Bainbridge Island, WA (PRWEB) August 18, 2004
Arsetta, Inc. today announces the release of ReadySetAuction, the premier tool for planning, managing, and conducting benefit auction events. This Web-based auction management tool simplifies and streamlines the auction process for non-profit organizations such as schools, religious organizations, charitable organizations, youth sports leagues, and other community groups by providing complete, end-to-end auction management functionality.
ReadySetAuction is the first all-in-one solution that provides both complete event management functionality and fully integrated credit card processing at checkout. Furthermore, unlike other auction management software on the market, ReadySetAuction is completely Web-based, with no software to install. This means that all volunteers have access to up-to-the-minute auction data from anywhere at any time, using an Internet connected Macintosh or PC.
Because ReadySetAuction is a web application, auction management can finally become a true team effort. Multiple users can work in the system simultaneously, with no more scheduling hassles or passing the laptop from volunteer to volunteer. For example, the catalog committee can monitor donations and package items for the auction; the marketing committee can print and send out invitations and reminders via e-mail, and download and print the catalog; and guests can purchase event tickets by following a link on the e-mail invitation. Donors can even submit donations via the online procurement form.
Specifically geared toward non-profit groups, ReadySetAuction is also an extremely affordable solution. Its flexible, subscription-based pricing makes the service attractive to non-profit organizations of any size.
ReadySetAuction provides full-fledged auction management functionality from any Internet connection. Anyone who has previously conducted an auction or is planning one for the first time will immediately recognize the value of ReadySetAuctionÂs powerful features:
*Administrative capability that enables the Auction Chair (or another designated committee member) to customize her organizationÂs event site by defining the committees, creating the list of volunteers and establishing their access levels to the system, setting up a merchant account in order to accept credit cards for ticket sales and at check out, setting goals and establishing the live and silent auction section names and times.
- The ability to track potential entertainers, venues, caterers, and auctioneers. This information, like all ReadySetAuction data, is preserved after the auction is long finished so that the organization's subsequent auction committee doesn't have to start from scratch.
- Easy donation entry and tracking, including an online procurement form from which donors may submit their donations, thus greatly reducing data entry work for the volunteers.
- Guest management and online ticket sales and pre-registration.
- Packaging functionality making it easy for committee members to combine donations into saleable auction units.
- Instant catalog creation with no extra data entry or manual formatting required. ReadySetAuction compiles all the data entered throughout the setup and procurement process so that creating the procurement forms, catalog, bid sheets, gift certificates, invitations, thank-you notes, and other important printed materials becomes a simple matter of clicking a button. All materials are available for download to users' computers in printer-ready rich-text-format (.rtf) which can be opened in MicrosoftÂ® Word.
- Registration and check-in capability for the event itself.
- Real-time processing of winning bids during the event, with instant access to the running total and winners.
- Full-fledged, quick checkout capability that includes credit card processing and receipt creation.
- Instant post-auction thank you letter and receipt generation for the donors, guests and volunteers.
- A host of pre- and post-auction reports to help sort guests, donations, auction packages and sales. This helps organizations map their successes and plan for future events.
With all this rich, complex functionality, ReadySetAuction's intuitive design also makes auction management easy both for those who are new to auctions and those who don't have a lot of computer experience. A colorful, tab-based design guides users through the process step-by-step while providing the flexibility to jump from stage to stage, depending on how the volunteer staff wants to work. In addition, along the way, users will find answers to many common questions both about using the product and conducting an auction.
ReadySetAuction is the brainchild of Sam and Lisa Weiss of Bainbridge Island, WA, a community-minded couple with first-hand experience with the challenges involved in non-profit fund-raising. As parents committed to public education, the Weiss's found themselves continually frustrated by dwindling state and federal funding for public schools and began looking for ways to help.
Evaluating the challenge of school fund-raising unearthed the even broader realization: In today's economic climate of budget cuts and belt-tightening, grass-roots fundraising efforts in the form of benefit auctions were an ever-increasing, critical source of income for all non-profits, not just schools. But while these auctions had the power to make or break an organization's operating budget, the events were often logistical nightmares for those who volunteered to run them.
For starters, the process was often disorganized and stressful. Because of the high entry cost of auction management software, many groups used a hodgepodge of self-developed tools like spreadsheets and handwritten lists combined with many time-consuming meetings. When the group did purchase software, it resided on a single computer, meaning either one poor soul shouldered the entire burden of data entry or the team had to pass the computer around.
