Accelevents is a fundraising application for online and text message-based silent auctions and raffles. Founded by Zach Hagopian and Jonathan Kazarian, they provide an alternative solution to traditional silent auctions and raffles by increasing simplicity and user engagement to raise revenue. The company creates fundraising experiences for their users, which includes fundraiser hosts and auction/raffle participants. They work with small fundraising groups and non-profit organizations.
“As event hosts ourselves, we know that the key to creating lasting relationships with donors is providing an unforgettable experience. Accelevents aims to make the giving process itself more memorable and engaging,” said co-founder and COO Zach Hagopian, who provides further insights into the business of online fundraising.
Zach Hagopian and Jonathan Kazarian
(Photo courtesy of Accelevents)
What made you decide to create this type of business?
We started our company as a result of a large Boston-based fundraiser my co-founder and I were organizing with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In our first year, we expected over 800 guests. Knowing that such a high volume would cause issues with our silent auction and raffle, we started searching for online alternatives. Unfortunately, everything we found was extremely expensive, meaning they wanted to take a large percentage of our proceeds.
Rather than give into these insane prices, we had a friend create a basic text message-bidding program to use at our event. It was a huge hit and resulted in our fundraiser donating over $65,000 to Dana-Farber. Following the success, Jonathan and I realized that we might have a business with this idea. We incorporated and have since built out our original program to be more robust and offer online bidding in addition to text message bidding.
Is it an app?
Our system is completely web-based. We purposely did not create an app, as we see this as a hassle and barrier for potential donors. The text message and online-based bidding mechanism offered by Accelevents is the heart of the application. For silent auctions, donors can submit their bids via text message or can access a custom fundraiser display page to submit their bids online before or during the event. For raffles, donors can purchase tickets from volunteers or purchase their tickets through the fundraiser display page. Ticket submission can then be completed via text message or online.
Silent auction bidders receive instant text message notifications if they have been outbid for an item, and raffle participants are notified before an event ends so that they can submit their remaining tickets. At the fundraiser’s conclusion, item winners are notified via text message. Our custom fundraiser pages can be shown throughout the fundraiser venue and online to engage and inform donors. These pages provide real-time updates of total proceeds raised, time remaining to bid or submit tickets and available items. Accelevents provides donors the ability to pay for the silent auction items or raffle tickets via credit card, resulting in a seamless payment process. Self-checkout minimizes purchase friction, further increasing ticket sales and user experience.
This article was written by Robin D. Everson of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.