how does a mobile silent auction work

How Does a Mobile Silent Auction Work?

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By now, many in the fundraising industry have heard about mobile fundraising, and most likely acknowledge the benefits of switching to a mobile fundraising system. Still, not everyone knows exactly how a mobile silent auction actually works or how to run a successful mobile auction!In this post, we will walk you through the details and the process of an Accelevents mobile silent auction.

Silent Auction Setup

The first step of a mobile silent auction is event setup. With the Accelevents platform, silent auction setup takes as little as 20 minutes and mostly consists of adding your silent auction items. When entering your items, we ask that you add the following information for each item:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Three-letter code (this will be used for text-message bidding)
  • Starting bid
  • Bid increment
  • Images

Credit Card Processing

The next step in setup will be deciding if you’d like to use credit card processing. We highly recommend incorporating credit card processing into your event, as it will allow your winning bidders to check out directly from their mobile devices, streamlining checkout significantly.Additional setup may involve adding any custom logos, sponsor logos, and event descriptions. Other than that, you will be ready to go!

Bidding Channels

From a donor standpoint, your mobile silent auctions will start with accessible bidding channels. At Accelevents, our silent auctions have two bidding channels:

  1. Online Bidding
  2. Text Message Bidding

To accommodate both of these bidding channels, every Accelevents mobile silent auction has a custom fundraising webpage and its own unique phone number. Donors can then bid using either or both of these channels throughout the course of your fundraiser.


1. To start, bidders simply navigate to your online silent auction page – this can be accessed via desktop, tablet, cell phone, or any mobile device.

2. Bidder navigates to the item of their choice by clicking either the “Bid” or “More Info” button.

3. For their first bid, users are asked to create a username by entering their name, phone number, and email address.4. After creating their username, users can submit their desired bid amount.5. Users will then receive text message confirmation of their bid.

bid confirmation

6. For the rest of the auction, users will receive instant outbid notifications and will be notified if they have won an item at the end of the auction.

outbid message
winning bid message

Text Message Bidding

1. First, your bidders can text the event phone number with the item’s three-letter code and their desired bid amount. Example: ABC3002. For their first bid, users will receive a text message response asking them to confirm their bid by responding with their first and last name.

bid confirmation text message

3. Users will receive instant outbid notifications and will be notified if they have won an item at the end of the auction.

outbid message
winning bid message

Bidding Tricks & Tips

  • Your guests can also text the word “Auction” to the event phone number, and they will instantly receive a response with the URL for your silent auction webpage.
  • Guests can also find volunteers who will have access to a special volunteer page. This page allows volunteers to submit bids on behalf of your guests.

Silent Auction End and Checkout

At the end of your silent auction, all item winners (the highest bidders at the end of the auction) will be notified via text message or email. If you’ve enabled credit card processing for your mobile silent auction, your guests will receive a custom link that they can use to enter their payment information and to check out directly from their phone. This will significantly speed up your checkout process, as you will only need to confirm the bidders’ payments (in the host console) and deliver their items. Your guests can even make their payments if they have already left your event or if they were bidding from home! Back in your host console, you will be able to see which bidders have paid for their items. If bidders choose to pay manually (with cash or check), you can mark them as paid manually, in order to help you keep track of payments.


When your event has ended, your host console will allow you to see which of your bidders still need to pay. You can also download all bidder history and auction winner history in order to analyze which of your items performed the best!


By now, we hope you realize the benefits of online silent auctions and understand how they can help you crush your fundraising goals. While getting started may initially represent a fundraising challenge, the long-term benefits can't be denied!

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