Charity auction advice and information - Gift aid

Get all the tips for charity fundraising

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  I have registered with you, but haven't received my confirmation email
Please check your spam filter/junk mail. It is probably in there. If not, please email and someone will be straight back to you
2.  It says there is a Reserve on the lot I want to bid on? What does that mean?
The donors of the items on our site sometimes set a Reserve price. A Reserve price is the lowest price at which they allow the item to be sold. Bidding usually starts below the Reserve, which is standard auction practice for both live and online auctions, and is designed to get the bidding going. If you make a bid on our site, and receive an email informing you that the Reserve has not been met, it means that your bid has not been accepted. You can try again or, if you wish, you may email us to request information on the Reserve price.
3.  I want an item on your site as a gift, but don't want to wait for the end of the auction - is there anyway I could buy at a set price?
We have Buy Me Now prices on many of our items, if you would like to request the option of Buy Me Now to an item, you can email with your request and we will see if we can help.

4.  What is it meant by a ‘PREVIEW ONLY’ lot?
If you see at the top of a lot description, a large blue box with PREVIEW LOT, this will mean the lot in question is being previewed on the site before it goes into either a live auction or an electronic silent auction at an event. The lot will be taken off the site, and online bidding will end shortly before the live event.

Any bids, including ‘auto bids' placed online will transfer over to the live auction and be given to the charity which is holding the live or the silent auction. These bids are then placed on the auctioneers 'book', and are treated exactly the same as if the bidder was actually there.

In auction houses, such as Christie's and Sotheby's, it is common practice, if you cannot be there in person to bid, to leave a 'bid on the books' for the auctioneer bid up to for you. The bid that you leave is the highest amount that you would be prepared to pay for the lot. This is the same way that a preview auction works. As an online user you are unable to be present at the actual event, but your highest bid is given to the charity holding the event to bid on your behalf at the silent auction or give your highest bid to the auctioneer conducting the live auction to bid up to on your behalf.

If the bidding at the actual auction goes above your highest amount, then you are outbid. If you have not been outbid then you will be contacted by either Giving Lots or the charity shortly after the event to inform you. You will not be contacted if you are outbid.

5.  The item I was bidding on went into Overtime Bidding - what's that?
This is an automatic feature that helps replicate a live auction environment and ensures you don't miss out on an item that you really want.  If two (or more) people are bidding at the same time within a predetermined period of the end of the auction (usually three minutes), then the ‘Overtime Bidding' facility kicks in, the auction being extended by the same predetermined period.  The two (or more) bidders are able to battle it out, in real time, just like in a live auction room.  Further bids within the overtime period will trigger an additional overtime extension, and so on, until only the highest bidder remains; the auction will end after no bids have been placed within the predetermined period before the published end time of the auction or within any overtime period.  This helps to ensure that no-one is outbid by ‘snipers' coming in right at the last moment to place bids.  In practice therefore, the auction may not end exactly at the published time, but the published end time does inform bidders of when any last-minute bidding will occur.

6.  What happens if I win a lot?
Full details are in our Terms & Conditions, which you have to tick as accepted before you can bid. However, in summary, once an auction ends, you will receive an email informing you are the winning bidder. You will then have 3 working days to pay (or less if the item is time-critical e.g. tickets). Within 24 hours of your payment, you will receive an email from us informing you how to arrange collection/delivery/arrangement of the lot you have bid for. In almost all cases, it is the donor or the charity who organises this, and we act as agent. Once you have received the email therefore giving instructions and the charity/donor contact name, that new contact becomes your point of contact for future queries. If you don't pay within the allotted time, we will write to inform you that we will relist the item, and we reserve the right to take action against you to recover the funds. Please note that by placing a bid, you are entering into a contract with us in which you agree to pay the amount you have bid in line with our payment terms, and that contract can only be ended (a) if you receive an email telling that the bid is below the Reserve or (b) if we give you notice that we are ending it. It might sound harsh, but we do act as agent for charities - we have a duty of care to collect their funds. So, please don't bid if you don't have any intention of honouring it - we will have to act.

7.  I’ve made a bid by mistake – what can I do?

When you make a bid on our site, you must first log on with your user name and password and then click on the lot on which you wish to bid.  You are then shown the lot in more detail and asked to type in your bid.  You are then shown your bid and asked to press confirm.  It is a very clear system, and This is done to ensure that you as the bidder are in no doubt as to what you are bidding for, and how much you are prepared to pay for it.  You are entering  a contract when you click Confirm that you have offered to pay this price should you win,and that you will pay this price within a certain time.

