Amazing customer support for the most effective bidding site
I have used BiddingOwl.com for 2 separate school fair auctions (2017, 2018) and i'm about to use it again in May 2019 for an other association.
As I use Bidding Owl for fundraising and volunteering activities, I would love to see the 5% decreased for non-for-profit activities, however, BiddingOwl.com has been the most effective, helpful, bidder friendly online auction site I have ever used.
The auction set up is easy enough but it's the bidding side which is the highlight and main benefit as the bidders are the most important part of the auction.
The support is exceptional, diligent and prompt.
I would definitely recommend BiddingOwl.com to any enterprises looking for a auction site.
Ease of sharing website with bidders and user friendly bidding
Great advertising inserts for donors
Extremely helpful customer support
Website creation and pulling out can be labor intense
Bids sheets and certificates templates could be a little fancier
A life saver in the middle of a pandemic!
We will definitely be using Bidding Owl again and recommending it to other non profits in similar situations like us. Now that we know how wonderful online auctions are we’ll never go back to paper!
Our school has had silent auctions in the past,
but never an online one. When the Covid19 pandemic sent everyone into quarantine our school scrambled to find an alternative spring auction we had already started planning. Bidding Owl’s software made it so easy to set up, edit, and promote before the auction started. While our 3 day auction took place we received a lot of feedback from our school’s families on how easy they felt it was use and how professional everything looked. Post auction we have made more money than any of other other auctions in the past and the checkout process has been simple and straightforward. I can’t wait to do another one!
I wish that it would show the opening bid before users had to click on the item to see its details. It would also be nice to have the option of more than 3 photos on some items.
A win-win for auction hosts and bidders!
Very positive! BiddingOwl.com is a solid auction platform with a dedicated support team behind it.
Loved the ability to test it out, then convert it into my live online auction event. Easy setup with knowledgeable, responsive support when questions arose. Bidders can view items larger to see details and receive an email or text message if outbid.
I look forward to the new release coming soon. Hoping for more customization of fonts, colors and backgrounds. Also the ability to change the title of “Fund-a-Need and More” non-biddable items, easily reorder them, and see an improved user-friendly interface for checkout.
Bidding Owl for our Organization
Overall it was a great resource for our stopgap online auction. It was quick and easy to set-up, and you can't beat the fees, especially for a small nonprofit and small auction. We would consider using the software again, however if we were putting on a larger and more complicated online auction, we might consider a more sophisticated and intuitive system.
I like how it is a simple platform that allows you to get an auction up and running very quickly. I found most of the set-up intuitive, although there were a few things that required some trial and error.
A lot of individuals looking to bid on items had trouble figuring out how to do so. We had to create our own instructions and instructional videos to add to our home page to guide users through the process. I wish there were instructional videos front and center on each auction welcome page, so we didn't have to create that and guide people how to use the site. Also, the information on how to bid using increments was difficult for people. I wish the minimum increment information was more easily identifiable with instructions on how to bid on each item listing, or that the system automatically suggested the next applicable bid amount based on the increments in the bid field.
Absolutely fantastic for fundraising and the best customer service!
Their price point for non-profits can not be beat! Personal one-on-one service and a great piece of software.
Bidding Owl has revolutionized the way that our non-profit organization is able to fundraise! Previously we were only able to reach people at in-person events and with the ease of use, registration process, and ease of sharing to the world, we have raised 20 times as much money. It's really astounding. The best part has truly been the customer service! Very helpful to walk through all the set-up steps to ensure we had everything correct before launching. Plus they've also been really quick to help me and my bidders when we needed help. Will absolutely use again and planning on using it for another non-profit that I volunteer with. A+++++
Would be great if the short url code worked on social media, much easier to market and have others share. Not a huge deal, though.
Parity Productions Review of Bidding Owl
Overall, our experience with BiddingOwl.com was positive and met our needs for this particular event.
We were able to customize the schedule & pricing of auction items to meet our specific needs. We had access to live customer service via email, phone and even got on a Zoom call for a walkthrough. We were able to direct people to the site easily via social media and our e-newsletter marketing. Set-up & management was relatively easy and we were able to track progress on items in real time and easily manage items.
