Our Paperless PTO program has just about every feature that a parent teacher group needs to conduct their daily activities.  We have built the program based on the needs of the schools we support.  From day one we have kept an open mind about adding new features.  If we receive a suggestion from someone or some group we think about it.  If someone else or another group suggests it as well, we get to work on putting it together.

A few weeks ago I was asked by a PTO president if our program could handle a live auction for an event they are going to have.  It was not the first time we have heard this request, so we decided that the time was right to get to work on it.  Suffice it to say, our program now has a nice auction feature that you can use.  It is enabled on all websites we support and under construction in the School Directory App.

The basic premise of the feature, is that you can offer any number of items to auction off at any event you hold.  Each item will be setup with a price of $1 which enables bidders to offer a bid at any price.  A minimum bid price can be set so that the bidding starts at the level you would like it to.  Once the first bid is made on an item, the auction begins.  Anyone that has registered for the event will receive notices in various forms letting them know an item has been bid up.  These notices can be triggered in the form of an email notice, a text message and a push notice to the School Directory App.  Each notice will include a hyper link or an alert that can be tapped which leads the potential bidder to a page where they can view all auction items and each items’ current high bid.  Each item will also have a button that prompts the potential bidder to make their bid on the item.  If the potential bidder then makes their own bid on the item, they become the high bidder on that item and the notification cycle starts again.

You may be thinking that bidding can easily get into a frenzied pace and there may be too many notices about newly placed bids.  We did think of that too.  There are parameters that can be set which allows you to dictate when the notices should be sent.  A setting of real time means they will go out with every bid.  If this setting is enabled and the bidding is frequent, then the new bid notices will be equally frequent.  There is also a setting that allows you to indicate the number of minutes between each bid notice.  If your auction runs from 8PM to 10PM and you set the bidding interval to 15 minutes, this will result in bid notices going our 4 times each hour for a total of 8 for the duration of the 2 hour auction.

Are you a true auctioneer?  If so, you are now wondering how you can track the bids.  Well, there is also a reporting feature that you can monitor during the auction.  It will list all bids on all items with the most recent high bid at the top.  You can see who made which bids and exactly when.

Finally, when the auction ends the high bidder will then be sent a notice letting them know they are the high bidder and then have a preset number of minutes to make their purchase.  The notice will include hyper links and alerts that will direct them to the page to make the payment for the item they bid on.

There you have your Paperless PTO online auction feature.

Michael Kerin is the founder of Paperless PTO, one of the first providers of e-Commerce websites and mobile apps for schools and parent teacher organizations.

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