Introduction

What is Gala Assist

Gala Assist is a combination of 2 things...
A web based admin Dashboard and an easy to use iPad app

  • With the web dashboard you can get started early. Enter your guest information, Enter your auction items. Customize and preview the bid sheets, website, and email receipts with your logo and text... You get the point.
  • On the day of your event use the custom iPad application to check guests in. Enter your auction results, and check guests out with the built in credit card readers, check , or cash. It is seriously simple, and seriously fast

Tip

This guide is meant to give you answers to many of the questions you may have when using the application. We have tried to be as thorough as possible but if you have any questions please don't hesitate to Contact Us

The Online Admin Dashboard

Where to start...

Once you have your username and password you are ready to log in to the admin dashboard. This is where you do all the preparation for the event. Adding all your guests, auction items, and customizing your communications. Here you can also preview all the printed materials like bid sheets, and the customized auction website.

The best place to get started is on the page you land on when logging in. The dashboard has a few simple settings that need to be changed only once. These tasks can be completed quickly and easily.

The Dashboard

After logging in you will be redirected to your dashboard.
The dashboard has some key stats about your event including:

  • The event date
  • The number of guests currently added to your event
  • The number of auction items currently added to your event
  • A place to upload your logo
  • A place to enter the phone number to receive SMS alerts when a VIP checks in
  • The link to your auction website and a button to email your guests with the link.
  • A pre-event check list

Here are some details about each of these

Upload your logo

On the dashboard you will see a section to choose a file to upload. Uploading your logo will replace the default image with your custom image in several places including:

  • Bid Sheets
  • The website of auction items sent to your guests
  • All email communications sent to your guests

Warning

If you do not change the logo the default Gala Assist icon will be used

Set the phone number to be used for VIP SMS Messages

On the dashboard you will also see a section to enter a SMS number to receive VIP alerts. If no number is entered then no VIP alerts will be sent. We will cover how to mark a guest as a VIP in the adding a guest section.

The link to your auction website

On the dashboard you will also see a link to your customized auction website. There is also a button that will send the link to all of your guests currently in the guest list.

How the Send Button Works

Clicking the link will only allow you to send the email to each guest once. This makes it possible to add some guests, send the link and a few days later go back and add more guests and send the link again to the new guests. Of course you can always send the link after you have added all of your guests.

The Pre-event Checklist

At the bottom of the dashboard page is the pre-event checklist section. Here you will find some very helpful links.

  • Logo Check
  • VIP SMS Number Check
  • Minimum Bid & Bid Increments Check
  • A link to download and print your bid sheets
  • A link to download and print a backup paper guest list
  • A link to download and print the table and bidder card templates

Lets go into a bit more detail about each of these

Logo Check

The logo check will show an error or a checkmark depending on if you have uploaded your events logo. If you have an error symbol see the section on how to upload a logo

VIP SMS Number Check

The VIP SMS check will show an error or a checkmark depending on if you have added a phone number to receive SMS notifications for VIP check-ins. If you have an error symbol see the section on how to add a VIP SMS phone number

Minimum Bid & Bid Increments Check

The Minimum Bid & Bid Increments check will show an error or a checkmark depending on if you have any auction items missing required fields. These fields are the minimum bid field and the bid increment field. Without these two fields filled in your bid sheet for this item will be useless. If you have an error symbol we will cover how to fix this in the Adding and Editing Items sections.

Bid Sheets

This is just another place to find the link to download and print your paper bid sheets. The other location is located in the main navigation

Paper Guest List

We want to make sure you are prepared for anything so here is where you find the link to download a CSV/Spreadsheet file of all your guests

Table & Bidder Card Template

The normal flow of the check in process is a guest will walk up to your check in table and give you their last name. You find the guest in the iPad application and click their name. This is where you verify you have correct information and once that is done you give them their bidder number and table number. Most guests are not going to remember these numbers so the standard way of doing this is by handing them a paper with the two numbers clearly marked. You can of course create your own template but we have included a very clean and modern template that you can use. Simply print the number of pages you need and after checking the guest in fill in the two numbers and hand them the card.

