How we created a target-exceeding charity auction site for The Back Up Trust in just 4 days

Delivering fundraising success through clever customisation and design of Raisely


UK-based spinal injury charity, The Back-Up Trust, wanted to run an online auction of celebrity’s shoes. They called this brilliant idea ‘Heels for Wheels’ and asked us if we could help set up the website for the campaign.

Back Up had previously used an online auction site that relied on them sending direct links to the lots on offer to their audience, which didn’t bring any organic attention to the auction or the lots, so visibility was limited. To solve this problem, they decided to use eBay to extend their reach, but that wouldn’t give the auction its own microsite and would mean giving up the control of their brand across the auction lots.

Additionally, Back Up had a very tight timescale of 1½ weeks to get the site set up before they needed to put it live and start generating interest.

Heels for Wheels auction homepage


Back Up had already run one successful campaign through Raisely, and liked the level of control this gave their events team, but didn’t know how to use the platform to create the auction microsite they had in mind. They reached out to a number of Raisely partners and chose SystemSeed to help them with this project because we responded quickly and focused immediately on what could be achieved, whereas others had only told them what couldn’t be done.

We were so impressed that we could get something up and running so quickly. It was really reassuring to see the site develop so fast, and to get usable results at every stage of the project

Emma Sargent
Events & Challenges Manager, The Back Up Trust

Connecting Raisely to eBay

We realized that we could customize Raisely to act as a hub for the Heels for Wheels auction, with a fully branded homepage showing all of the different lots on offer. 

Individual auction lot page for Jonathan Ross

It was important that Back Up's team be able to add and amend content themselves, rather than hard-coding the lots. To make that happen we took the existing Raisely supporter-profile functionality and adapted it to show a full homepage of celebrities and their shoes, with each thumbnail image opening an individual page for that specific lot.

Easy navigation

By the end of the campaign, Heels for Wheels had 67 different lots on offer (including a whole rugby team!). To make it easier for site visitors to browse the site, we created a custom component of clickable tags at the top of the page. 

We also styled the thumbnails on the auction homepage and the lot pages themselves for maximum impact and minimum distract them. This helped guide site visitors through the pages and encouraged them to either bid on a lot or - before the lots went live on eBay - sign up to be notified when the auction went live.

Auction lot page for Kylie's shoes which sold for £1,605.55

Custom reminder forms

Reminder forms on each lot page are another custom component that we created just for The Back Up Trust. In fact, this was an extra function that we managed to squeeze into this very short and tight project schedule, which delighted Back Up’s team and allowed us to deliver extra value for this brilliant charity. 

The reminder forms meant that Back Up could promote the auction before bidding opened, and bring interested users back to the site at the right time. It worked too! Kylie Minogue’s shoes sold for a whopping £1,605.55 to a person who registered for a reminder.


Short timescale

This project was short and sweet, but not without its challenges - including that short timescale! When Back Up came to us, they only had a week and a half before their site needed to go live.

Because we use a very focused Agile approach we were able to work with the trust to identify exactly what they needed and prioritize our deliverables in our very first meeting. In fact, Sophie Griffiths, Events & Challenges Assistant said that our initial call with them ‘was the most effective kick-off call I’ve ever had’. 

Client capacity

Like many charities, Back Up is a lean organization. They only have three people on their busy events and challenges team, so we had to be very conscious of their time and ability to manage the campaign site we created for them. It had to be easy and need no additional coding from them. We achieved this in large part due to Raisely’s excellent admin experience and the fact that we could create reusable template elements that the team could pick up and use themselves.

We loved working with SystemSeed. We were kept in the loop every step of the project and were always told what was possible - not what couldn’t be done

Emma Sargent
Events & Challenges Manager, Back Up Trust


Back Up were very happy with the success of their auction. In total, they had 67 celebrity shoe donations and raised over £28,500, which was more than their target for the campaign.

Over 70% of the auction winners were new contacts to Back Up, and so the campaign was also successful in reaching a wider audience and connecting new donors. 

'We were so impressed that we could get something up and running so quickly. It was really reassuring to see the site develop so fast, and to get usable results at every stage of the project', said Emma Sargent, Events & Challenges Manager. 'We loved working with SystemSeed. We were kept in the loop every step of the project and were always told what was possible - not what couldn’t be done'.

The project was delivered in just four days - well ahead of even the short 1.5 week deadline that Back Up gave us at the outset. Emma and Sophie told us that they loved our Agile approach, and being in constant contact through daily standup calls and a dedicated Slack channel.

Back Up received good feedback from the celebrities involved, and even though some of the shoe donors signed up at the last minute, the site we created allowed the Back Up team to keep adding lots right up until bidding opened.

About The Back Up Trust:

Back Up is a national charity at the forefront of helping people adjust positively to spinal cord injury. Each year, they reach people across the country through their wheelchair skills training, accredited mentoring service, activity courses, and support returning to work or education. Their award-winning services challenge perceptions of what’s possible and give people the skills and confidence to get back up to living life to the full.

Learn more at

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