, and was available even on weekends.

Training Videos. Silent Auction Pro has a large number of training videos on YouTube that were very helpful. Admittedly, they seemed difficult to understand when I viewed them before we actually signed up, but once I was on Silent Auction Pro and able to play around, they made much more sense, and proved very helpful.

Pricing Structure. At first, it seemed expensive to pay $800 and still give up 2% of our proceeds to Silent Auction Pro. However, the 2% is only out of auction proceeds, and not things like tickets or sponsorships. That kept the 2% cost down to under $300, for a total cost of $1,100. Comparing that to the many, many hours of time saved, the ability to start the auction before the event, ability to easily sell tickets, and all the communications tools made it worth the money many times over!

Usability. While I would not call Silent Auction Pro the most user-friendly website in existence, it is user-friendly, and with a minimal amount of practice it becomes very easy to get around. The reports are also very useful and easy to generate.

Cons

There were a few very minor bugs, but that was it.

I didn't care at all for WorldPay, which is one of the two credit card processors that Silent Auction Pro works with. They had horrible customer service and wanted to know WAY to much personal information about me in order to open an account. But that isn't Silent Auction Pro's fault ...

Lara K.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Hospital & Health Care
  • Used Daily for 1-5 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Excellent Choice

Reviewed on 2017/10/07

Helped us run our best auction to date, with virtually no line at checkout, even though we had almost doubled our attendees from the prior year.

Pros

This is terrific software, especially for a smaller nonprofit. What sold the software to us is that when I inquired about it online on a Saturday, I got an immediate phone call from the owner of the company and software developer. This was very typical of all interaction with this company throughout our use of the software - we got immediate responses from support when we had questions, they understand that auctions happen on weekends and support needs to be available then, and when we found a few quirks in the software they were repaired immediately, often by the developer personally. We previously used Greater Giving and BidPal; all three have features that I like and don't like, but overall SilentAuctionPro is by far the best value for the price. The a la carte pricing is a huge benefit for nonprofits like ours that cannot use all features (i.e. online bidding). Overall, from last year to this year (BidPal to SilentAuctionPro), we went from about 100 to 195 attendees, and from our worst checkout ever to our best. The instruction files, help menus, videos, etc were by the far the best of any nonprofit software we have used. We were invoiced after the auction for the software, which could be of great benefit for a nonprofit just starting out with their first auction.

Cons

I would love to be able to have a website where people can enter their own donations and have them populate as donation items in the system. There were a few quirks like the system not liking quote marks and ampersands. I would like for there to be a bit more explanation on the page about the security of registering your card as many of my guests weren't comfortable doing so at the time of ticket purchase. It would also be great to have more customization options for the ticket sales page. Because of the way we run our auction, I would very much prefer to be able to assign bidder #s to a household rather than to an individual, but this would have been fine if we had noticed it earlier and planned accordingly. I would also like to be able to customize a bit more on the receipts, include ticket descriptions, etc. I would have set up our fixed price items differently than we were advised to as I don't think it was the best option for our auction and was a bit of a hiccup, but in fairness it was something we didn't get to in advance and did on the fly, so it would have been avoidable with a little planning. Although the reports are generally pretty great, I did have to piece together a few to get to what I needed which could be a pain for someone with less Excel experience. Really minor, but because we can't use online bidding, I print our bidsheets on carbonless paper. Would very much prefer that the half sheet option printed as a 2up because I ended up reformatting them in Adob

Amy A.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 11-50 Employees
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

Silent Auction Pro helped us manage over 400 auction items at our event.

Reviewed on 2017/04/15

Silent Auction Pro allows us to manage a high volume of donators, donations, auction items, bidders, etc. Customer support is great, they are always available to answer my questions timely. Loved the phone call the day before the event to share the 800 number. Love that we can email receipts to winners. Love that we can notify winners via email or text once a table is processed. Like that you can have multiple users at same time, especially at event day, doing data input, checking in bidders, checking out winners.

Pros

Silent Auction Pro allows us to manage a high volume of donators, donations, auction items, bidders, etc. Customer support is great, they are always available to answer my questions timely. Loved the phone call the day before the event to share the 800 number. Love that we can email receipts to winners. Love that we can notify winners via email or text once a table is processed. Like that you can have multiple users at same time, especially at event day, doing data input, checking in bidders, checking out winners.

