Our Silent Auction Pro™ Story...
Jim, President and Founder
In 2000 my wife and I moved to Tahoe City to escape the rat race of Silicon Valley. I was working for a small but growing company writing code for their website and had the opportunity to telecommute. We were new to the community so I decided to join the Kiwanis Club of Tahoe City to help give back and meet people.
The Kiwanis Club had been holding a small silent auction based fundraiser for a few years and was using spread sheets and then a Microsoft Access based database to help track all the donations they were getting. I volunteered and worked the event for a couple years. The events were successful but the check-in and check-out process was a nightmare. With my background in software development and this relatively new thing called the Internet, I knew I could make it better.
I wrote the first version of what is now Silent Auction Pro in 2003 for my club using ''Cold Fusion''. That was essentially the birth of Silent Auction Pro. For that I received a special recognition award from the club and ultimately Kiwanian of the year.
I continued to improve it every year and added new features and functionality. The issues with check-in and check-out virtually disappeared and attendees started noticing how well our events were running. People started asking if they could use the software for their own fund raising events. I had only written the software to support one organization so there really wasn't any way to let others use it.
In 2005, I completely rewrote the system using PHP and MySQL and released it as ''Silent Auction Pro'' and offered it to other charitable organizations. The word spread about how well it streamlined the whole fundraising process and our business was born. While we don't limit the use of our system to charitable organizations, 98% of our customers are raising money to help others.
I love that we are helping great organizations do amazing things for their communities. I also love that virtually everyone on our team - most importantly our sales and support staff - were and are still all customers of Silent Auction Pro. We've all walked in the shoes of our customers, we understand the challenges that are faced by small and large organizations in running fund-raising events. Our solution has grown over 20 years to include virtually every option or feature an organization would need to run their event. From including an embedded live stream for your fund-a-need to auctioning off a live goat (that's another story...) we have it covered.
Becca, User Experience Specialist
When my school PTO decided we were done with the stress of our very unorganized paper-based silent auction, my co-chair and I started looking for a better solution... enter Silent Auction Pro™. We had our best event ever, making more money with less people and effort, and every one of our attendees raved about how fun it was! Silent Auction Pro had saved our auction... and 2 months later they were looking for ''Event Coaches'' to help other organizations have a successful experience. My youngest was headed to Kindergarten, and it was time to go back to work. Silent Auction Pro was the perfect way for me to further my career, and still help people at the same time...while being part of an incredible team of individuals.
Flash forward 5 years and here I still sit. My team mates have become family and it's been the most rewarding job of my career! I now handle more development and support issues rather than coaching, but being able to help other people support their chosen charity, and to help those charities make more money, is my newfound joy. Each of our customers is important to me and I feel blessed to call many of them friends.
In 2018 the Willow Center, an organization that I volunteered for, reached out a few weeks before their Event and asked me to help find Auction Software with invoicing capability.
I reached out to four auction software companies. I either had to leave a voicemail, fill out a form, or send an email requesting information. But then, on the first call to Silent Auction Pro™, an Event Coach (Becca), actually answered the phone to my surprise, and it was a Saturday! Even though I had a background in computers, I have never used any type of online auction software.
Becca helped explain what auction software can do, what features I might need, and what Silent Auction Pro could offer. Silent Auction Pro's pricing was very straightforward, and Becca explained that even though it was quite user-friendly, I'd have an Event Coach guiding me through the process. With my event coming up very quickly, Becca let me know it would be quite the challenge to get the auction running in time, and even suggested I perhaps look for a simpler process. But an online auction was the right path for Willow Center and the board decided, with only 8 days to spare, that Silent Auction Pro was the platform for them.
The owner of Silent Auction Pro, Jim Donnell, had reached out to me and cautioned me as he was concerned that I had such a short window that perhaps I should consider other solutions. I told him I was going to use Silent Auction Pro, and I would make it work. The entire team at Silent Auction Pro was accommodating and stepped up to the plate to help me get the auction and tickets ready to go just 8 days before the event was to take place. I was so impressed with how the Support team not only helped me, but the way they helped each other make all customers happy.
As it turns out, Silent Auction Pro was looking for another Coach, and Becca asked if I was interested in a job, as they were impressed with my determination and deployment of Silent Auction Pro. I came on board as an Event Coach two weeks later. Today, I enjoy coaching Silent Auction Pro customers and hearing the pride in their voices when they exceed their goals.
For several years I was the chairperson for an annual fundraiser that was held for the small Catholic school that my children attended. Over the years our event grew in size and we needed to find a software to help us streamline the processes. From the very beginning, the unwavering support and the willingness to listen and implement suggestions made Silent Auction Pro the best choice for our group. We were so proud to see our proceeds increase from year to year and the features of the software factored into every dollar that we earned. We had more time to plan our event and solicit auction items because the administrative side of things was much easier for us.
I was so excited to be given the opportunity in 2019 to join the team and share all of the benefits that I have experienced using the software. Being an event planner with a restaurant background, I feel comfortable helping others plan and sharing my ideas and past experiences with our customers. Wearing the sales hat now for the company, I love when a customer asks me for a reference and I can provide over 10 years of positive feedback. What I enjoy the most is letting them know that we are on their side. Each and every member of our team has been in their shoes and we want nothing more than to help them succeed. It is amazing to me how much the software has changed over the years but one thing has remained the same, the desire of each and every one of us to make sure that our customers feel supported and prepared for their big day!
Tricia, Technical Support
When I started working for a private school five years ago, my main job was planning the biggest fundraiser of the year. which included a large silent auction. I tasked my husband (who is a tech guru) to find a silent auction software that would cost us the least amount of money, but give us the most functionality. After researching, his recommendation to me was Silent Auction Pro™. I did a demo of the software with an Event coach, fell in love with the software and the support staff...we haven't turned back since.
The school I work for still uses Silent Auction Pro for our annual Draw Down, and now also use it for many other school events. We use it for our giving platform and for any events we host or need to sell tickets for.
After my last annual event completed, my Event Coach told me that Silent Auction Pro was hiring, and I wanted to be part of that time. In Spring of 2021 I was hired as a part time Tech Support team member. Since I am still working for the school that led me to Silent Auction Pro, I can only take support calls at night, but am eager to help you in your time of need! I am grateful for finding my way to Silent Auction Pro for many reasons; I have made such great friends that I think of as family and I am still helping the school I love with a great auction/giving platform.