None that we've bumped into. TheAuctionEvent solution can be used by anyone. Whether you are running a $5,000 event, or one that runs into the millions, the underlying accounting mechanics, forms, reports, and tools don't change. All capabilities are web native, so any devices with a browser can be used.
We have built-in facilities to accept patron pre-registrations and payments using PayPal (also taking all credit cards), so regardless of event size it will be nice to know the registration process can be handled automatically in the weeks leading up to the event itself. You'll also benefit from reports that tell you how many people are coming, how many paddles there will be, how patrons anticipate paying at the event, any food preferences you may want them to specify, and any other notes they want to pass onto you.
If your event has a large number of paddles, but few physical items for purchase, most patron donations will be through purchase of raffle tickets, drawings, the paddle raise etc. In these situations we strongly recommend pre-authorization of credit cards when the patrons arrive. At the end of the evening, patrons who aren't taking home any physical items requiring them to come through checkout and pickup, can go home immediately. The next morning they can print their final (tax ready) receipt from the comfort of their own home office. Organizers will take care of posting their bill to the credit card on file immediately following the close of the auction.
Because patrons have electronic access to their bill/receipt, they can quickly check the accuracy before leaving that evening if they choose. How? At the event, they can use their smartphone, or they can talk with one of your volunteers mingling with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
TheAuctionEvent software uses contemporary browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari) to present the needed web forms for data entry. Any computer, tablet, or smartphone supporting one of these browsers can be used. If you can enter numbers, an occasional name, and click on screen buttons, you will be an expert very quickly. When we are working at events, it takes no more than 3 minutes to train someone for their role.
TheAuctionEvent sends and receives all information using encryption security technology (SSL/HTTPS). While we don't manage credit cards in this system at all, encryption is still used to keep your auction particulars from prying eyes - and the operation of the auction itself from being interrupted.
Valid connections to the system require knowledge of two unique passwords (the event name, and a role specific password). This role based connection then ensures only appropriate forms and capabilities are available for use by that individual.
Admins can specify any aggregate tax percentage you are required to collect on patron purchase amounts. You may not be required to do this depending on your location or tax status, but if you do elect to calculate and collect taxes, you will find our calculations and item treatments to be very intelligent. Your final Excel report will provide the breakdown of how much you collected in taxes, and therefore owe the taxing authority. If you are not dealing with taxes, all of the artifacts in forms and receipts are invisible to viewers.
TheAuctionEvent system is available for five (5) months surrounding your auction date.
Four months ahead - gives you the time to set up your configuration, to explore the workings of the system, to explore the how-to articles and videos, to check your venue to ensure there is robust internet access there, to test laptops, printers, and other devices you intend to use, to load your catalog of items, and to hold training classes for the staff you expect to have helping at the event. This is also ample time for invited patrons to pre-register and pay for event tickets.
One month afterwards - provides the time you need to download your final reports, and gives your patrons time to access and print their final receipts if they did not wait for theirs at the event.
All data is stored and manipulated via the internet. You'll need a reliable and reasonably fast connection for Recorders, Cashiers and Admins. If you offer electronic Silent Auction bidding, you may also want to consider using the wireless capability of the venue you are in so your patrons can connect to it. "Downstairs ballrooms" can be problematic for cellular networks, and may be limiting for the venue's own wireless network as well. We cannot be responsible "for the venue end", so please be certain to check out their networking performance carefully, before committing to use them, or to affect an alternate strategy.
You'll need printers at the event so customers can be receipted at checkout time, or bidsheets can be reprinted etc. While we automatically send final bill receipts to patrons using the email address they provided, some simply like to carry that piece of paper home!
You'll need a payment strategy and equipment. Credit Unions and Banks will often donate their teller time and credit card machines for your use because you are a valued customer. PayPal and Square give you the ability to use your own volunteers and equipment, but will involve some marginal fees. If you intend to pre-authorize credit cards, you'll need an organization capable of doing that for you (we have a relationship with a merchant services company operating in all 50 states if you are interested in these advanced features).
We absolutely want you to be successful using TheAuctionEvent system.
Before your event, we'll be talking personally to ensure you are fully prepared and comfortable.
To ensure everything is working properly at our end during your event, we monitor your auction while in progress. This is true if you are DIY, if you have made arrangements for us to be onsite, of if you are using our software-as-a-service (SAAS) to your auction business.
After your event, we are there by phone again to help you with any discrepancies or reporting needs you may have.
While other auction systems in the market can cost thousands of dollars, and take a considerable portion of your revenues, we don't think this is very cost effective for "benefit auctions" - staffed by "volunteers" - raising money for non-profits. Our software rental is a flat $365 per event. If you would like us onsite, additional costs may be involved. Please indicate your preferences on the Contact Us form.
We do not share specifics of your auction, coordinators, donors, or patrons, with any other parties, period. The information we process for your event is the minimum amount needed to properly account for your patron purchases, and ensure they leave with, or have access to, a receipt they can use directly for any possible tax benefits. We do not collect or process any credit card information. All credit card processing is done through your merchant services vendor of choice. We manage with only paddle numbers (anonymous or named), short descriptions of items up for bid in your auction, their value, and their actual selling price.
After the event, you get an Excel file with the same content for your permanent records. We are not obligated to retain your specific auction information outside of your active rental period and may age it off the system any time outside of this window.