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Nonprofit software

Top 9 Silent Auction Software of 2024

May 17, 2024

Thinking about hosting a silent auction for your nonprofit?

Start by investing in powerful and practical silent auction software to ensure your fundraising event continues smoothly. The right platform will help you with auction day logistics and make the entire planning process, from registration to item tracking, a breeze. 

Whether you're planning an entirely online, hybrid, or in-person silent auction, finding a reliable and robust auction platform is the key to success.

Here's a round-up of the top 9 silent auction software available.

9 Best Silent Auction Software For Nonprofits in 2024 (Free & Paid)

  1. Zeffy: Best Free Silent Auction Software for Nonprofits
  2. Silent Auction Pro: Best Dedicated Software for Silent & Live Auctions
  3. OneCause: Best For Large Nonprofits With a Good Budget 
  4. Givebutter: Best Easy-to-Use Auction Software for Nonprofit Organizations
  5. Clickbid: Best to Organize & Implement Virtual Events
  6. SchoolAuction.Net: Best Auction Software Designed for Schools
  7. BiddingOwl: Best For in-Person Auctions 
  8. Bloomerang: Best for Volunteer and Donor Management 
  9. Classy Live: Best Auction Software for Mobile Bidding 

What is Silent Auction Software? Top Features to Look for!

Silent auction software is a tool designed to manage and organize silent auctions. It helps with item listing, ticketing, bidding, and the whole auction process seamlessly and efficiently. 

When it comes to choosing the right online auction platform, there are some essential features that you should look for.

1. Mobile Bidding 

With the number of nonprofit transactions made through mobile increasing by 50%, your software must be optimized to meet donors where they spend major time - their smartphones. 

Find an online auction platform that either offers a separate mobile bidding app or comes integrated with the ability to bid through mobile. 

Top Features of Mobile Bidding

  • Automatic Bid Updates:
    Your app must automatically list each auction item's current winning bid, the next minimum bid, the fair market value (FMV), and the buy-now price where necessary.
  • Push Notifications:
    Choose a solution informing bidders about being outbid. Most auction software will either provide in-app updates or via text/email.
  • Ability to Pay in-App:
    Simplify the payment process for your donors by ensuring your platform features the ability to save payment information and offer smooth check-out. 

2. Event Ticketing Features 

For any auction, event ticketing is extremely important and challenging. With the right auction platform, nonprofits can automate ticketing, streamline registration, and ultimately attract more attendees.

They come with event ticketing features like:

  • Generate automatic tickets for multiple attendees
  • Ability to customize the ticket
  • Manage RSVP from guests
  • Collect seating requests and guest names
  • Track guest dietary restrictions
  • Send automatic reminders to guests about the events

3. Check-out and Donations 

The check-out process will drive revenue toward your nonprofits and leave a lasting impression on your guests. A user-friendly and seamless process will ensure that you receive your donations and attendees receive their necessary receipts and items.

Here are a few things to note when looking at the check-out features of your auction software:

  • Secure Gateway:
    No matter the software you choose, ensure it uses a secure payment processing tool. Look for the payment card industry (PCI) compliance that ensures your donor's information is safe and your nonprofit reputation is intact.  
  • Multiple Payment Types:
    Give your bidders a choice to pay using various methods, including credit card and Apple Pay, and an option to mark them as “paid” if they want to pay by cash or check.
  • Low Transaction Fees:
    Choose a platform that charges no or little transaction fees so that you receive major proportions of your donations. Zeffy is a 100% free nonprofit tool where you receive the full donation amount your guests submitted.

4. Item Procurement and Planning 

While attractive items entice your audience and raise more funds, collecting and managing the perfect auction items can be daunting. 

The right auction software will make this process organized and intuitive with the given features:

  • Generate donation solicitation letters
  • Suggest items and unique experiences to include
  • Helps to identify recurring sponsors and donors
  • Track procurement status
  • Log item location
  • Bundle several items into packages
  • Generate descriptions for items
  • Group items by theme or category
  • Customize starting bids and raises 

5. Gamification Elements 

If you're planning virtual and hybrid events, consider gamification features that will make your experience more exciting and inclusive for virtual guests. These features help build excitement and encourage participants to up their bidding game. 

Live leaderboards showing auction items with the most bids and fundraising progress thermometers are remarkable ways to build momentum. Scoreboards and countdown clocks are incredible ways to speed up the bidding by sparking a feeling of urgency. 

All these elements build an environment of friendly competition that will drive higher bids and more funds toward your cause.

Quick Comparison of 9 Best Silent Auction Software

Standout Features of Auction Software
Software Standout Features Limitations Pricing
Zeffy Free silent auction software and fundraising platform for all kinds of fundraising efforts Only available to nonprofits in the US and Canada No fee
Silent Auction Pro A dedicated tool for planning silent and live auctions Extra cost to import data and interface may look outdated Mobile Pro: $899 per year
Mobile Plus: $749 per year
Bidsheet Pro: $649 per year
Bidsheet Plus: $499 per year
OneCause Offers end-to-end support in auction planning and management Not much help with in-person or hybrid events Custom pricing plans based on different features
Givebutter Modern, user-friendly and simple to use Listed as completely free but comes with hidden fees For users who choose to disable optional donor tips, a standard platform fee of 5% applies.
For users who don't disable the feature, the processing fee is around 2.9% + 30¢, mostly covered by donors.
ClickBid Personalized and dedicated support Offers little to no customization Essentials: $759 per year
Enhanced: $1295 per year
Full Suite: $2295 per year Ideally suited to organize fundraising events for schools Interface is outdated Acorn: $79 per event
Essentials: $1000 per year
Plus: $1500 per year
Professional: $2000 per year
BiddingOwl Organize in-person auctions free of cost Will have to pay a certain amount to host auctions online Free to use but has a 5% performance fee on winnings plus transaction fees from their integrated PayPal check-out process (which starts at 2.9%).
Bloomerang All-in-one donor and volunteer management Not very helpful in creating auctions Based on number of contacts or records; ranges from $125 to $775+
Classy Live User-friendly and versatile mobile giving solution for auction events Helps to organize and host auctions in the United States only Not disclosed

1. Zeffy: Best Free Silent Auction Software for Nonprofits

  • G2 Rating: 4.9 
  • Capterra Rating: 4.8

Zeffy’s silent auction software is a practical and straightforward tool with varied features to help you plan and manage your auction from beginning to end.

Unlike other platforms, it is completely free and does not charge for features often found in silent auction software including adding multiple auction item images, sending bid notifications, and more.

It optimizes the silent auction experience for attendees and organizers by offering a user-friendly experience, intuitive back-end management, and customizable forms.

Top Features

  • Optimal Bidding Experience:
    Organizers can create a comprehensive auction form that includes key details such as the auction duration, item descriptions, starting prices, minimum bid increments, and instructions for item pickup or shipping.
    Bidders can easily place bids directly through this form without signing up for an account.
  • Automatic Payments:
    When the auction closes, payments are automatically charged to the winning bidder's credit card on file.
  • Customizable Branding:
    For a professional and cohesive look, tailor your silent auction form with your nonprofit's brand elements. 
  • Automated Personalized Outreach:
    Customize the automated email sent to auction winners. Zeffy also allows you to send targeted follow-up emails to non-winning bidders, encouraging them to support your cause through other means, such as donating.

  • Bid Tracking Dashboard:
    Easily monitor incoming bids throughout the auction. Filter by item to identify options with no bids and adjust your strategy to ensure a successful event.

Pros and Cons

Zeffy Payment Gateway for Nonprofits
Pros Cons
  • Generate and share various types of tickets to auction events
  • Offer the option to pay in cash
  • Send customized donation emails to non-winning bidders
  • Automatically deducts the payment from the winning bidder
  • Track bids per items
  • Zeffy supports both online (including mobile bidding) and in-person auctions
  • Allows you to manage the entire event from start to end
  • Zeffy also offers access to a complete all-in-one fundraising software
Only available for registered nonprofits in the US and Canada


100% free with no transaction or platform fee.

What Do the Users Say?

Zeffy surpasses other fee-free fundraising platforms, offering education on fundraising and a comprehensive donation dashboard for events and auctions. After nine years of using a different online payment site for our successful nonprofit, we discovered Zeffy could have saved us five digits annually. Despite initial skepticism about changing donor trust, Zeffy was the best decision. - Kendra C.

2. Silent Auction Pro: Best Dedicated Software For Silent & Live Auctions 

  • G2 Rating: 4.9
  • Capterra Rating: 4.8  

Silent Auction Pro is a powerful auction software for successfully planning and executing live and silent auctions. 

With its help, you can allow supporters to bid via paper bid sheets or offer online bidding options. You can track all your event information, including ticket sales, bidding data, and event attendance, from one place to save time and analyze your auction results.

Top Features

  • Outbid Texts:
    Bidders will receive automatic text outbid notifications throughout the email event, reminding them to bid again. 
  • Self-Check-Out:
    Winning bidders will receive an email receipt listing their winning items, which they can use to make payment and self-check-out at the end of the event. 
  • Display Sheets with QR Code:
    Create display sheets with a scannable QR code for the online auction site so bidders can view and bid right from their mobile devices in traditional auctions as well. 
  • Monitor Bids:
    Keep track of the bidder names and the corresponding donations being placed in real-time.

Pros and Cons

Auction Management Software Features
Pros Cons
  • Support for both silent and live auctions
  • Manage the entire event from beginning to end
  • Online auction catalog with online/mobile bidding
  • Create various ticket types
  • Expensive option as the annual fee ranges from $449 to $899 plus 2% of event proceeds
  • Difficult to understand initially
  • Minor bug issues reported by users


  • Mobile Pro: $899 per year
  • Mobile Plus: $749 per year
  • Bidsheet Pro: $649 per year 
  • Bidsheet Plus: $499 per year

What Do the Users Say?

The program was easy to learn and use. Very intuitive! Our members had a really easy time purchasing tickets for an event and looking at auction items. Use at the event made check-in a breeze and quick. teaching the volunteers to use the software was easy and it was great to have a demo database that couldn't get messed up. It was nice to not have to practice on our database. Karen C.

3. OneCause: Best For Large Nonprofits With A Good Budget 

  • G2 Rating: 4.7 
  • Capterra Rating: 4.7 

OneCause is a comprehensive event management tool particularly designed for large nonprofits. It helps with multiple donation campaigns, from silent auction to peer-to-peer and text-to-give. 

Its advanced mobile bidding capabilities make the entire bidding process simple and convenient for your bidders. The software allows them to automatically set themselves as the next highest bid based on the maximum amount they're comfortable giving. 

Guests receive outbid notifications, so they don't have to worry about missing out on interesting auction items. 

Top Features 

  • Item and Package Management:
    Streamline item procurement by generating solicitation letters to sponsors, tracking the status of your items, logging each one's location, and bundling multiple items into packages.
  • Gamification:
    Add some friendly competition into the bidding process to keep the energy level high. Display scoreboards with the top bidders or table team, highlight donation progress with a fundraising thermometer and use engagement drives like live chat.
  • Event Management:
    Access a full suite of event management tools and features, including the ability to sell tickets, create a fundraising microsite, manage RSVPs, facilitate contactless check-in with QR codes, and more.
  • Sponsor Management: Identify sponsors by their contribution with flexible logo grouping and resizing. It can easily track all in-kind and paid sponsorships.

Pros and Cons

Features of Auction Software
Pros Cons
  • Simple to set up and use
  • The customer service team is friendly and supportive
  • Intuitive auction site creation
  • Incredibly user-friendly for bidders
More inclined towards online auctions and not hybrid events


OneCause offers various packages, such as Enterprise, Professional, and Essentials, with different features and tools to meet your unique auction event needs.

What Do the Users Say?

Switching to this software really improved the quality of our annual auction and helped us reach a new level. We have used the software for five years now and are very happy with the quality and service we receive (taking into account the comments about the old software being better than the new software). Paul B.

4. Givebutter: Best Easy-to-Use Auction Software for Nonprofit Organizations

  • G2 Rating: 4.7
  • Capterra Rating: 4.8

Streamline your silent auction event with Givebutter's modern, donor-friendly design and user-friendly interface. 

It makes it a breeze for bidders to place bids, receive bid notifications, and check out from their mobile—with no additional mobile bidding app download required.

Givebutter mobile-friendly auction software lets supporters attend and engage in silent actions from any device. 

Top Features 

  • Auction Item Categories:
    Group items into specific categories with custom names, descriptions, display orders, and shareable URLs to improve the bidding experience.
  • Luxury Travel Packages:
    Add high-value travel packages and concierge services to any auction events right from the dashboard. 
  • Automated Bidding:
    Allow guests to set their maximum bid amount, which ensures automated bidding in customizable bid increments up to their specified limit.
  • QR Codes Bidding Sheets:
    Generate free, printable QR codes for traditional paper bid sheets, which guests can scan and bid on the spot at charity auctions.

Pros and Cons

Advanced Auction Software Features
Pros Cons
  • Access to 100+ fundraising features
  • Unlimited auction items with full customization
  • Handles high volume of bidding activities in real-time
  • Convenient automated bidding
  • Comes with a hidden fee
  • Reporting features are limited
  • Shows Givebutter on donors' bank statement


All features are free but with optional tips that the platform receives from donors. The platform has a processing fee of around 2.9% + 30¢, usually covered by 95% of donors. For users who choose to disable optional donor tips, a standard platform fee of 5% applies.

What Do the Users Say?

Being able to create specific campaigns for events or causes is really helpful. It is easy to use - all you need to do is add some text and an image. My team uses Givebutter often - we have about three fundraising events per year and a variety of different fundraising campaigns throughout the year. I create QR codes for each and include on all printed material related to that event/campaign. Allie M.

5. Clickbid: Best Silent Auction Software For Virtual Events 

  • G2 Rating: 4.7
  • Capterra Rating: 4.7

Specializing in mobile bidding, Clickbid is ideally suited to organize and execute virtual auctions. It offers custom landing pages to centralize ticket sales, auction catalog, registration, and donations in one place.  

Nonprofits even have options to secure personalized advice from a dedicated and experienced advisor to make their auction event successful. They can request additional staff and volunteer training. 

Top Features 

  • Text-to-Register:
    Choose a keyword and then ask guests to text the word to register for the event. 
  • Secure Payment Processor:
    Uses best-in-class payment processor Stripe to offer peace of mind to bidders and nonprofits when it comes to donations.
  • Mobile Bidding Solution:
    Simplifies auction management by instantly determining winning bids and check-out totals. It also streamlines check-in and check-out processes. 
  • Mass Messaging:
    Remind winners to make payments, ask donors to add payment info, or send an update about fundraising events to guests - all simultaneously. 

Pros and Cons

Features Overview for Nonprofit Software
Pros Cons
  • Easy to set-up
  • Payments are directly deposited into the nonprofit account
  • Live stream in-person events
  • Free trial offered
  • Limited customization
  • Problems with reporting


  • Essentials: $759/per year 
  • Enhanced: $1,295/per year 
  • Full Suite: $2,295/per year 

What Do the Users Say?

The ClickBid platform was a game changer in our online auction. We were able to use lots of the cool features like the live stream and texting bidders to get lots of engagement. George V.

6. SchoolAuction.Net: Best Auction Software Designed For Schools

  • G2 Rating: 4.6
  • Capterra Rating: 4.7 is a silent auction for nonprofits, primarily for schools. It has been in the fundraising space for a long time and is well-respected and deemed trustworthy in the auction industry. 

It also offers web and mobile solutions, allowing auction attendees to bid from home or on the go.

Top Features

  • Unique Event Sites:
    Create a separate event site for each event with unique themes, settings, teams, and reporting. Keep the past event sites in place for future help.
  • Great Support:
    Getting started with auctions is easy with embedded tips, illustrated videos, and articles. The support team is available for prompt, personal support anytime.
  • Hybrid And Virtual Live Auctions:
    Brings live streaming, bidding, and chat all together in one place to enable supporters to participate in the auction from anywhere – at the gala or home.
  • Mobile Bidding:
    At-home bidders and guests can use their mobile devices to bid and receive outbid messages via email/text.