Cons

1) Certain characters are not liked by the program (inch symbol, & symbol), especially when exporting to excel. 2) Bid sheet area to write in bids is too crowded, would like options to modify bid sheet layout, not sure if we can or not but would like opportunity to export bid sheets to a file and add "NO BIDS" on back side of page 3) Price went up from last year, both module cost and %. 4) Would like more options to print vs export and when exporting to design what fields and sort order, especially on sold items 5) Dont like that when you create duplicate items that they are linked and then if one is not sold it cannot be deleted without deleting them both 6) When you update an auction item, you go back to the donation, update, then update auction item. It does not always take the updated title from the donation as the new title of the auction item. Cannot figure out why. 7) would like the name on the bid sheets to be larger font, as we had two bidders get the wrong cards and not know that it was not their name at the top 8) Would like bidders to write more clearly :) (I know, out our your control) 9) Would like a quicker way to see what auction items have no bids at the end of the event instead of scrolling through the page

Response from Silent Auction Pro

#1 Ampersands have special meaning in HTML and are therefore prohibited in some fields. Using in. instead of double quotes would be guaranteed to work.
#4 The Write Letters feature of the AuctionPromoter provides a lot of flexibility w.r.t. creating custom reports.
#5 Delete duplicated items using the bulk delete option at the bottom of the Edit Auction Items page.
#6 Auction item titles are DIFFERNT than the donation titles. Auction item titles are seeded with the donation title(s) when you first create auction items. From there on if you want to change the auction item title you have to do it on the auction item, not on the donation.
#8 Me too! Go to mobile bidding and you won't have that problem!
#9 With the AuctionPromoter you can project a leader board that shows all items with no bids. With mobile bidding there is also a special category that shows all items with no bids.

Charisse B.
Overall rating
  • Used Daily for 1+ year
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Tremendous system for making charity auction easier to set up

Reviewed on 2017/05/06

Set up and run the event solely from volunteer committee without having to contract with other services for ticketing or check in/out. Handle high volume auction and attendee counts with smaller committee.

Pros

Donation entry was intuitive and loved that we could pull up items donated before so that we didn't have to retype everything. Demo environment allowed us to get committee members up to speed quickly and also allowed us to practice on some creative set up to meet our auction needs. Ticketing feature offered a variety of ticket options, some only displaying with a promo code, and love the addition of the asking for the email address for a ticket purchasers' guests - made it simple to reach all attendees with the marketing tools. Allowing the ticket purchasers to select the meal, or any other item we programmed made the table/catering coordination easy. Marketing features to promote the event to our attendees as well as help them feel connected to the event that was a couple months away. We set up an online auction the week before our event and people loved it! The online auction was open to the public so it allowed parents to share with friends and family that weren't planning on attending. We posted the event auction items on the online auction as previews to entice bidders to attend to get a chance at the rest of the silent and live items. Reporting is good, check in/out is all on one page, the system performance is great. Loved working in system even from our smart phone browser to check on things, make changes etc. any time, any where. Customer support was outstanding!

Cons

Special characters aren't allowed in donation title so we had to change once they got loaded as an auction item. Special characters in the description like " for inch threw off the formatting of the data export to excel. Reporting is good, but would have liked a few more reports or the ability to create ad hoc reports. We found one report provided this item, but another report provided this item so we had to export to excel and do look up functions which is tedious to do each time. Would like more options for formatting of bid sheets, and also would like to see some additional options with displaying, leveraging the "Donation Tag" feature which is critical for us as our teams need to be identified. Would like filters on lists as well.

Alan H.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Entertainment
  • Company size: 51-200 Employees
  • Used Daily for 6-12 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 7.0 /10

Silent Auction Pro - Good, but with some significant reservations

Reviewed on 2016/11/09

Southern Gateway Chorus used Silent Auction Pro (SAP) to manage our Gateway Gala for 2016, our major fund-raiser of the year. We found much to like about it, but also a few things that could stand improvement.

The best thing about SAP is its people and the support they provide. They were right on top of everything. I never waited more than an hour for an answer to a support question. SAP also provides a very nice flow for managing donors and donations, and turning them into auction items.

We were also impressed with the ease of checking guests in and out and providing them with paddles and invoices. Data entry for auction results is also well-thought-out, and quick and easy (with the exception of the Fund-a-need auction type - more below).

Less useful is SAP's process for managing prospective guests. SAP conflates donors and guests as "Contacts". This means that if a person is both a guest and a donor, there is potential for duplication. SAP has a process for managing duplicates, but the outcome of the choices that you make in that process are not always very clear.

Southern Gateway sells many of the tickets to our event through person-to-person contact. We did not find a good way to handle these sales in SAP. We wound up having our list of guests imported, and then using SAP to assign bidder numbers to them.

SAP also does not deal well with groups of people (such as couples) who want to register using one credit card and bidder number. Its documentation, and its support personnel, stress the need to have each person have his or own contact record, phone number, email address etc. This is unnecessarily cumbersome.