Guests

It is easy to see the list of guests, add guests, edit guest information and remove guests on the website. After logging in you are taken to your dashboard. On the left side of the screen is the main navigation links. Simply click "Guests"

On the main guests page there are a few things to note:

  • The add guest button
  • The guest search box
  • The guest list
  • The send verification emails button

Lets go into a bit more detail about each of these

The Add Guest Button

This is of course the button you press to add a new guest

The Guest Search Box

Located directly below the add guest button you will find the guest search box. It's exactly what you think it is. When you have a bunch of guests you can start typing in that box to see the results in the table.

How does the search work

The search box searches through everything, first name, last name , address. you name it...Just start typing

The Guest List

Here is a list of all your guests. They are sorted alphabetically by last name

Tip

If you want to sort the guests by a different criteria it couldn't be easier. Just click on the heading of the row you want to use for sorting. For example if you want to sort by bidder number then click the "Bidder #" heading at the top of the list.

The Send Verification Email Button

Clicking this button will send an email to all of your guests that have an email address entered. This email allows the guest to update and verify their information and save it to your database of guests. This is a handy way to allow your guests to ensure you have the most up to date information

A few things to note about this button

  • The email will only be sent to the guest once no matter how many times you press the button.
  • You should upload your logo before sending this email so the branding on the email is consistent with your event.
  • There is another way to resend this verification email that will be covered in the "Editing A Guest" Section

Adding Guests

To add a guest navigate to the "Guests" page. At the top click on the "Add Guest" button.

You will be taken to the Add A Guest Form. This is where you enter the information you have for this guest including some required fields

  • Table Number
  • First Name *required
  • Last Name *required
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip
  • Email
  • Phone
  • VIP?

Tip

There is one important field missing from this form....The bidder number. This is because it is so very important that no two guests have the same bidder number that we have taken it out of your hands...The application will assign the bidder number once the guest is saved.

Here is a bit more information on some of these fields

Table Number

If you know the table number go ahead and enter it. All this information can be changed later. If not that is fine too. We can add it later

First & Last Name

These are the only 2 required fields.

VIP?

If you would like to receive SMS alerts when this guest checks in mark the VIP Status of this guest to "yes"

Remember

You must enter a phone number for VIP SMS alerts on the dashboard before this will work

Saving the Guest

once you are satisfied with the information you have entered for the guest click the "Add Guest button at the bottom of the form. This will save the guest and return you to the full guest list.

Trouble Saving?

If you can not press the Add Guest Button it is because you do not have a valid First and Last Name entered in the form.

Editing Guests

To edit a guest simply navigate to the "Guests Page. Find the guest in the list that you want to edit and click the name highlighted in green

This will take you to the form used to add the guest with the information you entered already filled out. Simply update the information and click the "Update Guest" button

Here is some information on the other sections on this page

Send Verification Email Button

As discussed earlier in the Guests section this button will resend the email to your guest to allow them to update their own information.

Email Etiquette

This button does not check if the guest has already been emailed so it is wise to use this button sparingly. You do not want to make your guests angry by overloading them with emails. An example of a good time to use this button is if the guest has given you a new email address you have entered the new email, saved the guest and would like to resend the email.

Resend Email Receipt Button

This button can be used after the event is over to resend an email receipt of all the auction items won by this guest

Warning About This Button

This does not check that the guest has won any items so only use this button if the guest contacts you to let you know they did not receive the email receipt.

Removing Guests

To remove a guest go to the "Guests" page and click on the name of the guest you would like to remove. The edit guest page will be displayed. Above the form there is a "Delete Guest" button. Click this button and the guest will be deleted and you will be returned to the full guest list.

Warning

Deleting a guest can not be undone

Auction Items

To see a list of all your auction items you can click the "Items" link on the main navigation. This will take you to the Auction Items main page. Here are the sections you will find on this main Auction Items page.

  • The "Add Item" button
  • The Search Items Box
  • The Auction Item List

Here is a little more about each of these

Add Item Button

This is of course the button you press to add an auction item.

