Automating Auctions

Auctions are a great way to generate revenue for your club. Unfortunately, auctions are a lot of work. The Greater Chicago Cichlid Association—my home club—hosts three auctions a year. Sometime, they run to 1AM!
Certainly, auctions are a big toll on the people who run them.

Most clubs use an Auction Database program to track item sales and match them to buyers and sellers. Sellers are given seller numbers. Buyers, receive buyer numbers. Some clubs use numbers for both, others will have letters assigned.

I’m curious—what does your auction system do for your club?

My club (Greater Chicago Cichlid Association) uses a system based on Microsoft Access. It’s pretty simple and works for us, but we are looking at ways to improve it.

We recently began using an online Auction Registration System. This allows both sellers and buyers to pre-register for one of our auctions online. No more late night calls to the auction chairman asking for a seller number. The night before the auction, we download the registration file as a CSV (comma separated value) file and import it into Microsoft Excel. From there, it is easy to bring into Access and use as the look-up table.
You can check out the system— when an auction is running— at http://www.gcca.net

I see a few problems with our current process.

Read more: Automating Auctions

Improving Auctions for Everyone

As the club's auction chairperson, I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to improve the auction.

Sometimes these thoughts actually pan out and others do not. This is the nature of "improvements."

There are many ways to do things and many ways to get things done. If you say "my way and the wrong way," I believe you think too much of yourself.

I have made an improvement to this philosophy… "My way and not-quite-my-way but it's better than having to do it myself."

With these thoughts in mind, consider doing the following at your club auction.

Read more: Improving Auctions for Everyone

Auction Seller Forms

Rick Borstein, FAAS Webmaster

My home club, the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association, uses PDF-based seller forms. I know of several clubs that are using a variant of the form.

The form is in PDF format, so anybody can fill it in with the free Adobe Reader.

The best thing about the form is that as the seller fills in items, it automatically produces labels on the following pages. The seller then prints out the form and labels and brings it to the society auction.

The forms saves time for auction sellers and deliver clean, crisp forms and labels that make it easier on your auction personnel.