Because of this, and the fact that we have a responsibility to our charities to collect the funds, and to the donors of the items to ensure they are paid for and therefore, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, we will pursue payment for bids made in the above manner.  Bids cannot be retracted under any circumstances.

It is your responsibilty to keep your username and password secure and any bids placed under your username will be your responsibilty.

8.  You've asked for pre-authorisation of my credit card, even though I don't know if I'm going to win. Why is that?
If you are bidding for a time-critical item, e.g. tickets for an event the day after the auction ends, we may ask for pre-authorisation of the credit cards of everyone involved in the bidding. This is to ensure that the winning bidder pays right away so that we can despatch the tickets in time. We do not actually take the money from your card until you have won, but we need to ensure that, should you win, you will be able to pay us, and therefore we can pay the charity. Your card details are removed from our system as soon as the auction ends.
9.  There's a charity I support, but I can't see it on your site, and I think they might like to benefit from it. What can I do?
Just send us an email telling us about the charity you support and we will contact them to see if they would like to become a Partner Charity. There's no charge.
10.  Is Gift Aid claimable on the price I am paying for lots?
The Gift Aid rules are fairly complicated, and for detailed guidance please refer to However, in essence, Gift Aid is applicable to donations made by UK taxpayers, and means that the charities get a further 28% of anything you have donated. A 'donation' is when you give a sum of money and receive nothing in return. Thus, if you buy a lot from our site, as you are receiving an item, it is not a donation, unless: 
a) The item you have bought has a recognised Retail Selling Price, and you have paid over that amount. In this case, the amount you have paid over the RSP, will count as a donation, and we will be able to claim Gift Aid for the charity. For the avoidance of doubt, an RSP is a price in the public domain at which the item can be bought. Signed celebrity items, for example, are one-offs and do not have RSPs 
b) You decide to round up the purchase price at which you have won the auction with an extra amount as a donation. This pure donation is gift-aidable.
11.  Forgotten your password or you can't log in?
If you can't remember your password, click on 'Forgotten your password to re-submit and we will send you a new password in an email. If you still have trouble check you are using the right username and not trying to log in using your email address. If you're still stuck please email your request to

12.  Autobids - What are those?

These are maximum bids that you can leave so that you don't have to keep bidding.  You leave the most you would be prepared to pay for a lot and when someone bids against you Giving Lots automatically will bid for you up to that amount.  If you are finally outbid you will be sent an email to let you know.  Your maximum bid isn't shown on the site, and Giving Lots will only bid on your behalf if someone else bids against you.  The maximum bid box is just under the normal bid box.


13.  I've got another question.... none of the above answers it!
Please email at any time. You will receive an answer on the same day if your query is before 5pm, or the next day if after, Monday to Friday. 

Charity auction tips

1. Advertise the event items beforehand

Put descriptions or a short list in the invitations or emails before the event, enabling people to plan ahead of time to buy them at the real event. A great-looking catalogue will promote your great items to potential bidders. It helps produce word-of-mouth and enthusiasm for certain items well in advance of the auction.

2. Advertise your auction items at the event

It’s key to have a detailed list or descriptions of the things being auctioned – and on the tables at the event.

You need to make the most of every chance to play up these items before an enthusiastic crowd.

3. Best items are those with an experience or unique value

You want unique items that you can’t purchase anywhere else. Things of an “experience” can be invaluable – much better than something with a tangible cost.

4. Plea or gift and silent auctions after the live auction

People may not have given all their money at the live auction, and they can go and bid again on the file and give money to the plea. A pro auctioneer really can make all the difference.

5. Money over atmosphere

Bring up the lights and turn off the stage spotlights. I can’t tell you how many auctions I’ve been to where there was low or no lighting on the items.

What we cover

  • fundraising for charity
  • fundraising ideas for clubs
  • fundraising ideas
  • fundraising websites
  • fundraising online
  • fundraising ideas for kids
  • personal fundraising
  • fundraising event ideas

UK Charity fundraising and auction advice and information for charities to raise awareness and funds

Many thanks to Essex Interiors for their furniture and bed / mattress donations.

Contact us below