One kind of auction, which SAP calls "Fund-a-need", is not very well handled. It requires that you create multiple phony "donations", and then turn them into phony "auction items". Data entry for these auctions is cumbersome and error-prone. We wound up with a number of duplicate entries, which had to be manually resolved. This should be an easy software fix.

Finally, SAP requires that you create a merchant account with Vantiv if you want to accept credit cards, and another account with American Express if you want to accept their cards. This process is not simple. You are also required to use card readers that you rent from SAP. Southern Gateway has a preexisting merchant account, and card readers, from Square. It would have been much easier if we could simply have used that account.

Pros

Capturing information about donors and donations
Creating auction items from donations
Checking guests in and out, and providing them with invoices
Bid entry (except for Fund-a-need)

Cons

Handling reservations and guests, especially couples and other groups
Formatting bid sheets - very little control over this format
Handling creation and bid entry for fund-a-need
Requirement to create a merchant account with Vantiv

Stephanie D.
Overall rating
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support

Silent Auction Pro Thought of Everything!

Reviewed on 2016/05/10

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this software. I was totally immersed in it, learning every possible feature and application, to ensure that we got the maximum use.
Pro's:
1. The Help section is extremely well documented, and the customer support is amazing. The You Tube videos were very helpful for training both me and my volunteers. Any time of the day or night when I sent an email, I had an immediate response.
2. The options available were extremely comprehensive and knowledgeable about the mechanics of a benefit fundraiser. I cannot think of anything that I wanted to do that I couldn't do. From donor setup, to bidding styles (purchase of ticket parties for Teacher Experiences, to Silent Auction bidding, setting different minimum bids etc) to performance tracking, exporting info, everything was there.
3. The buzz that we created with the auction was definitely a boost to our event. We doubled our attendance vs. last year, just by starting the auction 4 weeks before the event, and creating excitement about the items that we offered early.
4. I am now set up for next year, with over 50% of the input work established already (donors, pictures and logos, bidders, etc). Next year should be a lot easier!
5. Auction Day section is powerful and easy to use - The check in was easy, online bidding was easy, and checkout was VERY easy, especially for those who had already registered their credit cards online. I could just click "auto process" for a batch of auction items, and with a click of the button, 20 people were checked out at once. Then I just looked up the auction number, passed out the gift envelopes or baskets, and done!

"Be Awares" - I won't say Con's!
1. The upfront setup in the first year takes some time. Start early, and I strongly encourage you to read all of the "Help" sections before you start. Even then, tread carefully as you craft your setup, and re-read some of the Help sections. I ended up re-doing a few of my entries as I thought about the structure, and crafted it for maximum efficiency and reporting.
2. Engage team members to do their own data entry as they gather donations. This will save you a lot in data entry time, especially if you have a lot of auction items, and especially in the first year.
3. Train your "auction assistants" well, before event day. This includes check in, auction bidding assistance, and check out, but is especially true for Check in.
Overall, very pleased!

Response from Silent Auction Pro

Thank you Stephanie for your detailed review. I'm sure potential customers will find this very helpful! On the "be awares". As you point out, our system is very comprehensive. We encourage people to play around in the demo group sandbox to help learn the system while not affecting the data in your own group. We're also happy to coach users on the best practices via email or a phone call. As you pointed out there are a bunch of great tutorial videos too!

Thanks again for the great review!

Jim

Kristine M.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 11-50 Employees
  • Used for 6-12 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Awesome fundraising tool for our organization!

Reviewed on 2020/01/06

Our non-profit arts education organization has had a very positive experience with Silent Auction Pro. We look forward to using this great software and all of its features/capabilities even more as we move forward in 2020!

Pros

1. Excellent training and support by [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] and his Silent Auction Pro team!
2. This quality software system really did its job from initial communications, to auction set-up, right through event night and beyond with solid reporting!
3. Its affordable price, combined with superior customer service and tech support, made the decision to purchase a no-brainer-- especially for a committee of nervous new users!

Cons

There *is* a learning curve for newbies, as with any other software package. However, the online tutorials as well as ample documentation with clear procedures made it as painless as humanly possible to get up to speed and functional with it.

