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Case Study – Bid Beacon App

The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton


The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton was unsatisfied with silent auction participation in the breakfast fundraisers in the past, and were looking for a mobile silent auction app that would increase participation and money raised for their cause.


ARC delivered an app in under two months that saw about 120 guests register with the app, placing over 400 bids on 30 items, raising almost $8,000. It has since been used for hundreds of auctions, raising over a million dollars.


Since 1940, the Christmas Bureau has maintained one tradition – to provide a festive meal and coordination of Christmas giving to Edmontonians in need through the promotion of the spirit of Christmas caring and sharing in the City of Edmonton. The Christmas Bureau has kept pace with the changing face of Edmonton to ensure that our service is culturally inclusive encompassing all religions and traditions.

Business Case

ARC has a working relationship with Tom Sides of Dentons, Canada, who approached us about creating a solution to increase the effectiveness of the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton breakfast silent auction. In the past, the breakfast fundraiser saw most people sitting at their tables, not browsing and bidding on silent auction items.

Other solutions did exist in the marketplace but were cost prohibitive. The goal of this project was to create a self serve, easy to use silent auction mobile application that admins could use for setting up their auction, and guests could download and use to view and bid on auction items.

The challenge would be to provide real time updates and push notifications to let guests know when they have been outbid, and to handle a large volume of bidding as the end of the auction approached.

Business Solution

ARC researched other bidding platforms and worked with Tom and Megan to come up with the requirements of a new silent auction app. To keep costs for auction hosts as low as possible, a self-serve approach was chosen, with admins able to make other users admins to help out, and to be able to do everything from a phone.

We chose the Ionic Framework to facilitate fast development and cross platform support of the client, and Azure cloud hosting for easy scaling up of the back end as needed. The first version of the app was published on iTunes, Google Play, and web just 6 weeks after development started. ARC ran their own live fundraising auction using the app to test it out and raised over $4000 in the process.

Our development team was onsite for the Christmas Bureau fundraiser just in case, but the app functioned wonderfully, and the client was happy enough to use it again the following year. Recognizing the potential of the app, ARC continued to enhance the platform and market it across the globe.

Some of the more significant additions made include support for online payment by guests, with payment providers Stripe, Square and PayPal added. We’ve also added a few different item types: Buy Now (selling items for fixed price), Donations, and Live Items (promoted in app, auctioned off live, winner can then pay through app).

The app is available in iTunes, Google Play, and on the web. Visit the Bid Beacon website for more information.

"ARC's Bid Beacon mobile app provided a unique mechanism for us to maximize silent auction dollars while making it convenient for our supporters to participate. Great contribution from ARC."
Tom Sides, Partner
Dentons Canada LLP

Other Testimonials:

"We used Bid Beacon for a Gala and Celebrity Golf Tournament. The app was easy to use and our event attendees really enjoyed the convenience. Bid Beacon staff did a great job of answering any questions we had in a timely manner."
Lisa wolansky, EA/communications specialist
Children's austism services of edmonton
"If it weren't for Bid Beacon, we would have missed out on a successful fundraising opportunity! Bid Beacon is like getting all our invitees in one room, at one time, to hold a live auction, wherever we want! Many thanks, Bid Beacon! We'll definitely do this again!"
lorraine whaley, president
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