Potential of Online Charity Auctions Highlighted in One State’s Move

It appears that more auctions are being held via the Internet these days, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is one of the organizations that have joined the trend. According to Chris Dettro of the Rockford Register Star, the Department launched its online bidding site in March 2014 to make bidding for surplus equipment faster and easier for both buyers and sellers alike. However, the Internet does more than make auctions more convenient:

Online Auction

“The move to all online sales has saved the state $60,000 annually in banking, security, and other associated expenses typically required for on-site warehouse public sales, according to CMS. It increased revenues from online sales by nearly $1 million in fiscal 2013.”

Other parties that hold their own auctions online may reap the same benefits experienced by the Illinois Department of Transportation. As such, this news story hints at why charities, foundations, and other groups have met success in holding online charity auctions through the eBay Giving Works program. Online auction programs are also more flexible than other auction platforms, since they allow alternative payment options like PayPal, which would be useful for buyers who don’t have cash immediately on hand. Buyers can also maintain their privacy while they make bids, which helps in preserving their reputation.

On the other hand, sellers who opt for online auctions can have greater control over price setting and enjoy the removal of “middlemen.” Moreover, they can benefit from having lower administrative and transaction costs. Of course, the biggest advantage to online auctions is that they are simply the most accessible auction platform there is.

However, there are a few issues that people should be aware of before they host charity online auctions or similar events over the Internet. First, an online auction requires careful supervision to minimize the instances of fraud among buyers and sellers. The eBay Giving Works program addresses this by requiring the participants to create a personal account before they can take part in the bidding process. Second, online auctions usually take a longer period of time, entailing frequent checking on the part of the sellers. This matter is made easier with the help of software that is normally provided by the auctioning website itself.

(Source: State’s online auction going heavy duty, Rockford Register Star, March 12, 2014)

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