Lea D.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Education Management
  • Company size: 51-200 Employees
  • Used for 1+ year
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 8.0 /10

Thumbs Up

Reviewed on 2021/05/25

We've really enjoyed working with them. Last year, we had to completely switch to an "all on-line auction" last minute. The support we received was excellent. It was our first time to use them and they truly helped us with the process. If you don't use the software year round, it can be challenging when you pick it up again however, they took us through it again this year. [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] has been the best customer rep and event coach we've had and hope to continue to have. Her knowledge and mot of all her attitude truly makes a difference. You feel you have a partner and not just a provider. It was like have a "concierge service" which made it easier to use for us. Events are very challenging to execute specially when we do them tight budgets and limited staff. They made the process pleasant and easy for us and our customers/donors. They listened to our suggestions and have adapted some of these in the system. Overall, the features, service and support we receive from SAP are definitely worth the switch and the cost.

Pros

Customer Support/having an event coach and cost.

Cons

Some reports are not exportable. Some features can be enhanced to make it more user friendly but the staff are very helpful. They are very open to taking suggestions and continue to enhance their system. I have found that continued use and their enhancements have made the program more user-friendly.

Response from Silent Auction Pro

Hi Lea - Thank you for posting your review! As you know we always welcome customer feedback and are always working to improve Silent Auction Pro.

Cindy J.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Daily for 1-5 months
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

A Software that DEFINITELY Helps you Raise More Money

Reviewed on 2017/03/24

This was our first use of this software and we were very satisfied with the results we achieved the night of our event. The software is relatively easy to use - the modules are marked but you do need to take you time to make sure you are on the right page. The customer support was fantastic. Every time I had a problem or a question they were there to answer it. They were able to go into my site, analyze my problem and help me solve it.

I did not use the registration part of the software since I purchased it too late to really get the benefit of that part of the program. However, I was able to push my guests to the site to register their credit card prior to our event. On the day of our event as our guests checked in we had a few banks of computers with people manning so that if our guests had difficulties they were there to assist. (I would recommend that for anyone using the program.)

During the event, we were able to showcase our fundraising live as it happened. This aspect definitely helped generate more bidding and involvement of our guests.

Pros

This was our first use of this software and we were very satisfied with the results we achieved the night of our event. The software is relatively easy to use - the modules are marked but you do need to take you time to make sure you are on the right page. The customer support was fantastic. Every time I had a problem or a question they were there to answer it. They were able to go into my site, analyze my problem and help me solve it.

I did not use the registration part of the software since I purchased it too late to really get the benefit of that part of the program. However, I was able to push my guests to the site to register their credit card prior to our event. On the day of our event as our guests checked in we had a few banks of computers with people manning so that if our guests had difficulties they were there to assist. (I would recommend that for anyone using the program.)

During the event, we were able to showcase our fundraising live as it happened. This aspect definitely helped generate more bidding and involvement of our guests.

Cons

The modules could be designed to be easier to differentiate.

Laura G.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Arts & Crafts
  • Company size: 11-50 Employees
  • Used for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 6.0 /10

Awesome Customer Service

Reviewed on 2021/02/01

Pros

This was our fourth year using Silent Auction Pro. Like so many nonprofits in 2020, we were faced with really two questions: how can we successfully fundraise using mostly social media and how can we put together an event that seemed so foreign at the time, so quickly. While the changes made to the software were helpful and kept us competitive with other organizations, it was Silent Auction's customer service that was the secret sauce. From explaining all the new features to problem-solving, to follow-up reminders, we were able to host a successful fundraising event this year.

Cons

Some things are a little bit clumsy and not as user-friendly as I would like them to be. It would be helpful to be able to change the program colors to be a bit more like our brand. Reports could be more specific or to be able to customize them more.

Alternatives Considered

OneCause

Reasons for Switching to Silent Auction Pro

We choose Silent auction Pro because we as administrators and most of the constituent base was already familiar with the product. And we could be a quick snapshot of how we were doing based on last year's data.

Response from Silent Auction Pro

Hi Laura - thank you for posting your review! As you know we are always working to improve Silent Auction Pro.

Jennifer H.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Reached our goal - even during COVID-19 - with help of Silent Auction Pro

Reviewed on 2020/04/08

Our small non-profit has had a very positive experience with Silent Auction Pro. We have used Silent Auction Pro for 3 years, 2 years with paper bidding and this year with mobile bidding. This year we were so lucky to have transitioned to mobile bidding. Our auction went on without a hitch, in a virtual environment, during the COVID-19 shut downs. We were able to switch everything to a virtual offering easily and we were still able to exceed our goal of $75,000. We look forward to using this great software in the future.

Pros

Once you use the software for multiple years it makes it so easy to put in repeat auction items. The software offers so many options and ways to set up communication with bidders, attendees, donors, etc. I love that you can schedule items to go out ahead of time so you don’t need to think about doing them later. Every year new updates make the software better than the year before. The pricing is affordable for non-profits and they offer superior customer service, tech support and a fantastic help section.

