More Tips and Ideas for Non-Profit Virtual Auction Websites

DIY professional photos for online auction catalog.
Welcome to part three of “Virtual Fundraising Event Ideas and Tips for Non-Profits” – a robust series about how to maximize online event revenue for associations and chambers of commerce. 
In Part 2, we explored auction photography techniques to ensure you are maximizing revenue potential. Specifically, setting, quality, lighting, and focus. 
This post covers simplicity, quantity, video, and more.

Visual imagery is critical to the overall presentation of auction items, raffle prizes, donation appeals, etc..

As tempting as it may be to grab your phone, take a picture, and move on to the next thing, DON’T.

The online auction visuals serve to replace the tactile, in-person experience. You wouldn’t throw a sun-bleached, dusty item on the silent auction table at a live event, would you? So don’t post a sub-par photo on the auction site.

The online auction website serves as a catalog. Make sure your “catalog” is classy.


Again, auction photos will be seen on desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets. Keep that in mind when staging photos.


  • Avoid the urge to get overly artistic. Less is more.
  • Don’t use collage photos. They’re distracting and difficult to see on small screens. 
  • If you’re incorporating donor logos, either a transparent png or a simple jpg logo on a white background is the best bet to make it recognizable. Are you adding text? Make sure it’s an easy-read-font and large enough for even the smallest of screens.


  • Take (a lot) more photos than you need and then pick the best ones.
  • Capture multiple angles, making sure the bidder will have a complete look. The goal is to replicate the tactile experience of a live fundraising event auction.
  • The first/main photo should be the “money shot.” Upload images so the strongest picture is the first one the bidder sees.


  • Consider using video to highlight high-value items, unique donations, or items that involve an experience.
  • When done right, a 10 second, 360-degree clip of an unusual item can be impactful.
  • Double-check that you aren’t infringing on any licensing (images and music) if using video. 
  • It’s not an infomercial, so keep it short.
  • Promotional videos with a preview of various items can be fun. Having a confident, outgoing person give the “tour” is an engaging way to connect. Think Facebook Live, Insta stories, Tik-Tok, and more.
  • Remember, the video is about the donation; the narrator shouldn’t be the main subject. There’s nothing worse than someone droning on about something you can’t see.
  • Many of the photography rules apply to video. Busy backgrounds, quick pans, poor audio, and jerky shots are off-putting. 
  • Using video is proven to be more engaging than static imagery. But only when done well. Having your 8-year-old film, you probably won’t end up with the ideal results.
  • Free video editing software is online. So, you can trim and splice. No need for a “perfect take.”
New and creative auction items for virtual fundraising event galas
image of board orientation book
AMS Buyer's Workbook

Remember, “eye appeal
is buy appeal.”

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