From Fundraising Frustrations to one of the Fastest Growing Companies in the Midwest

May 9, 2023

How one crazy simple idea ushered the nonprofit industry into the 21st century.

It’s been almost 20 years since I was a freelancer, managing fundraising events for charities and nonprofits. And like most jobs back then, we did everything on paper; advertising our mission to the world, promoting our galas and events, and of course, managing the auctions.


I remember one particular fundraising event where we auctioned off porcelain-painted masks signed by music celebrities from around the world. What a complex thing to auction, promote, and manage. I just knew hosting a paper auction wouldn’t cut it.


There was so much to keep track of — planning every detail, curating the auction items, creating a seamless check-in process, and keeping donors engaged the whole time — all of that to create the perfect experience for our guests. But if any of those things failed to live up to expectations, it put our fundraising goal in jeopardy.


We needed to come up with a fundraising strategy that made it easier for nonprofits to raise more money and simple for donors to give. So we went digital! It just seemed like the obvious answer.


That’s when ClickBid came to be.


At the beginning, however, it felt like we bit off more than we could chew. We had a usable platform, but as we began to build out new feature after new feature, we realized that we gave our support team and clients little time to become familiar with it. In fact, they didn’t really find that it was a perfect solution to managing events.


Our users were growing frustrated. And our brilliant idea of bringing nonprofits and charities into the 21st century felt like it was going to flop before we really got started.


While we were scratching our heads trying to figure out why people found the software difficult to use, someone in our sales meeting wrote this statement on the board: 


“Why aren’t we crazy simple?”


That’s when flashbacks to the event where I was tasked with auctioning porcelain-painted masks started to creep in. On our journey to simplify fundraising events, had we actually fallen into the trap of making it more complicated by spending all our energy on shiny new features. Whoops!


So we turned that whiteboard question into a mantra. Whenever we came up with new ideas and features, we would stop and ask ourselves, “Is it crazy simple?” If not, we changed everything so that it would be. 


And it worked. People were loving ClickBid’s software. Even better, they found that by using it, they were able to engage more bidders and raise more money. 


Since then, we have stayed true to that rally call and released features that focused on simplifying fundraising events — features like mobile bidding, text-to-give, mass messaging, event reporting, and pre-recorded and live videos. We even went beyond just making “software” as we invest in training our support teams to help organizations run their events.


Fast-forward to present-day and ClickBid’s software has been used at more than 10,000 events and helped raise more than $600M. We’re also proud to announce that we’ve been named one of the 2023 Inc. 5000 Regionals award winners as one of the fastest-growing companies in the Midwest.


Now, we may seem like we have an ordinary paper-to-software story, but I can assure you it’s more than that. There are now dozens of mobile bidding and event fundraising platforms, and embracing digital transformation seems to have become the norm. And although ClickBid may not be the definitive reason for that shift, I can say this with confidence — we played a significant role in helping usher the industry into the digital age — and we aren’t done yet!


Want to learn more about ClickBid’s crazy simple fundraising solution? See for yourself. Click here to learn more and sign up for a demo. 

Get The Latest Updates
Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Become a subscriber

Subscribe to our blog and get the latest updates straight to your inbox.