Online and Silent Auction Apps – what you need to know

Live and silent auctions are a staple of school and club fundraising, cropping up at quiz and bingo nights, fetes and art shows. While traditional, real-time auctions are limited in that they are restricted to the people physically present, there are now a number of websites and apps that allow you to take your auction online, creating a virtual event that transcends both time and space.

Benefits of online auctions

  • Allows people not physically present to bid on your items
    • people unable to make it to your event
    • people stuck running stalls
    • family members who live interstate
    • people who want to remain in their seat all evening
    • people who need to leave an event early
    • people who forget to go back and check the bid sheets
  • Allows you add links to donors and business websites
  • Less obtrusive than a live auction which can take time and attention away from your event
  • Allows you to add multiple pictures of auction items, which is helpful for those you cannot have physically present at your event, such as a holiday or music lessons
  • Bidders are notified when they have been out-bid, so they cannot ‘forget’ to return and make another bid
  • You are able to run the auction over a longer time period
  • You can promote some auctions on social media and increase your pool of bidders even further
  • People are used to shopping on their phones, and there is the potential for larger and more frequent bids
  • Removes auction from public gaze, people may be more willing to bid quietly on their phone rather than stand and raise their hand in a live auction
  • Many businesses also offer auction items on consignment – meaning that you only pay for them if they are ‘won’. These are typically large and expensive items that can vary from an overseas holiday to a wine masterclass, and they usually are experience based and quite elaborate. Each will come with a ‘cost price’ which is the amount that the provider keeps – should the item sell, your fundraiser will keep only the amount above the ‘cost price.’

Mobile technology for silent auctions | School fundraisngThings to be aware of

  • All companies require payment in one form or another. It’s important to know how you’re paying as this affects how much you pay. There may be a flat upfront fee, or you may have to pay a % of each winning bid, or you will be paying indirectly with the inclusion of consignment goods [you will only receive a % of the winning bid after costs and expenses are taken out]
  • Regardless if a platform itself is free, there will inevitably be a fee for credit card, Stripe or Paypal processing. Ask for these fees in writing if you can.
  • Some goods offered on consignment may come with a minimum bid that is far beyond your school/club community affordability. Make sure you are realistic with what you think your audience is willing and able to bid for
  • Please note, some of the companies listed below are more commonly used for large charitable organisations such as hospitals and research institutes, rather than schools and sporting clubs but this may be the type of event you are planning on running
  • For comparison, if you run an auction on eBay, you will be charged 10.9% of the final bid (up to $440)
  • PayPal fees in Australia are 2.6% plus 30c
  • Stripe fees are 2.9% of each credit card payment plus 30c.

Online and mobile auction providers in Australia

There are a number of business who provide either online auction software or apps that can be used to run virtual auctions in Australia. Below are some of the businesses who responded to Fundraising Mums request for information, along with a description of the services they offer, pricing and other relevant information.

Disclaimer: This article is intended as general advice only. Please do your own research to ensure the provider you choose is the best for your requirements.


Based in: Sydney, New South Wales


Services provided: online auction website that you can customise for your own auction.

Costs: $100 flat fee for 12 month access (so you can run multiple auctions)

Electronic platform: MyMiniAuction works on computers and smart phones, does not require bidder registration so quick and easy for people to make a bid. Please note that MyMiniAuction does not help you with collecting payments after the auction. See example here.

Consignment Prizes available: n/a

Can you use your own donated prizes: yes

Camille, who has used MyMiniAuction four times says: ‘MyMiniAuction is great for bidders as no log-in details are required and the back-end is easy to use. It is very reasonably priced and the service provided by the team is second to none. I will continue to use at future events.‘


Based in: Sydney, New South Wales. used globally and supports most currencies


Services available: Airauctioneer is the new site from the MyMiniAuction team. fully featured online auction website, flat fee allows 12 months access, can run multiple auctions simultaneously, gives you the option to collect payment from auction winners via Stripe (online payment system)

Cost: $100US flat fee for 12 month access. For self-managed payments there is no additional cost or there is an optional 1% on card payments PLUS Stripe payment of 1.75% + 30c per credit card transaction for Australian cards (up to 2.9% + 30c for international cards).

Electronic platform: operates online, quick bidder registration process, works well on smartphones and other small screens. Simply share your URL with your community

Consignment Prizes available: n/a

Can you use your own donated prizes: yes


Based in: the US but the services can be used in Australia and supports many currencies


Services provided: free basic online auction platform which can be upgraded in various ways at a cost, also transition to a live auction. You can pick and choose the upgrades you want. Even the free platform comes with lots of features including real-time insights, different bidding options, notifications for participants, live stream options and flexible privacy options (so you can choose who can participate)

Costs: basic online auction is free, upgrades available at a cost (for example, to remove 3rd party ads costs $US40, to add up to 4 images per item costs $US20, to sell up to 100 items costs an extra $US30 etc). Stripe and paypal processing fees are extra.