Cons

There is a learning curve, as with any other software package – the more you use it the easier it is. We tended we only have 2 people inputting auction information so that it was consistent. We would love to see a more comprehensive package that allows you to input expenses and see the full picture of the event. I know this is something they are trying to incorporate for the future and once it is available it will be even more fantastic!

Response from Silent Auction Pro

Thank you very much for the review Jennifer! We're hearing quite a few stories about groups switching to virtual events because of COVID-19 and still meeting or exceeding their goals - especially when you consider not having to pay for the venue and all the other expenses that come with it. I'm glad you had a great event! - Jim

Celia A.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Education Management
  • Company size: 11-50 Employees
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Saved Us Time, Trouble And Confusion!

Reviewed on 2016/06/18

Before finding Silent Auction Pro, we were doing everything by hand. It took up a lot of everyone's time and led to a lot of frustration. After a very stressful night of having people waiting for us to hand calculate their winning bids and asking us every five minutes if we were ready, we decided there must be a better way to do this. A fundraiser should be fun! It has fun in the name! So I found Silent Auction Pro. It made such a difference to not have all of those people waiting for us to give them their winning items and invoices. And, checking out was quick. I highly recommend for events like silent auctions.

Pros

You can enter your donations one time and duplicate them if you have more than one or if you are repeating the same items the next year, you can see where your volunteers are in the process of getting their donations and they can mark their status, you can bundle lower value items together to make a larger basket and it is easy to do, the check in and check out at our event was fast! And, I was able to enjoy the actual event for the first time.

Cons

Not really a con, but a suggestion if you use this software: have a designated person in charge of using the software and train everyone to enter the information consistently. I think their best practices was helpful'it saves time to make sure you take that step so you don't have to edit a bunch of things later.

Emily D.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Financial Services
  • Company size: 5 001-10 000 Employees
  • Used Daily for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Auction software - JUST PERFECT FOR US!

Reviewed on 2016/12/21

Three years ago was the first time we used SilentAuctionPro. And we used it again for this year's event. SAP handled our 450+ donations with five users, 200 auction items, online bidding by 225+ guests and the raffle ticket feature.

We were able to train our volunteers on the AuctionDay features, and questions were quickly answered by the support staff via phone or email!

The extensive help section allowed users to familiarize themselves with the various features, too.

Tips for future users: start on soliciting donation early & use SAP to keep track of it all!

We plan to use it again for our next silent auction event in two years.

Great program, Silent Auction Pro. Leaps & bounds better than the days of paper bidding!

Pros

Add donor, add donation item, save! The extras are great:logos & pictures for displays, the communication tool saved us & we were able to message our bidders with auction highlights.

Cons

After our 2nd event, the system usage seemed more intuitive. We didn't realize how many features we could have used that first time! Would love the system to accept AmEx, not just Visa/MasterCard.

Response from Silent Auction Pro

Hi Emily - thank you for the review! FYI - You can accept AmEx, you just need to set up an AmEx account and give that number to Vantiv. Once it is set up just check the "Merchant Accepts AmEx" checkbox on the "Configure Merchant Account" page and AmEx will show up in the credit card select lists.

Evelyn S.
Overall rating
  • Industry: Primary/Secondary Education
  • Company size: 51-200 Employees
  • Used for 2+ years
  • Review Source

Overall rating

  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

Great tool to have. Change is it's Middle Name!!!!!

Reviewed on 2021/01/11

As a former systems engineer (in my previous career), I found the system to be easy to work with. There are a few things I think should be in different places, but it is just my preference.

Support is everything!!! If you are lucky enough to get [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] as your support person, you will be just fine!!! She talked me "off a few ledges" the days leading up to the event. Things we usually do in person (and for cash) had to now be done through the system. Rethinking is the name of the game right now and [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] helped me iron out all the issues we had to rethink!!!

Pros

The ability to change! In this year of constant change, we were stopped 48 hours before our Auction was to take place in March of 2020. We were never able to hold an in-person option but we were able to switch all the data we had already entered to go from live to on line with just a few quick and easy steps! we finally held the Virtual auction in November 2020.

Cons

We did not take a picture of every item in a basket, just the combined basket itself. That was fine for the main page. the drill down page listed every item in the basket but the individual pictures did not exist so the item said No phot to Display. We ran out of time to take all the pictures so we dealt with it. I would've preferred it to at least show the basket from the main page. Zoom capabilities only existed when a user drilled down. This is usually not an issue since our silent auction is in person...… just not this year! [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] gave me great ideas to deal with the virtual aspect of our auction to try to make it as personal as possible!