That our users had to register separately for the site in order to bid.
So glad we found Bidding Owl!
Although our organization supports work that involves over 250,000 kids in Africa, we have no paid employees (not an option to select at the beginning of this survey). So we wanted something that would be easy for multiple people to use. The reason we went with BO was because they actually had a phone number and somebody to talk to. They have EXCELLENT customer service, always getting back quickly, even providing an emergency after-hours number.
We tried an online auction for the first time, due to COVID closing down the school where we usually had our physical auction. This product was very user-friendly and intuitive. The tutorials were helpful as well. The item presentations looked very professional, with pictures and as much space as you needed for descriptions. I could even cut and paste pictures and descriptions from websites for items that could be found online. People said they found it easy to sign up. We ran the auction for a week and people enjoyed being able to bid from home. There are also options for "text me if I'm outbid" and putting in a maximum bid that you will automatically go up to. People found it fun to get those alerts! We had people participate who normally wouldn't have attended an auction in person.
The biggest issue was the inability to add a donation at checkout. BO says they are planning to add this feature in an upgrade next month. The other issue was multiple "you won an item" notifications at the end, and it wasn't very intuitive to see how to get to the payment page. I believe this is also going to be streamlined in the upcoming BO software update. Almost all of our people paid right away so we didn't have to chase down anybody for payment. We set up two options for pickup at a specified location - a weeknight and a Saturday.
No bells and whistles, but a quality vendor that will get the job done!
We like that our auction homepage is customizable, and that we can add "Fund-a-Need" items for a la carte purchase in addition to bidding on our live and silent auction items. We also appreciate that purchases can be made via PayPal or directly with a credit card. The site is user-friendly provides concise direction for setup. Every time I've called in for support, I've spoken with the same representative (Hi, [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN]), which has given me a nice sense of continuity through this endeavor. The fact that the pricing is the lowest in the industry is such a great bonus!
I experienced an issue with the payment integration with PayPal, that I wish Bidding Owl could have resolved on my behalf. Instead, I spent several hours, over the course of multiple days, working through it. After all was finished, I was pleased with the outcome, but it was definitely a flustering experience.
Great Customer Support
Customer service was THE BEST!!! No matter how many times I called with nit-picky questions, they were friendly and patient. They always had an answer when I screwed something up. I love that they can test the site to make sure everything works properly before going "live."
User friendly, and the fact that you had a live-body to talk to if you had questions. User defaults made the process fast.
Accommodating a Raffle (admission tickets) was a little tricky, but doable. Fund-A-Need was hard to find for bidders. I think we could've raised more money on Fund-A-Need had those items been more prominently displayed or found. I wrote instructions, but I have a new mantra: "Nobody reads, and nobody listens!" I'm going to put it on a T-shirt. Would like a "Bidding Owl" button to put on our website vs. the link. Just a little more fun.
From Zero to Hero
The overall experience has been awesome. BiddingOwl was completely intuitive.
What I like best about BiddingOwl is that our annual Christmas Fair was not going to be a total bust this because of COVID-19 and now, just 2 days after going LIVE with our online auction, we've already raised over $4200, and we have 25 days before the auction closes!
Our Christmas Fair may just end up being the best we've ever had!!
That it's not easy to rearrange Sponsors into a different order after they've been input. I wish there was a 'drag to rearrange' option.
Easy to Use Auction Website
We are very pleased with BiddingOwl.com because it permits us to hold an auction without organizing a live event. We've often debated whether or not our population of parents would be likely to attend a live function and how successful that would be, so the online-only auction is a great solution for us.
I've used BiddingOwl.com for two annual online auctions for my children's school, and am setting up our third auction now. I love how easy it is to use, and that I can also re-use last year's setup by requesting that the old bids be deleted. This saves a ton of time because a lot of our auction items are repeated. I also like the layout and appearance of the webpage for users. It is very simple for bidders to create their account and start bidding. The notifications sent to bidders when they are outbid is also helpful for promoting continued engagement with the online auction.