Electronic platform: free basic online auction platform allows up to 20 items, single image, self-managed payment is mobile friendly, however contains 3rd party ads. Upgrades are available including removing 3rd arty ads, more items, more images, payment collection system, more sophisticated software and management system. Does not require software to be downloaded or installed.

Consignment prizes available: n/a

Can you use your own donated prizes as well: yes


Based in: NSW, Australia but services other countries


Services provided: full service, silent auction software (mobile bidding) suitable for pre-event as well as during the event, options of remote support or on-site support, software also allows for managing donations and raffles. You receive your own account manager who helps you set up the auction and provide assistance throughout the whole process, ensuring you get the most out of your event. Can supply high-end consignment prizes ranging from $300-$6,000 and on-site support also includes access to five ipads and two laptops.

Costs:  prices vary depending on how many consignment items are being used, and whether you want remote or onsite support. To use the platform with no consignment items, with remote support and raising up to $10,000 the fee is $1,250 (not including GST). If you use 15 consignment items, with remote support the fee is $0.

Electronic platform: mobile technology operates on laptops, tablets and mobile phones. You are able to connect to your own payment platform (ie you can make your own Stripe account) and Galabid does not take any fees for processing payments.

Consignment prizes available: yes, including luxury holidays, personal chefs, driving supercars and much more. Fundraisers receive all money raised over and above the reserve price, no charge if the item does not sell.

Can you use your own donated prizes as well: yes

Read more about Galabid here: Galabid: The Team Helping Aussie Fundraisers Think Bigger


Based in: the US but services Australia


Services provided: online auction software suitable for silent, live or online auctions plus free tech support. System allows you to create invoices for winners, can be integrated with Paypal to collect payment. Free paper bidding sheets and other auction tools.

Costs: 5% of winnings bids [this does not include PayPal and credit card fees]

Electronic platform: easy to use software, customisable auction page, participants receive text messages/emails to let them know of their bid status, suitable for mobiles, iPads and computers,

Consignment prizes available: n/a

Can you use your own donated prizes as well: yes


Based in: Willoughby, NSW


Services provided: different levels of services on a variety of platforms (traditional live auction, catalogue auction, electronic silent auction). Can provide consignment items only or provide full service event (provide items on consignment, electronic auction, take payments from winners, run auctions, provision of Event Manager and customer service representatives).

Costs: full service event is free (but this requires a minimum number of consignment items to be auctioned). Electronic service can be used in isolation (ie no staffing or consignment items) but there is a cost which will vary depending on the event.

Electronic platform: operates on a mobile based platform, simple to use – just scroll and click, notifications sent when you are outbid, microsite allows for people not present at the event to participate in the auction

Consignment prizes available: Ezybidz have a range of consignment items including holidays, experiences and signed memorabilia. Prizes include a trek to Everest base camp, Australian wine tasting tours, unique jewellery, driving a Ferrari supercar and more. Items can be tailored to your event and demographic, and there is no cost involved – if the item fails to reach the reserve and does not sell, you do not have to pay anything. Starting price of consignment items is $500.

Can you still use your own donated prizes: yes


Based in: Head Office in Sydney, offices in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane


Services provided: mobile-based auction platform (which operates from your smart phone) and live auction, auction items provided on consignment, staff and assistance if required to run the auction for you, assistance with delivering prizes and chasing up on donation payments.

Costs: Live Auction and electronic auction services are provided free of charge if you use their consignment items in your auction. The electronic platform is charged at a small rate if you do not wish to have a live auction.

Electronic platform: mobile based platform that operates from smartphones

Consignment prizes available: overseas holidays (Phuket, Singapore etc), weekends in Hunter Valley, signed Ed Sheeran guitar, private dining experiences, sporting memorabilia. The business itself owns and operates many of the holiday destinations.

Can you use your own donated prizes as well: yes, and they can be incorporated into the live and electronic platforms as well. No commission is charged on any donated items.

Other sites who offer electronic auction services in Australia:

Bid 4 Good: based in Melbourne – uses eBay to help brands, marketing and PR firms, charities and non-profits sell items for charity. Suitable for high-profile charity auctions.

Givergy: based in UK, US, Canada, HK and Sydney, is an award-winning fundraising technology firms with a number of platforms available, and also supplies items and experiences for auction.

Author: Shannon Meyerkort

See our recent articles: