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Frequently Asked Questions​

Have questions about Bid Beacon?  We cover a variety of topics on our auction platform for both guests and admins. Use the search to find a your topic quickly.

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1. Getting Started

First Create an account or log in to app.bidbeacon.com

Once you create an account and log in, you’ll see the option to Create or Join an auction. Click Create Auction to start.

Walk through the 4 wizard steps, filling out information as you go.  

Choose your plan. Our Full Auction plan (formerly Ultimate Risk-Free plan) offers everything a fundraiser needs to host a successful silent auction. If you just want to test out our system, choose the Demo Auction plan to try us out. 

After the 4 step wizard you will land on your Auction Dashboard. 

Now, start working through the setup tabs from the left side menu, top to bottom. Be sure to Save as you go, and feel free to edit/revise as much as you’d like! If you need more time to set up your auction, you can adjust the start/end date of your auction from the Manage Auction tab.

The price varies based on the size of the auction.

Smaller auctions that raise less, pay less. Larger auctions that raise more, pay more. 

Our Full Auction plan (formerly Ultimate Risk-Free) gives you access to all of our features, and unlimited guests, admins, items, and images. There’s no upfront cost, we just take a small percentage off your total funds raised. 

Bid Beacon is now integrated with CommuniBee, and with an active CommuniBee subscription, you can take advantage of the following silent auction perks.

  • Receive a lower platform fee that applies to your auctions and all eCommerce transactions that flow throughout your CommuniBee organization.
  • Unlock alternate online payment options to accept payments using Stripe, Square, or PayPal.
  • Optionally let your guests pay offline if you prefer to collect funds outside of Bid Beacon via cash, check, e-Transfer, Venmo, or however you prefer to receive payment.
  • Take advantage of unparalleled pricing certainty with a platform fee cap that applies to all your silent auctions. This allows you to know the absolute maximum you may ever pay in fees to Bid Beacon.

Check out our Pricing page to learn more.

We know one size does not fit all, so our new options are all about choice and flexibility!  

Express Banking through Stripe Connect: Available with the Full Auction plan (formerly Ultimate Risk-Free). Link your auction directly to your bank account. Your bidders are required to enter a credit card before they can bid, and winners will be auto-charged as items close. Bid Beacon’s platform fee and Stripe Connect’s processing fee are deducted off the top and your profit is sent directly to the bank account you linked. Note that if you have an active CommuniBee subscription, you can turn off the requirement of entering a credit card prior to bidding.

Associated fees for express banking: Bid Beacon Platform Fee + Stripe Connect’s Processing Fee, applicable taxes and currency exchange fee’s may apply. Bid Beacon does not store any credit card or banking information. All payment information is handled strictly through Stripe who is a PCI-compliant third-party payment processor.

Alternate Payments: If you would rather use PayPal, Stripe (non-Connect version), Square, or accept payments offline (cash, check, e-transfer, etc.), these options are available with an active CommuniBee subscription. With an active subscription, you can give your guests the flexibility to pay either online or offline if you desire. See our Pricing page to learn more about the benefits of CommuniBee.

Bid Beacon integrates with Raffle Rocket for electronic Raffles. This allows you to promote and sell raffle tickets from within Bid Beacon while also promoting your auction from Raffle Rocket. Your guests can seamlessly navigate between both apps to truly maximize your fundraising potential.

USD, CAD, UK Pounds, Euros, Australian dollar (AUD), and New Zealand dollar (NZD).

Our Full Auction plan (formerly Ultimate Risk-Free) does take a platform fee off each transaction, but we do offer ways to receive a reduced platform fee while providing pricing certainty with a platform fee cap. More on this below.

Bid Beacon is now integrated with CommuniBee, and with an active CommuniBee subscription, you can take advantage of the following silent auction perks.

  • Receive a lower platform fee that applies to your auctions and all eCommerce transactions that flow throughout your CommuniBee organization. 
  • Unlock alternate online payment options to accept payments using Stripe, Square, or PayPal.
  • Optionally let your guests pay offline if you prefer to collect funds outside of Bid Beacon via cash, check, e-Transfer, Venmo, or however you prefer to receive payment.
  • Take advantage of unparalleled pricing certainty with a platform fee cap that applies to all your silent auctions. This allows you to know the absolute maximum you may ever pay in fees to Bid Beacon.