I do rather wish there was a way to sort my items a little more easily. They display according to item number, and I like to group all of the items from each grade together. I wind up shuffling the item numbers around quite a bit to get everything in the proper order. Also, it would be nice to be able to rename the portion of the URL after the slash...I didn't think about that when I used the whole name of our school, which is quite tedious to type and promote after "www.BiddingOwl.com/".
A Great Auction Management Option
We found that using Bidding Owl helped us to organize our auction items and gave us greater flexibility with making adjustments to pricing and bid increments than we had using manual bidding process. It saved hassle and frustration for both us and our bidders at the end of the night! It was exciting to track the progress of the bidding in real time and obtain data that can be used going forward. Overall, it was a positive experience and we look forward to using it again next year!
For a small organization, it was great to have an online auction management service option that had a simple, relatively low cost pricing structure in order to eliminate the risk associated with subscription fees or high up-front costs.
The customer service was very responsive and quick, whether by email or by phone.
Item entry and management was simple and generally intuitive. It was great to have the ability to enter default choices as a batch and to update them as needed individually or as a group. Also, it was helpful to have the ability to upload 3 pictures per item.
There were some features that are less intuitive, so perhaps a more robust help section to eliminate the need to contact Customer Service. However, as mentioned above, they are very responsive, but it would be nice to find more answers without that step.
Although there is a nice printable instruction sheet for registering and bidding for users, I would find it helpful for future updates if there were more printable step-by-step instructions for volunteers (who may be less familiar with the software) to reference during bidding and check out.
I was disappointed that there is not an automated way within the software to create display bid description sheets automatically. However, customer service recommended that we use the export items feature and perform a mail merge in Word, and that worked beautifully for our purposes.
Bidding Owl is a great, cost effective way to get your fundraising auction online.
I've been really pleased with the overall experience with Bidding Owl. I think its best feature is the customer service. They have helped me repeatedly, even when the problem is on my computer's end and not a site issue. I highly recommend Bidding Owl for a small to medium fundraising effort. Ours is a school parent club raising approximately $35k-$50k per year.
I find it really user friendly for the most part. I like the ability to include items that are in our silent and live auctions without being charged a % fee for them. Bidding Owl has really reasonable rates and amazing customer service. I love that we have our own auction site name that is easy for people to remember and to use in marketing materials. I would love to try mobile bidding, which I think is a great feature, but the location we've used for many years for our auction event has really poor internet.
There are certain features I wish would be implemented, such as the ability to rearrange images and the ability for bidders to right click on items to open them in new tabs. Other auction sites have this feature, and I wish BiddingOwl had it as well. I also really wish we could store people's credit card information to make checkout more streamlined at the end of the live/silent auction event. I wish there was more flexibility in editing our home page design.
Perfect platform for our virtual auction.
Overall, the experience was great. our organization is small and not terribly tech savvy, we were able to build our own site with little difficulty. When we did run into something confusing we were able to call customer service and get help. [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] was amazing customer support and walked us through and helped us clean up our page to look even more amazing.
Ease of building our personal site. Overall look of auction was pleasing to our bidders. Ability to print reports and import bidders from our other software. could custom set bidding times for items. Can do mass email/text to all bidders. Customer service team were very response and super helpful. No upfront cost and reasonable rate of 4.9% for non-profits after auction closes.
Integrate live feed, we had a live event on Facebook in addition to our online auction. Bidders had to go between the site and live online event.
Bidding Owl is great for schools and non-profits
As a school group and non-profit we really needed a low cost auction solution. Not only was this low cost, but we increased our auction revenue so much over the standard paper and pen silent auction. Our parents and bidders loved it and loved being able to bid on their phones during the event. Just remember not to plan anything big at your event during the last 10 minutes of auction bidding, because everyone will be glued to their phones and having fun bidding. Proxy bid functionality is awesome, but lots of bidders still like to be in the moment and do it manually.
