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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1523 - April 24, 2007 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 4

cMarket Reaches Milestone with 2,000th Online Fundraising Auction

By Ina Steiner
April 24, 2007

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cMarket, a provider of online fundraising auction events, announced it has launched 2,000 auctions since its founding in 2003, with another 500 online-auction events scheduled to run over the next 90 days. The company released interesting data about the auctions along with information that reveals effective techniques employed by its fundraising clients.

The highest net revenue for auction item for a cMarket-powered auction was an autographed Lance Armstrong jersey, which went for $110,000 to benefit the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Auction in 2004.

The highest net revenue raised online for a single auction was $237,966 in an auction for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in 2007.

cMarket CEO Jon Carson said, "Non-profits have a distinct advantage when it comes to competing in the ecommerce economy because of the uniquely high affinity that donors have to these causes."

cMarket has conducted online auction events for 350 private schools that benefit by being able to engage alumni and extended family as bidders and item donors. A recent cMarket presentation at the Annual Conference for the National Association of Independent Schools was standing room only, the company said.

According to cMarket, "fundraising auctions can be turned from an art to a science with technology and analyses that give non-profit organizations a soup-to-nuts resource for predicting success, increasing bids and in the end, raising additional dollars." It released examples of some data it has generated from its analysis of past fundraising auctions, including the following:

  • March/April are peak months for online auctions in conjunction with live events. We find that more than 70% of our clients run their online auctions prior to their live fundraising event. In November/December the ratio is 50%, with more clients running fundraising auctions that are exclusively online.
  • During the first quarter of 2007, non-profit organizations that ran cMarket online auctions in conjunction with their live events raised 30% more than their counterparts that ran online only auctions. This was the first time we experienced online to live auctions achieving greater revenue.
  • Those auctions that enabled "absentee bidding" for items going into their live event, saw online bids that were 24% higher than those who did not use absentee bidding
  • Saturday is the best day for organizations to communicate with supporters with a click through rate is 4.9%.
  • Fridays are not the day for organizations to email their supporters/community. The average click through rate is the lowest of any day of the week (4.2% )
  • The average length of an auction is 30 days with 21% of an auction's bidders participating in the first 72 hours of the event, and 47% participating in the last 72 hours.
  • Schools are the most efficient organizations at gathering items for their online auction. The median auction catalog size is nearly twice as large as other types of organizations (120 vs. 62).
  • Travel is consistently the most popular auction category year round. During the holiday season cMarket auctions see an increase in bidding activity and revenue for "get-a-ways," (lower-priced trips of two-to-three days) verse the longer, higher priced “vacation” travel items which are more popular throughout the rest of the year. Quick get-a-ways appear to be a good match for holiday shopping budgets.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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