The Item Search Box

Located directly below the Add Item Button and above the items list is the box used to search the auction items. This will help you filter a large list of auction items

Tip

Search any way you like. It will search the item name, description, or item number. Just start typing

The Auction Item List

The auction item list displays all the items you have entered for your event sorted by item number

Tip

If you want to sort the items by a different criteria just click on the heading of the row you would like to sort by. For example if you want the item names alphabetically just click the "Item Name" column heading

Warning

Any items with a red background color indicate to you that the minimum bid and/or bid increment has not been set for this item. This will render the bid sheet for this item useless.

Adding Auction Items

To add auction items click on the "Add Item" button on the items main page. This takes you to a page where you can fill out the item information. The fields are listed below.

  • Item Name
  • Category
  • Description
  • Minimum Bid
  • Bid Increment
  • Item Image

Let's go into a little more detail about these fields

Item Name

The name of the item. Usually a short title is best because this title will be used at the top of bid sheets and under the pictures on the auction website. This is the only required field

Category

You can use this however you like. It is mostly used to filter the main items page to group similar items for browsing. Examples could include things like "Art", "Trips" or even more broad such as "Silent Auction" or "Live Auction"

Description

This is a more detailed description of the auction item. It is used on the website of auction images as well as on the bid sheets. Recommended length is a couple of sentences.

Minimum Bid & Bid Increment

The minimum bid is the smallest amount of money that you would sell this auction item for. The bid increment is how many dollars you want to increase by each bid. These numbers are used heavily by the bid sheets to automatically fill out the bid sheets for each item

Warning

If these two fields are left blank the whole item will be marked in red to indicate that the bid sheet will not be useful until the numbers are entered.

Item Image

You can upload an image of the item that will be used on the website of auction images that you send to your guests. If no image is uploaded a default image will be used in its place.

Note

There is a very important field missing from the item form. This is the item number field. It is so very important that no two items have the same item number hat we have taken it out of your hands. The application will add the item number automatically as soon as you save it.

Saving the Item

When you are satisfied with all the information you have entered, simply press the "Save Item" button. You will be returned to the full list of auction items

Editing Auction Items

To edit an item simply click on the item name in the full list of auction items. Update the information in the fields and click the "Update Item" button

Removing Auction Items

To remove an item simply click on the name of the item in the full auction item list and click the "Remove Item" button at the top of the page.

Warning

Removing an item can not be undone

Bid Sheets

The application will make your bid sheets for you automatically. The bid sheets will have your logo, the item name, item number, and item description at the top. Under this information are lines pre-filled with the next bid price so your guests will only need to write their bidder number next to the price they want to bid.

Tip

Your bid sheets can contain two or three columns of bid increments. To choose one please send us an email and let us know your preference

The iPad Application

As a part of the Gala Assist Service we provide 4 iPads with the Gala Assist app installed. These iPads will be shipped to your location the Monday before your event. You must return the iPads within 7 business days using the prepaid return shipping label included in the box. Fees for late returns can be found on the pricing section of the website.

The iPad app is simple and easy to use. On the day of the event you will no longer use the web dashboard, you will switch to the iPad app. The iPad application allows you to check in guests, edit and add new guest information. Enter auction bid results. Send Auction winners an SMS alert. Check Guests out including taking payments with credit card, check, or cash.

Below we will discuss the sections of the application and how to use them.

The iPad Dashboard Screen

After logging into the application using the same username and password you used for the website you will be taken to the dashboard screen. This screen has a few different sections.

  • Check In Status
  • Unwon Items
  • Revenue

Below we will discuss these sections in a little more detail

Check In Status

The very first thing you will see on the dashboard is a pie chart of your check in status. This will show the number of guests left to check in in red and if the green section is big enough the number of guests that have checked in.

Below the pie chart you will see the percentage of guests that have checked in.

Unwon Items

Below the check in status section is the unwon items button.

Pressing this button will take you to a list of all the items that have not been marked as won by one of your guests.

Note

This screen will show all of your auction items as unwon until you start entering auction results.

Revenue

The final section of the dashboard shows your total revenue at the moment. It also displays the number of items paid for out of the number of items won. For example...36 of 87 won items have been paid for.

This gives you a clue how much further you have to go on checking out guests.

Check In Screen

In the top left of the iPad application is a button that takes you to the navigation of the application.