Pros and Cons

Comprehensive Auction Software Features
Pros Cons
  • Extensive resources to plan online auctions
  • Build sponsorship packages to engage donors
  • Voting contests to find the fundraising event to run
  • Various choices available with credit card processing
  • The user interface is complicated and outdated
  • Few issues with post-event reports and guest receipts reported by users


  • Acorn: $79/per event 
  • Essentials: $1000/per year 
  • Plus: $1500/per year 
  • Professional:$2000/per year 

What Do the Users Say?

I have been running school silent auctions for over 10 years and have used a variety of tools to do so. This is by far the best product we've ever used. From guest management to ease of check-out to donor item entry, everything is a breeze. The customer service is outstanding...questions and concerns are answered promptly and every "emergency" situation has been well thought out and solutions provided. Thank you,, for an amazing product that exceeded our expectations! Amy C.

7. BiddingOwl: Best For In-Person Auctions  

  • G2 Rating: 4.7
  • Capterra Rating: 4.8

Run small, in-person auctions with bidding sheets on BiddingOwl for free. It offers remarkable customer support and a full-service management platform to ensure your traditional auction event operates smoothly. 

It offers support with event ticketing, paddle raises, donations, fund-a-need, and more. You must pay a certain amount to execute online auctions.  

Top Features 

  • Ticket Sales:
    Makes it easy to generate and sell tickets for events. Add several options, including food choices, pricing levels, and more. 
  • Instant Notifications:
    This feature ensures that bidders and donors receive instant notifications via text or email when they're outbid or win an auction item. 
  • Proxy Bid:
    Sets a proxy bid that enables the system to bid on the donor's behalf up to the amount they set as max bid. 
  • Multiple Payment Options:
    Donors can either pay with all major credit cards (PayPal or Stripe) or pay directly via cash or check outside the system. 

Pros and Cons

Event Auction Software Features
Pros Cons
  • Quickly sets up auction events
  • Custom homepage and advanced picture upload for auction site
  • Livestream physical events
  • Run email and SMS campaigns for event promotions with ease
  • Takes 5% of the winning bids from online auctions
  • Non-PCI compliant security
  • Limited language support


  • Online auctions: 5% from winning bids
  • Tickets and fund-a-need: Free 
  • More support and tools: Free

What Do the Users Say?

Bidding Owl for us as a small nonprofit was the absolute best decision we could make to handle our annual GalaQ event and auction. Amazingly easy and customizable. Michael K.

8. Bloomerang: Best For Volunteer and Donor Management  

  • G2 Rating: 4.7
  • Capterra Rating: 4.7

A successful auction relies on donors and volunteers. With Bloomerang, manage your constituent ecosystem, including donors, sponsors, volunteers, grantees, and more. It gives you a brief insight into your auctions' guest past giving as well as current engagement level. 

With that understanding, you can identify which donors you should personally invite and who's more likely to donate items. 

Top Features 

  • Donor Management:
    Monitor campaign success, donor retention rate, and incoming donations. Find help building commitment and loyalty with supporters. 
  • Event Planning:
    Tools to plan fundraising events, including registration, ticketing, and attendance tracking. 
  • Mobile Capabilities:
    Instantly update donors' profiles and securely process credit card and cash payments using Bloomerang's mobile donation app.
  • Marketing & Engagement:
    Built-in email marketing tools to share personalized emails, letters, surveys, and acknowledgments to build relationships with donors that last.

Pros and Cons

Software Integration Features
Pros Cons
  • Integrates with Quickbooks online
  • User-friendly interface
  • Greatly customizable
  • Highly intuitive and visually appealing
  • Limited options for tracking events
  • A bit of a learning curve with the reporting feature


  • Starts at $83/per month under $250K funds raised each year.
  • Starts at $125 over $250K funds raised each year. 

What Do the Users Say?

I have worked with various donor management systems. Everyone takes a bit to figure out and get used to, and Bloomerang makes it incredibly easy to get set up and start raising funds. Not only is their customer service incredibly responsive and helpful, but they also provide community and education tools that help you become a great fundraiser. I can't recommend them enough! Sarah R.

9. Classy Live: Best Auction Software for Mobile Bidding 

  • G2 Rating: 4.4
  • Capterra Rating: 4.3

Whether in-person, live, or hybrid, organize your charity auctions successfully with Classy Live. 