We liked that we could use it and test it out before buying. It is user friendly and we are able to quickly add new items to our auction. This is our second year using it and we really liked the option to carry over the listing from last year and edit, delete or add as needed. It saved a lot of time.
We wish the pictures on each listing could be larger or that the bidder could zoom in on them. I feel like all of our bidders can't see the amazing detail in our auction baskets. We also experienced a slight issue with bid increments and proxy bids. We set the bid increment on all of our auctions to $5, but the way proxy bids would outbid regular bids sometimes allowed a bid of $91 for example. It confused some of our bidders.
BiddingOwl has completely restructured our annual fundraising auction
After 10 years of doing the traditional live and silent auction, we decided to give the online auction option a try. After quite a bit of research, we chose BiddingOwl as our online software. We now make more than half of our total profit from the online part of our auction, and I am pushing to completely move to online only. BiddingOwl has made this shift incredibly easy and profitable. We are now able to reach a much wider audience. This is our fourth year using BiddingOwl and we will continue to do so!
Great customer support, especially for a "newbie" like me. The overall look is generally nice and clean. The bidding and check out process is fairly easy from the consumer end.
I like that we can save items from year to year. Once you've set it up once, the work has decreased immensely over the years.
I'd like to have a little more choice in font, colors, etc during the set up.
It would make sense to have the logo (and other info) for a donor come up when they are chosen as a donor for an item.
It would be helpful to keep bidders in the database when the auction is reset.
My overall experience with the BiddingOwl program was fabulous. We have used a personally designed Excel program in the past to manage our silent auction, and it was very vulnerable. This program is pretty much foolproof and efficient. We were able to conduct our auction online in this time of COVID-19 without much work or worry at all.
I would be hard-pressed to say what I like "most" about this software, but I think the fact that I didn't have to enter a data base was huge.
The only thing I can think of that was a teeny bit annoying was that I could not enter "one item with multiple bidders." If I had a single item that was open to 20 bidders, the item is displayed 20 times on the website. So, bidders must scroll past all of these to get to the next item.
Lets you plan online auction with less hassle. Adding items for auctioning is simple and you can add them prior to the day of auctioning. It also reaches a wider audience in the most convenient way. Online auction is way simpler thanks to BidOwl and smart devices.
One of the best thing about online world is being able to reach many people, and working with this software just shows how sometimes you can limit yourself when you stick to traditional systems of handling business.
The software lets you track the entire auction process in real time. You can tell how you're performing and track progress to identify trends. Reports on auction activities can also be saved for future references in case you want to know which direction is best for your next online auction.
No one is good at everything and you have to learn and try new things. Great customer support makes it possible to wrap your head around the tool and be able to take off just in good time.
It's also cost-effective, which lets you focus more on revenue maximization. Since you can reach a wider audience, good planning and execution can get you tremendous results
It's very user-friendly. Adding items for auction on the tool is much simpler with templates. Also, you can add items prior to the big day so your bidders can get to know what's available.
There should be an option that lets you print bidding sheets.
Drag and drop feature isn't available. Would be a good thing to have.
Response from BiddingOwl.com
Thank you so much for your feedback! We wanted to make sure that you knew that there is an option to automatically print your bid sheets in a run through the Print section of your Auction Administrators page. If you ever need any assistance please feel free to give us a call!
An experience like NONE other with www.biddingowl.com
Our agency has experienced no problems with biddingowl.com. Everything about them is top-notch and professional. Each time I use the system for an annual auction fundraiser, I am more and more pleased with this software. There is no way we could spend the time 're-inventing the wheel' to have our on line auction. We are very pleased at Arthritis Patient Services in Charlotte, NC.
We have been long standing customers with bidding owl! The system is user friendly, and it works like a charm! I am so pleased when I email or call in to the bidding owl office that someone is always able to help me get through any issue. This service matters most to our non-profit. In all our years using the system, no one has ever complained about access and usage.
It is difficult to think of cons...but if there was one thing I would change it would be to allow for larger photographs! Sometimes I just want to almost 'shout' about an item and its' value for the bidder!