The second item in the navigation is the Check In section. Tapping on this item takes you to the main check in screen.

This is the screen you will go to when you would like to...

  • Check In Guests
  • Edit Guest Information
  • Add A Guest at the Door

Below we will discuss these items in more detail

Checking In A Guest

Now that you are on the check in screen you are ready to start checking in guests

At the top of the guest list is a search box. This is the fastest way to search through the guests and find the guest you are looking for.

There is also a button to filter the guests to only show the guests that have not yet checked in.

When you have found the guest that you would like to check in, simply click the guests name in the list. This will take you to the details for this guest.

At this point you will ask the guest to confirm that you have the correct information and/or add missing information. If you would like to edit the information see the Editing A Guest section below.

Warning

At a minimum you will want to get the guests mobile phone number and email address.

If you do not have the mobile number you will not be able to notify them they have won auction items with the automatic SMS alerts. Similarly you will need their email address to send them a receipt later if they have won auction items.

Once you are satisfied with the information you have for this guest, Write the bidder number and table number on a table and bidder card and hand it to your guest. Then press the Check In Button.

This will check in the guest and return you to the main screen where you can repeat the process for the next guest.

Note

If the guest was marked as a VIP then the VIP alert will be sent automatically to the VIP SMS number you entered on the web dashboard.

Editing A Guests Information

When you click on a guest in the guest list to check them in it is important to verify you have the correct information. If the guest would like you to modify the information it is simple and fast to do so within the iPad application.

At the top right of the guests information detail screen you will see an edit button.

Tap the Edit button to enter the guest information edit mode.

You will be asked to edit the information in three different sections.

  • The guests first and last name
  • The guests address
  • The guests email, phone, and table number

Tip

When inputting the guests address you can of course type it all out but there is a much faster and much more accurate way.

When you get to the address section while editing a guest click on the search icon in the top right.

Now you can simply start typing the guests address and the application uses Google to try to autocomplete the information for you. When you see the address in the list that matches what you are entering, simply click it and you will be returned to the address edit section with the information filled out.

You can now continue to the next step of editing the guest by clicking the next button in the top right of the screen

Note

After you complete the three steps of editing a guest you are taken to the detail screen. This is where you fill out the table and bidder card for your guest and hand it to them. The guest has already been checked in automatically by the app so you simply need to press "Done" at the top right to return to the full guest list.

Adding A Guest at the Door

Sometimes you don't have all the guests that will be attending before the event starts

You may have an organization that has purchased an entire table and not provided the guests that will be at the table.

This is where you will add the guest at the door.

To add a guest at the door simply click the "+" button at the top right of the main guest list screen. This will take you to the Adding a guest section. It is a three step process just like editing a guest. You will enter the guests first and last name, address, email, phone, and table number. The only enforced requirements are the First and Last name but you should try to get at a minimum the mobile phone number and email address as well.

Note

After entering the guests name you are presented with the address search screen. Simply start typing an address to use Google autocomplete to find the desired location. You can at any time press cancel if you do not want to enter an address or click on one of the autocomplete results to fill in the address fields automatically.

Note

After you complete the three steps of adding a guest you are taken to the detail screen. This is where you fill out the table and bidder card for your guest and hand it to them. The guest has already been checked in automatically by the app so you simply need to press "Done" at the top right to return to the full guest list.

Auction Results Entry

When you close sections of an auction or when you close the auction completely, you will need to enter who won each item and how much they bid on that item.

This can be a tedious process but the iPad application makes short work of it.

The first step is to collect all the bid sheets of the items that are now closed for bidding

Hand the bid sheets to your event staff and on the main navigation of the iPad application click on "Auction Entry"

This takes you to the auction results entry mode. It has been designed to make entering results quick and easy. It is also a three step process involving, entering the item number at the top right of the bid sheet,. Entering the winning bidder number, and finally the price next to the winning bidder number. Then you press save which will store this result for that item. The application saves the result and takes you back to the beginning of the process so you can start on the next item. Repeat these steps for each bid sheet.

Tip

If you make a mistake entering the information simply do that item again with the correct information. Auction items can only have one winner so repeating the process with the correct information will overwrite the mistake you made earlier.