Check out our Pricing page to learn more.

We take our platform fee on at the end of each auction based on the total amount raised. This is a one-time fee so you aren’t locked into any monthly or annual contracts with Bid Beacon.

This only applies to our Full Auction plan (formerly Ultimate Risk-Free).

Express Banking through Stripe Connect will allow your guests to pay using the following methods:

  • All major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express)
  • Canadian pre-authorized debit cards
  • ACH Direct Debit
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay

Please be aware that payment methods may vary depending on your location and the default currency set on your Stripe account.

2. Setting Up

Admins who were part of past auctions can copy over:

  • Organization details
    • These details can be applied at Step 2 in the Auction Setup Wizard
  • Payment keys or express banking info
    • This is done from the Payment Settings section within the auction’s dashboard
  • Invite guests from your past auction(s) to participate in your new, upcoming auction
    • This is done from the Manage Guests section within the auction’s dashboard
  • Add items from your past auction(s)
    •  This is done from the Manage Items section within the auction’s dashboard

Yes! For all Full Auction plans (formerly Ultimate Risk-Free), you can have as many admins as you need.

Steps to Adding Admins are available here: bidbeacon.com/adding-administrators/

You can (and should) invite guests/bidders many ways. Here’s our favorites:

1. By sharing the Auction link directly in an email or social media post.
2. Adding the custom QR code to your printed posters, programs, or other marketing collateral.
3. Importing a list of your supporters and emailing them from Bid Beacon.
4. Second-time Admins can also invite guests from their previously managed auctions.
5. Emailing your supporters from your own email services which includes your auction’s invite link and instructions on how to join (because an email from you is more likely to get opened than an email from us!).
6. By creating and sharing social posts directly linking to your auction items.

Anyone who follows your auction’s share link or enters your access code can join and bid on your auction items. How you collect payments and deliver prizes to guests is up to you.

Online payment with a pickup location is recommended in this scenario.

You can set up optional shipping fee’s on items if you will not have a pickup location, or are not limiting accessing to local bidders only.

People can find your auction if the share link is made public on your social media, website, or shared by someone. If you end up with unwanted guests bidding, you have the option to move them to the waitlist, or ban them. Just be sure to delete their bids on items that they are winning.

Absolutely. You can start promoting your auction and have people join even while you are setting up and adding auction items. The auction will refresh with the new items in real time as they get added, and also send out in-app notifications for those actively browsing your auction.

You also have the option to hide items until auction opens if you prefer.

Guests are people who join your auction to either bid, donate or participate in some way. People who view items but never log in will not count towards your guest total. 

 

Your auction can be previewed before guests log in, but they will only find the auction if you have provided the share link publicly in some way (on your website, posted on social media, etc.).

Yes. When adding auction items, you can select the item type.

Buy Now lets you specify a price and quantity available for an item – such as tickets or green fee’s.

Donation items can be created and are a straight donation to your organization. 

Live items are purely for display because you will auction these items off during a live event. You are able to invoice this winner through the app by entering their name and bid amount. The winner will be able to pay using the options you made available during auction set up.

Admins have full control over when their auction items start and end which we also refer to as a Custom Bidding Period.

A Custom Bidding Period can be optionally applied to each item individually. Follow the steps below:

  1. Create a new item or edit an existing one.
  2. From the Edit/Create Item screen, scroll down to the Bidding Window section.
  3. Check off the Custom Bidding Period box.
  4. From here, proceed to set a custom date or time as to when you want the item to open or close.
Keep in mind that bidding periods must fall between the auction’s start and end date/time. Meaning you can’t have items that open before the auction starts, nor can you have items close after the auction ends.

You can run your auction for up to 365 days.

Yes! Our Full Auction plan (formerly Ultimate Risk-Free), supports Express Banking through Stripe Connect which means bidders are required to enter their credit card to place a bid, and are charged automatically if they win.

With a CommuniBee subscription, you unlock Alternate Payment options such as Stripe (non-Connect version), Square, and PayPal. With the non-Connect version of Stripe, you can also require guests enter their credit card and have payments be auto-charged at the end of your auction. Learn more about the supported payment providers here.

