Managing Auctions

One big element of events is often silent and live auctions. Here’s how my nonprofit organization is using Asana to manage our auctions this year.

Our organization is spread throughout the entire state and in addition to staff we have volunteers/committee members helping us solicit for auction items. So we needed one place where we can all communicate regarding the needs of our auctions. We have chosen to use list projects for an easy transition for staff members who are used to Excel, but I can see where boards would be ideal for this type of project.

1. Decide how you want to organize the project
When it became time to think about how we wanted to manage the auction, we quickly decided to create a stand-alone project for it rather than incorporating it as a section within the event project. This is due to the size of the auction and to avoid “cluttering” the event project which is designed more as a marketing/program task list.

Next we thought of how we need to use the information. Because we have to upload the information to the mobile bidding platform, we need to export the project to an Excel spreadsheet and we need certain columns of data. Thefore, we utilize custom fields (a premium feature.)

We also have a set work pipeline to how we gather auction information so we created sections:

  • Call List
  • Unable to donate
  • Sent auction letter/form
  • Waiting on donation form (which commits the donor)
  • Waiting on drop-off of item or certificate
  • Item needs to be picked up
  • Item received

As the items are moved through the pipeline, we will move them through the sections of the project. We also used sections to highlight important reminders (in this case, to attach logos & images so that creative services can create supporting materials)

Here’s a look at the main project page utilizing step 1.

2. Including all the information
There are many things we need to know about when collecting auction donations. We set up custom fields to capture all this including the description of the item, if there are restrictions to use the item and the item’s value.

Using custom fields allows us to sort the project easily to view who the solicitor is, what category it belongs in and if we need to create any supporting materials in-house.

3. Creating follow-up tasks
Because there are not hard deadlines on gathering auction donations and because we can view who is responsible for which item by the solicitor custom field, we have not assigned due dates or assignees. However, there are times when those are needed such as when you need to follow-up on the letter you sent or if someone needs to pick up an item at a certain date and location. In this instance, we use subtasks.

4. Exporting the data
We will export the project to a CSV file as needed. Since sections appear as tasks in the spreadsheet, minor formatting is required.

5. Track your success
While most of our analysis of the auction will be done with our bidding software, you may want to consider adding a few extra fields so that you can review how well items did or didn’t do. Then you will know best where to exert the most effort next year. Here are a couple you could use:

  • Number of bids
  • Winning bid amount

Here’s hoping your event auctions are a breeze to manage and a roaring success because of it!


Wow, that is such a great example. Actual use cases with visuals are so useful to the Community.

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@James_Carl I’m glad it’s useful!

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@Crystal_Alifanow - Thank you for sharing! This is a tremendous example of how Asana can be used for maximum value. I particularly appreciate the way you’ve used custom fields in such detail to track your process. Beautiful project!

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