With its mobile bidding solution, guests can watch and bid on items from anywhere, receive updates on bidding items, and receive detailed email receipts for self-checkout.

Using Classy Live, nonprofits save time by uploading auction items in bulk and automating closing times for items, starting bids, and increments. They can also optimize auction performance by quickly identifying items with no bids and promoting them during the event. 

Access real-time feed of all mobile bidding and auction activity with Classy Live.

Top Features 

  • Bidding Notifications:
    Send automated push notifications related to outbids to encourage participants to bid more.
  • Feature Items:
    This tag will highlight popular or big-ticket items that will grab the guest's attention and direct more funds toward your cause.
  • Item Sheets:
    Print out custom sheets for individual auction items, each with a unique QR code for in-person events. Scanning the code, guests are directed to a unique mobile-optimized page to place bids through their smartphones.
  • Multiple Payments:
    Allow attendees to pay with check, cash, or credit cards and complete their donation with a self-checkout experience.

Pros and Cons

Enhanced Auction Features Overview
Pros Cons
  • Add “fund-a-need” item alongside auction items to raise additional funds
  • Upload and edit auction items in bulk
  • Enable “Buy Now” and set up automatic max bids
  • Send email messages or SMS to encourage bidding
  • Instantly acquire a real-time insight into all bidding and donation activity
  • Supports silent auction events hosted only in the United States
  • Pricing is not transparent


Classy Live has not disclosed its price, so you have to contact them.

What Do the Users Say?

Classy is a one-stop shop for our mid-size, national nonprofit organization. We use Classy for our main donation page, for peer-to-peer fundraising, and their new Classy Live product for our live events. They are always available to help and provide truly excellent customer service. - Elise R.

Final Words - Picking the Best Silent Auction Software 

You will find many auction software solutions in the market. Some are specifically dedicated to silent auctions, while others are a more comprehensive tool. Look for a platform that meets your nonprofit needs. 

You should also consider your auction requirements, budget, and the features you need. By doing so, you'll have better chances of maximizing your auction success and raising funds.

Whether you're planning to host an in-person silent auction or a completely virtual one, with Zeffy's 100% free auction software, nonprofits can minimize workload and create one-of-a-kind auctions!

Silent Auction Software FAQs 

Here's how you can set up a virtual auction on the auction software you choose:

  • Create your auction page and tap into your network to identify sponsors and partners.
  • Secure items and start uploading them with their descriptions.
  • Generate tickets and create registration forms.
  • Spread the word about your auction via social media channels.
  • Open the bidding and keep on monitoring the bid activity
  • Keep track of winning and payments, ensuring all transactions are processed securely
  • Your silent auction success depends on your bid sheets. Clear and concise directions and information on each bid sheet ensure bidders understand the items and follow directions.
    To create a bid sheet, focus on adding the given auction details:

  • Auction item title.
  • Detailed and simple description of each item along with donor or sponsor name.
  • Item number.
  • Item's fair market value.
  • Minimum starting bid.
  • Minimum raise.
  • Buy-it-now price of items.
  • The bidding sheet will also include a place for bidders to put their bid number, contact info, and bid amount. Throughout the event, they will return to see if they have outbid and if they should bid again.

    Around 95% of supporters and bidders on Givebutter auction software cover fees when requested, leading to an average campaign fee of less than 1%.

    In today's digital age, running a silent auction online has many benefits. It is convenient, allowing donors to submit their bids straight from their smartphones on the go. Nonprofits can extend fundraising events by keeping the auction window open for a few days.
    Besides, a silent auction also reduces time and effort. There is no need to collect and evaluate bidder data through bidding sheets. The software instantly and efficiently records all bidder data and informs the winner.
    Silent auction software is also a cost-effective solution. It reduces the need for print bidding sheets, arranging clipboards, choosing a venue, and seeking volunteers.

    Picking the prize for your silent auction is important to secure results from your fundraising efforts. Some popular auction item ideas to consider are:

  • Luxury travel packages
  • Wine tasting tour
  • Silent auction gift baskets
  • Spa day
  • Exclusive event tickets
  • Artwork or jewelry 
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