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Bidder Data – To Import or Not to Import?

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We are often asked about the best way to create bidder data in ClickBid for an event. There are numerous ways that bidders can be created, including:

  • Importing bidder data from a spreadsheet (whether developed by hand or exported from another system)
  • “Register Today” – the bidder creates their own bidder record by completing’ a form on the bidding site
  • Converting a ClickBid Ticket Purchase guest to a bidder (Admin before the event, or Butler during the event)
  • Adding a bidder at check-in or during the event using Butler
  • Creating one at a time in the Admin (Add Bidder)
Bidder Checkin
Event Bidder Checkin

Numerous factors go into making the decision about which method(s) to use for an event.

Things to consider include:

  • Do you want/need every person/couple to have a bidder number?
    • If you are also having a Live Auction, asking for Fund-a-need/Direct Appeal/Raise-the-paddle donations, or selling games/raffles/merchandise/etc. through ClickBid, you likely want everyone to have a bidder number.
    • If you are not having a Live Auction but you are asking for donations, you may not need everyone to have a bidder number. It is now possible to use ClickBid without a bidder number to make a donation. You can use’ your bidding site or our Text to Give functionality (USA only). These both require a credit card to be entered at that time to complete the donation because this function does not tie to a bidder number.
  • Do you have information about your attendees prior to the event?
    • Most galas sell tickets to attend and will often obtain info about the attendees during the ticket purchase process.
    • Some galas sell most if not all of their tickets via sponsorships and may not have as much info about the guests.
    • Golf outings are another scenario where it is common to know the purchaser of the foursome but not necessarily the other 3 golfers before the event.
    • If you are able to obtain info on the guests prior to the event, does that include mobile phone and/or email?
  • Are you trying to capture credit card info before or during check-in? What absolutely *must* happen at check-in? Nametags? Bid Paddles? Your goal should be to minimize the time each guest spends in check-in, however possible. ‘ If possible, place bid paddles at the dining table, nametags on their own table, catalogs, drink tickets, etc. Try to spread this out to keep your guests moving through check-in, and try to reduce or eliminate data entry of bidders at check-in.

If you have guest information before the event and you want everyone to have a bidder number, we recommend importing that guest information as bidders.

If you have your bidders imported, including their email or mobile numbers, this allows you to use our Mass Messaging add-on to send links via email or text message to:

  • enable bidders to put a card on file before they arrive at the event
  • send their personal bidding link to preview or begin bidding on silent auction items before the event
  • open the auction before the event – we have seen up to 30% of a silent auction goal achieved with pre-event bidding.

If you don’t have much guest info prior to the event and you need every person/couple to have a bidder number, you need to allow for creating bidder numbers at check-in. This will involve more data entry, so you need to allow for more time per person/couple and potentially more check-in volunteers/staff.

Register Today as a Bidder
Online Registration

You can supplement creating bidders at check-in by advertising that guests can register themselves for a bidder number. This can be done whether the auction is open pre-event or not. The “Register Today” page can be configured to either 1) require a credit card to be entered or 2) not ask for credit card from anyone.

If you can communicate your ClickBid website to your guests before the event, they can use “Register Today” to set up their own bidder number. If you *don’t need* everyone to have a bidder number, this is a great way to have your guests participate in the auction. If you *do need* everyone to have a bidder number, do not count on all guests to register themselves.

Register as a Bidder Form
Bidder Signup

If you import bidders, you can use “Register Today” to enable guests who are not attending the event to register themselves to bid. ‘ The risk with this configuration is that some attendee bidders that you imported may also think that they need to register themselves, and they end up with multiple bidder numbers. Check-in staff should be made aware of this possibility and choose the bidder record that has more info (or whichever bidder has the bids, if they have already been bidding). Also check any pre-printed bid paddle against the number they are using – a new paddle may be needed.


Convert Guest to Bidder
Convert to Bidder

If you are using ClickBid Ticket Sales, you can convert ticket purchasers and their guests into bidders as needed. You can do this through the admin, but we also provide an email to the ticket purchaser that allows them to update their own guest info. They can even forward the message to their guests to allow them to update their own info. This function will update bidder info as well, if the guests have been converted to bidders.

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