SMS Notifications

After you have entered all auction results into the application you are ready to start checking out your guests. The first step in this process is to let your guests know if they have won any auction items.

In the main navigation of the iPad application click the "SMS Notifications" item.

Here you will find a button that will send a text message (SMS) alert to any guest that has won an auction item assuming you have a valid mobile phone number for that guest in the application.

Note

If you close your auction in sections note that you can return to this screen and press the button again to send out more SMS alerts. The application will only send SMS alerts to guests that have not yet received an alert so you do not need to worry about sending too many alerts to any one guest.

Check Out & Payments

After you send the SMS notifications you should be prepared to start checking out guests.

In the main navigation of the application click on the "Check Out" item.

This will present you with a list of all your guests much like the check in section. There is the same search bar at the top that allows you to search for guests by first name, last name, or bidder number. Simply start typing and the list will be narrowed down to the guests that match your search.

Check Out Details

When you find the guest in the list that is ready to check out simply click on the guests name.

This will take you to a screen where you can see all the items won by this guest, the bid for each item, and the total due. If the guest has items that have not yet been paid for you will also see a total amount due at the bottom of the list. If the guest has multiple items you may have to scroll down the list to see the total amount due.

If the guest has items not yet paid for you will also see three buttons at the bottom of the screen. "Credit Card", "Check", and "Cash".

Choose the payment method from the three buttons and follow the steps on screen to take the payment.

Note

When you choose "Credit Card" the credit card reader should already be plugged into the headphone jack. The text on the Credit Card screen will let you know when the card is ready to swipe.

If you choose "Check", enter the check number in the text box to help keep records of payment details.

Note

If a guest has already paid for some items there will be a "Paid" indication stamp to the right of the items that have been paid for. The total due label DOES show the correct amount due.

Details on taking payments can be found in the "Accepting Payments" section below

Removing Won Items

If for some reason the guest informs you that they did not bid on one of the items they have won you can remove this item from the guests list of won items.

This will alter the total amount due for this guest

Warning

Removing an item from a guest will place the item in the unwon items section. The best way to handle this is to find the bid sheet for this item and enter the next highest bidder information in the "Auction Entry" section.

To remove an item from a guest at check out simply swipe the item from right to left and hit the delete button.

Accepting Payments

There are three payment types accepted from within the application

  • Credit Card
  • Check
  • Cash

Below are some details about each payment type.

Credit Card Payments

When a guest has items they have won but have not yet paid for, there will be three buttons at the bottom of the check out detail screen. These buttons are the payment methods available for the guest. "Credit Card" , "Check", and "Cash".

This section will focus on credit card payments.

All major forms of credit cards are accepted including...

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • JCB
  • Discover
  • Diners Club

Note

During the check out process you should leave the credit card readers plugged in at all times. This will eliminate any delay and help the check out process be quick and easy

When you click the "Credit Card" button the text on the screen will let you know when the reader is ready for you to swipe the card.

Simply swipe the card and the application will fill in the required credit card information. Now you can press the "Pay with Credit Card" button.

If the transaction was successful the iPad application will let you know with a notification on the screen and you will be returned to the main check out screen.

Check Payments

When you choose the "Check" button you will be presented with the check payment screen. Simply enter the check number in the text box and press the "Pay with Check". button.

The transaction is recorded and the items are marked as paid.

The application will let you know that the transaction is complete and return you to the main check out screen

Cash Payments

When you choose the "Cash" button you will be presented with the cash payment screen. Simply press the "Pay with Cash". button.

The transaction is recorded and the items are marked as paid.

The application will let you know that the transaction is complete and return you to the main check out screen

Email Receipts

After a successful transaction a receipt of the transaction will automatically be emailed to the email address on file for that guest.

If you need to resend the email receipt later you can see the "Resending Email Receipts" section above

Issue A Refund

You can refund the payment for a guest by logging into your Stripe account and finding the transaction you would like to refund.

If you need help refunding a transaction please let us know and we can do this for you.

Help is Always Available

If there is anything we can do to help you further please don't hesitate to Contact Us

Good luck on your event!