*Auto-charging is not possible when using Square or PayPal

**If using the auto-charge capability, you will not have the option to also collect payment offline (i.e. cash, check, e-transfer, etc.)

If you want to give your guests the option to pay online or offline (cash, check, e-transfer, etc.), a CommuniBee subscription will be required.

Bid Beacon is now integrated with CommuniBee, and with an active CommuniBee subscription, you can take advantage of the following silent auction perks.

  • Receive a lower platform fee that applies to your auctions and all eCommerce transactions that flow throughout your CommuniBee organization.
  • Unlock alternate online payment options to accept payments using Stripe, Square, or PayPal.
  • Optionally let your guests pay offline if you prefer to collect funds outside of Bid Beacon via cash, check, e-Transfer, Venmo, or however you prefer to receive payment.
  • Take advantage of unparalleled pricing certainty with a platform fee cap that applies to all your silent auctions. This allows you to know the absolute maximum you may ever pay in fees to Bid Beacon.

Check out our Pricing page to learn more.

You can set your start date anytime into the future, we do not limit your set up time in any way. This setting can be found within your auction’s dashboard, under the Manage Auction tab.

Note – once your auction goes live, it cannot be reversed. Before this happens, if you need more time to set up your auction, continue to set the start date further into the future.

This is entirely up to you. The benefit of requiring verified emails is that you ensure everyone bidding is able to receive communications from Bid Beacon. For example, we send email notifications if a guest gets outbid on an item, or when they win an item.

The only downside to requiring email verification is that it’s one additional step guests need to take before they can start to place bids. Without any sort of verification, it’s easier for guests to get onboarded into your auction, but you run the risk of guests joining with an invalid email address. 

Requiring guests to enter a credit card in order to bid is a great way to make payment collection at the end of the auction easy. Right now, Express Banking through Stripe Connect and Stripe (non-Connect version) support this payment setting. Learn more about the different payment providers we support here.

If you would like to set up or manage your auction from a personal device such as your phone or tablet, you will need to open up a web browser from your device (i.e. Safari if on iOS), and use the following URL: http://web.bidbeacon.com/

Please know that the downloadable app from the Google Play Store or App Store is built for guests to enhance the bidding experience. Admins won’t have the ability to manage their auction from the downloadable Bid Beacon app.

As of August 31, 2023, Stripe updated the verification requirements for connected accounts in Canada. This change applies to all corporations, registered charities, and non profit organizations in Canada.

If you are setting up with Stripe as one of the organizations types listed above, you will be required to provide the following information:

  1. Company Name, as it appears on the registry
  2. Company Address, as it appears on the registry
  3. The Number of Directors listed on the registry
  4. The Name for each director on the registry

Your ability to accept payments and get payouts to your bank account will be paused if Stripe is unable to verify this information. If these details don’t apply to you, you may want to consider selecting the Individual/Sole Proprietor business type when setting up your Stripe account.

For more details, see Stripe’s notices below:

Max Bidding allows your guests to set a maximum price on an item, and the system will automatically bid on their behalf up to the maximum. This feature is disabled by default, but you can enable it at any time from the Manage Items tab within your Bid Beacon auction dashboard. 

Images with a 16:9 dimension are ideal for the item’s first image as very little (if any) of the image is cut off when guests are browsing all items. For an item’s remaining images, dimensions that present well include: 3:2, 1:1, 16:9, and 4:3 (as well as the inverse of these ratios, e.g., 9:16, 2:3, etc.).

3. During the Event

Yes! You can send notifications that link to a specific item (say if you want to promote a particular item that’s closing soon), or send an update regarding the auction in general.

It will send to your guests three possible ways depending on their notification settings: 

  • Email *standard for all guests
  • Push Notification *if they are using the downloaded app from the Apple or Google Play Stores

Yes, admins can delete bids.

Go to the item’s page to view the list of bids. From this list, you’ll see a delete option beside the highest bid. If a user has already been outbid, you can no longer delete it.

Yes, each item can be linked to, and shared individually. When someone follows that link, they land directly on the item’s page. To bid, the guest will be required to log in.

 

Yes and we highly recommend you do this! 