Hard-working volunteers, whose participation created the foundation for the event, easily fell victim to burnout and failed to show up for the following year's planning meetings. Loss of that continuity and institutional memory meant that the new group of volunteers had to start from scratch, resulting in a less efficiently run event and a lower bottom line.
In co-founding Arsetta, the Weiss's aimed to channel their complementary fundraising and software development expertise to create a new kind of tool that would ease these auction management pains by making the process simple, affordable, and easy for multiple volunteers to use, while at the same time serving as a powerful tracking and database system that preserved each organization's data, or institutional memory, from year to year.
Back up to Fall of 2001, when the light bulb first went on. Like most good ideas, says Lisa Weiss, ReadySetAuction was born out of necessity. Lisa recalls, "As PTO president of my children's public elementary school, I was heavily involved in the school's first benefit auction. From the start, I realized the need for a computer database to help organize and track donations. So, having had several years' experience working with a variety of database programs, I decided to develop a database for that purpose."
As the weeks passed, the databaseÂs capabilities grew to include donor tracking, guest tracking and registration, report printing, and perhaps most importantly, catalog and auction form production with just the press of a button. Says Lisa, "The team of auction volunteers was thrilled Â everyoneÂs job was much easier than originally anticipated."
As the database evolved, it was Sam who recognized that with all the critical information in one place, the database could also be the perfect tool to streamline checkout. As most people who have attended or organized an auction know, checkout can be stressful, frustrating, and time-consuming for both the auction workers and guests.
"Yet with checkout functionality in place at our school's auction," Lisa recalls, "Checkout flew. Lines were non-existent, guests were ecstatic, and the team of volunteers was again thrilled." The proceeds from that first auction exceeded everyone's expectations. And what's more, she adds, "The next year, with the help of the same database, auction proceeds doubled."
The database provided a great solution with just one major drawback: only Lisa had access to it since it resided on her desktop computer. From there sprung the idea for ReadySetAuction: community fund-raising taken to a whole new level of ease and accessibility on the World Wide Web.
Before officially releasing the first version of ReadySetAuction, Arsetta put the product through extensive beta testing with organizations that were staging actual auctions. Feedback indicated that ReadySetAuction hit the mark:
ÂThis yearÂs auction event was so much easier to organize, run, and wrap up than it has been in the past. Each of my volunteers was able to work from her home or office, whenever she found time. And since we all had up-to-the-minute access to the auction data, we didnÂt have to schedule as many meetings.Â
ÂReadySetAuction is a necessity for you and your volunteers. Creating the auction catalog came down to a simple mouse click. We can't wait to use it again next year!Â
ÂEach guest left with an accurate, detailed receipt in hand and a big smile. I was smiling too because at the end of the night I instantly printed reports with exactly what each guest had spent on which items. I even knew who left without checking out, and who forgot to pick up their purchases. This was the easiest job IÂve had as PTO Treasurer all year!Â
"Where have you been my whole life! This is simply amazing!"
Lisa Weiss, for her part, is thrilled with the feedback. "I love hearing from our customers that the process of organizing and conducting their auctions is a pleasure with ReadySetAuction. They donÂt experience burnout and actually look forward to becoming involved again in their next yearÂs auction."
About Arsetta, Inc.
Arsetta, Inc. was founded in 2003 by Sam and Lisa Weiss. The company's mission is to provide affordable, enterprise-class solutions to non-profit organizations. The couple developed ReadySetAuction around a simple vision: to make it easier for non-profit organizations to raise the funds they need to fulfill their missions.
Sam and Lisa are the dedicated parents of two school-age children. Sam has over 20 years experience in the computer industry, including senior software engineering positions at Apple Computer, Inc. and Adobe Systems, Inc., as well as Director of Engineering at Qpass, an Internet commerce software development company. Lisa was President of Purple Door Creative, LLC, a marketing and design consulting firm, and held the position of Marketing Publications Manager for Asante Technologies, a San Jose, CA-based networking solutions company. In addition to acting as PTO President for her children's school, Lisa has been an active fundraising volunteer with her local community's School Trust and several other community non-profit organizations.
For more information:
Press and interested customers can get more information about ReadySetAuction by visiting http://www.ReadySetAuction.com or calling toll-free at 1-877-RSA-2220.
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