Great for School Fundraiser!
Overall, our school makes quite a bit of money with our annual online auction. Customer service is prompt and extremely friendly, so for me, that outweighs the negatives. I'm happy to continue using this site!
I really like that we have an easy way for families to bid on items such as lunch with their teacher or front row seats to 6th grade graduation. I'm so thankful to have the option to sell tickets with no fee taken out or to offer items for bidding.
It would be nice if the 5% fee was reduced for non-profits, but I believe that's the lowest available, so we'll take it. I also would like the option to delete items from the bidding list rather than contacting customer support. I felt it was unclear that my payment information wasn't completely set up before my auction went live, but that was an easy fix.
Makes auctions so much easier
We've been able to (more easily) raise a lot more money through out online / fundraising auctions when using this software. We've also had comments from our supporters that it has made things easier on their end.
We don't do many auction based fundraisers throughout the year, but we still always dread them as they approach. That is, we did, before finding biddingowl.com. Gone are the nightmares of using a paper-based auction system that we spent oodles of time organizing, tracking, reconciling, etc. Bidding Owl makes it easier for us to organize, but also for our users to engage in the auction. With tools like the 'auto bid up to a certain amount', people are more willing to spend money, meaning we raise more.
It's not the most visually appealing software on the market. Granted, we haven't used other auction tools specifically, but the ui / visual design of the software just feels a bit dated. Like early 2000s look. Design trends across the industry have moved on, and there's little excuse these days for not having a service that is visually attractive for the users to engage with.
Response from BiddingOwl.com
Thank you so much for your review! We appreciate your great comments and constructive feedback. We agree it is time for a refresh of the site. We are currently working on a refreshed look while keeping our user-friendly platform. We have listened to our auction chairpersons and bidders and will even be adding some additional enhancements! Thank you for letting us be part of your success!
Super easy and fun way to set-up an auction to fundraise for our non-profit
Bidding Owl made our online auction run smoothly. It was easy to set-up and manage plus our bidders had a positive experience as well. Would definitely use Bidding Owl again.
Easy step by step process to set-up an auction. Allowed for multiple pictures of the items. Easy to use and manage the auction. Easy to close out the items and locate shipping information for winning bidders. Connects with PayPal for easy and quick payment.
We had one bidder who backed out of the purchase and I couldn't locate a place on the bidding site to cancel his bid and select the next highest bidder. I had to call customer support and they handled it quickly.
Perfect for first time online auction for school fundraiser
Since i am typing this review before the auction ends, my overall experience is good. This is the first time our school moves from traditional paper silent auction to online bidding. We'll see how much this is better than the traditional way.
With the simple and easy-to-enter templates, i got a bunch of items online in no time. Customer support replied to email within a day. With the software, we can now let parents to see what items are on auction before the day of event.
it would be nice if they support more than 1 count of an item in an auction. i don't want to have 12 identical items on a page because we have received 12 of them.
it would be better if we can limit the site to invitation only.
Every Non-Profit Needs This
This is absolutely wonderful. The layout is so easy on the eyes. Other online auction sites lay out the items in a way that is messy or confusing. This is clean and clear and attractive. Technology is not a strong suit for me, I have had to call the help desk 3 times in the last 18 months. [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] is wonderful. She picks up the phone right away. She is patient and knowledgeable and kind. At first I was hesitant to use a site that charges a fee. But, I soon realized that the nominal fee is worth it.
This is so user friendly. I also love that I can reach wider audiences with an online auction than a regular silent auction as I've used in the past.
I guess I wish that the registration process for bidders was a tiny bit easier. I worry that some people hesitate to register.
Another Successful Auction
It was a great experience and i found the support to be very helpful. I sometimes felt bad having to call them about something I probably should know, but they were patient and helpful.
Bidding Owl is user friendly even for someone who is not techy. As we continue to use it we find even more features that have helped us with our Auction.
At first i was afraid to click on some of the menu buttons for fear of what might happen. I soon learned however that they have safeguards to prevent you from having to proceed in something you are not sure of.