If you’re laying items on tables you can print out the PDF Item sheets from your Manage Items screen in the dashboard. 
On it, there will be a brief item description and a unique QR code to send bidders straight to that item in the app. These item sheets are perfect if you plan on displaying your items on tables around a room. 

Sometimes the log in process can be daunting for some.

Sharing this Guest Quick Start Guide might help, but also, admins can use Bid As Guest to place bids on a guest’s behalf if they are simply unable to join.

We always recommend putting guests on a waitlist if they’re inactive or don’t want them to bid in your auction. If you have a guest that is causing a disturbance within the silent auction, you can permanently remove them by changing their Access Level to Banned. Banned guests won’t be able to view or access the auction whatsoever.

Be aware that this cannot be undone.

This is so important, and also a great way to maximize the revenue your auction generates. 

One method that we’ve seen admins use is to create a new category and group all the items with 0 bids together. You then reorder the category list to make this new category appear first. If your event is live, you can announce the new category to your attendees, otherwise, use the in-app notification tool to send out a push notification to all your guests.

Depending on the size of your auction, and the types of items, this tactic can help you raise hundreds, if not thousands of dollars!

Absolutely! Items can be added at any point while your auction remains live. When you add a new item to an auction that has already begun, guests browsing your auction will receive a popup notification highlighting the newly added item!

Admins have the ability to end the auction prior to the original end date and time. There are two methods to doing this:

Method 1) – End the auction immediately: 

  1. Access the auction dashboard.
  2. View the navigation pane on the left side of your screen and click the End Auction tab.
  3. This will direct you to a Close Auction page where you can finalize the closure by clicking End Auction Now.

Method 2) – Adjust your auction end date/time:

  1. Access the auction dashboard.
  2. View the navigation pane on the left side of your screen and click the Manage Auction tab.
  3. Edit either the End Date or End Time fields.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save.

Be aware that your auction cannot be reopened once closed.

 

Absolutely! This is a great way to encourage last minute bidding and raise more for your fundraiser!

In your auction’s dashboard, you will have a clickable tile on the Overview tab called Quick Extend. From here, you can choose to extend your auction anywhere from 5 minutes to 60 minutes at the click of a button!

Once an extension is triggered, an in-app notification will be delivered to all your guests. 

4. After the Event

Winners are notified in several ways:
  • Email: An email goes out to all guests once the auction ends. Emails to guests who have won will see their winnings and totals summed up. A link back into the app is provided to make their payment (unless auto-charged was enabled).
  • Push Notification: These go out to all guests – winners receive a link to view the results and are able to pay, unless they were auto-charged (depending on your payment setup).
  • In the app itself, a View Results bar appears across the top of each item and items page which directs any guest to check out what they won and to complete payment.
  • Non-Winners receive ‘thank you for participating’ notices through the same methods.Note – in all these places, the instructions you write on the Guest Instructions page appear. It’s important to make these instructions descriptive so they are helpful to your guests when the auction ends.

If your auction accepts payment through Stripe Connect, platform and payment processing fees are taken off each transaction immediately.

For auctions using Alternate Payments (regular Stripe, Square, PayPal, offline payments), Bid Beacon will charge the credit card that was used to subscribe to CommuniBee for the platform fees incurred during the auction. If platform fees are not paid in full, the auction host will be restricted from creating future auctions until their outstanding balance is settled.

Admins have a View Results page that lists the auction results by guest. Some guests will have won many items.

You can filter this list by All, Paid or Unpaid results.

You can search by name, item, or email as well.

If a person comes to pick up their item:

  1. First check if they are paid. 
  2. If yes, you can then hand them their item and mark them as picked up. This will move them into the Completed tab on the same page.
  3. If a guest has not yet paid and wants to pay in an offline method, rather than credit card through the app (e.g. cash, Venmo, e-transfer), you can find them in the unpaid list, mark as paid, choose the method of payment from the options available, collect payment, and then hand them their item. Afterwards, mark them as picked up.

A guest might show as unpaid if their credit card declined for some reason. If this happens, that winner has the option to change their credit card, re-enter it, and try again. If their card declines again, the guest can choose to pay you offline, or forfeit their winnings.

To forfeit, go to the item(s) they won, delete their highest bid, and the second highest bidder will then be declared the winner. This new winner will then receive the appropriate notifications mentioned above.

