Charity auctions allow many prospective donors to compete for an opportunity to obtain an item. In an online auction, buyers can bid for items over an extended period of time.

Eventgroove Fundraising offers two types of auction campaigns to choose from. This article will explain each type so you that can choose the option that best meets your fundraising needs.

An English style auction operates similarly to the bid sheets you may have seen at charity events. A starting price is set before the bidding starts, and each item has a bid increment that dictates the minimum amount that must be bid above the current bid to become the new high bid.  For example, if the bid increment is set at $10 and the current bid is $60, the next bid must be at least $70.

Bidders will continue to place bids on the item until the time expires. The item is sold to the bidder with the highest bid when the auction ends. With English style auctions, the final price of the item is always the highest amount that bidders are willing to pay. English style auctions allow your charity to make the most money.


Item A has a starting price of $100 with a bid increment of $10

Bidder 1 makes the first bid at $100. They are the current high bidder.

Bidder 2 likes the item as well and wants to win it.  They must make a bid of at least $110 on the item. ($100 (current bid) + $10 (bid increment)) They decide to make a bid of $150.  Bidder 2 is now the current high bidder at $150.

Bidder 3 join and makes a bid of $200. If the auction ended right then, Bidder 3 would win the item at a price of $200.

Proxy bidding allows the donor to enter a (secret) maximum bid amount for each item that they are interested in. The auction then operates like an English style auction, except that the system automatically bids for the bidder who entered a maximum bid whenever they are outbid. The system bids the minimum amount necessary to keep the bidder in the top-bidder position, but only until their maximum proxy bid is reached.


Item A– starting bid of $100 and bid increment of $10.

Bidder 1 – places a bid of $100 for the item and enters a maximum bid of $170. The current bid on the auction page will show as $110 ($100 current bid + $10 increment).

Bidder 2 visits the auction and sees the current bid price as $110. If bidder 2 decides to place a bid for $120, he will be outbid immediately by bidder 1. The new current bid that shows on the campaign page changes to $130 (what bidder 2 was willing to pay plus the $10 increment). Bidder 2 would have to place a bid of $180 ($170 (bidder 1’s max bid) + $10 (bid increment)) to be the winning bid on the item.

If the auction ended right then, bidder 1 would win the prize at $130. Bidder 1 was willing to pay $170, but only paid $130 for the item.  This means that your charity would have received $40 more if English bidding was chosen.

Why choose English bidding?

English bidding encourages real-time donor engagement and competition, thus driving up the price of the item.  English bidding allows your charity to receive the maximum that donors are willing to pay.

Why choose proxy bidding? 

Proxy bidding makes the bidding process easier and less time-consuming for donors. Proxy bidding is great when your audience wants to participate but can’t be as engaged to bid often.  Allowing your donors to set a maximum bid permits them to participate at their own pace.  Donors will typically set their maximum bid at the highest amount that they are willing to pay for the item.  If they are outbid at this maximum price, they’ll have to decide whether to place a new maximum bid.