Yes, we have five reports available on the Reports screen in the auction dashboard for admins. A sixth report will be available at the end of your auction that tracks all your winners and whether they have paid for and picked up their items. 

They export in CSV files which can easily be converted to Excel or google sheets to further analyze your auction’s data!

Raffle Rocket is LIVE!

Take your fundraising events to greater heights with our online Raffle System.

Guest FAQ

If you have been invited to an auction, you can join by creating a Bid Beacon account or logging in to an existing account.
You can also preview items without logging in if you aren’t sure you’ll want to bid yet.
For more details view our Guest Quickstart Guide

Find the item you are interested in, and click on it to view more details. 
There are 3 ways to bid:
   1. Quick Bid: this will bid the minimum amount based on the item’s increment 
   2. Custom Bid: You can adjust the bid with [+] and [-] buttons, or tap on price to enter new amount before clicking Bid.
   3. Max Bid: Allows you to set your maximum on an item, and then have the system bid for you, until your maximum is reached. If you’re the top bidder, the system will wait until you are outbid before placing a new bid. This setting is configured by the admin, so if you don’t see an option set a Max Bid, the admin turned it off.

There are a variety of ways you will be notified:

  1.    Popup:  If you have the app open when you’re outbid, a popup will appear
  2.    Email: An email will be sent notifying you if you are outbid, won an item, or if the auction has ended
  3.    Push Notification: If using Bid Beacon app on a mobile device, a push notification will be sent
  4.    Text Message: If an accurate cell phone number has been provided, you will be sent a text

On the top of the auction item’s screen, click the chat bubble icon to send a question to auction admins regarding that item.

In the header, click the chat bubble to send a non-item specific message to admins.

In the header menu, beside your profile, click the heart icon. This will include items you’ve bid on, or that you favorited by clicking the heart icon on the item itself.

When the auction ends, you will be sent an email containing a list of your winnings.
A View Results button will appear in the auction after the auction ends. Click to see a list of your winnings and pay for the items.

This completely depends on what the auction admin sets up. 

Some possibilities are: 

  • You’ll be required to enter a credit card when you bid, and will be auto-charged when the auction ends for anything you win.
  • You will be emailed/notified you won and provided a link back to the app where you can make payment via credit card for your items.
  • The admin might not have chosen to use online payment methods, in which case you’ll be presented written instructions from the admin (hopefully they fill it out!) telling you what to do to provide payment and receive your winnings.

If you miss the email – you can view the Results Page by going back into the auction and clicking View Results.

Bid Beacon works on any web browser, no need to download the app.

Using the app does allow you to receive push notifications if you’ve been outbid though, so there’s that added benefit!

iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge.

Your firewall is likely blocking access to our server, so please whitelist our website (app.bidbeacon.com) for your firewall. 

If you still experience login issues, please contact us.

Use the chat function in the app to let the auction admin know that you didn’t mean to place that bid. They’ll need to know which item and bid specifically. If it’s the most recent bid, they can delete it.

Max Bid allows you to set a maximum price on an item, and the system will bid on your behalf as you get outbid. The bid amount is determined by the minimum bid increment on each item. Once the bid amount exceeds your max price, our system will stop bidding on your behalf. You can then continue to bid manually, or set a new max bid.

For example, if you set a max bid of $100 and the item’s increment was $10, you could in theory still be outbid with $100 if the following occurs:

Your Bid: $70
Someone Else’s Bid: $80
Your Bid: $90
Someone Else’s Bid: $100 (at this point, your max bid is turned off as you can’t exceed the $100 limit you set previously)

This is because Max Bid will not jump increments or go above your max so be sure to keep an eye on your bids!  

Usually this is due to spam blockers. 
1. Check your Spam Inbox for the email from us.
2. If the email from us is not there, add [email protected] to your contact list.
An easy trick to add to your contact list is to send us an email!  Once you’ve done that, click forgot password again and the email should come through.

If at the end of the auction, your payment fails, you will have the option to update your credit card information at that point.

This is unfortunately out of Bid Beacon’s control as all credit card information is stored securely on the payment provider’s end. Nothing gets stored on Bid Beacon’s side so you will need to wait until payments get processed which, for most events, occurs at the end of the auction. 

Looking for auction items that attract more bids? We can help!