The show must go on! Kilbreath Auctions virtual and hybrid events can be a live show. There is no reason we can’t recreate the magic of your in-person event in this new format.
Or, how about you imagine your event as a blank canvas? You can create your new event any way you want!
PHOTO FROM A RECENT VIRTUAL AUCTION
Some things to think about when planning your virtual or hybrid event:
– This is an opportunity to re-create your event. You can do whatever you want. There is certainly a format set up for in-person events, but these hybrid and virtual events are so new, there is truly no right way to do it – there is just your way to do it!
– We will advise you with best practices based on our research, expertise and experience, but let’s think outside the box. Make it fun, make it unique, and most importantly make your organization’s mission the focus of your event.
– Entertain, engage, fundraise!
– You have an opportunity to get more eyes on your organization, and its mission.
– All of our events have had more potential donors watching then had attended their previous in-person event.
– Attention spans are SHORTER during a live stream then they are in-person. Let’s create an entertaining, compelling and concise program that: 1) gets to the point, 2) has some fun, 3) gets people out within 30-55 minutes, 4) tells the story of your organization, 5) and where the money is going.
– We can do this by creating a show flow together – and rehearsing.
– Marketing is more important than ever. Your guests and donors need to know how to bid, where to log-on, what is being sold, and why they need to watch your event. You need someone dedicated to social media to continue driving home that message.
THE LIVE SHOW:
– We think you should have a co-host. That person can be someone from our organization or someone from yours. Think of this person as the item reader, and it gives your auctioneer/event host someone to play off of.
– The Special Appeal or Fund-A-Need should come early in the live show, because that is when we have the most people watching – and we have their attention.
– You need to create a power point for the hosts to use while selling your auction items. Also, include additional slides with sponsors, and “how-to-bid” messages.
– We need to incorporate a few interactions into the show. Messages from donors, sponsors, board members, whomever, just like you normally would at your in-person event. The key, as I said above, is keeping the program focused.
– Create a sense of community with house parties (if allowed,) zoom parties, and pre-recorded messages.
– There are several different ways to sell live items, we help determine which way is best for you.
Nobody wished for a pandemic, but this journey (and new part of our business) has been a wonderful silver lining to a dark time.
Kilbreath Auctions, Adavanza, Haymaker Media, & Jessica Self have spent the past few months diving into the world of live stream fundraisers. The cost is much lower than renting a facility and it’s easier for people to attend. Non-profits are left with more money in their pocket and some great marketing collateral to use in the future.
We put together the below series to help nonprofits understand what they need in order to pull off a successful event. Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to learn more. It’s a brave new world and we’d be happy to share what we’ve learned.
COVID-19 has brought many challenges – especially to our fundraising community. Now more than ever our schools and other non-profit organizations need a platform to continue to raise money.
Since the end of February, when we all started having to think about this reality. We at Kilbreath Auctions have been studying and researching all sorts of ways to continue raising money for great organizations. There are many options and so many different ways to do it. We will continue perfecting this format until we are back on stage in front of your guests.
We can do these events from anywhere… even my living room, as pictured here:
A VIRTUAL LIVE AUCTION is easier than you think! We are able to combine all of the fun elements of your in-person event and people can watch and donate from anywhere!
A HYBRID AUCTION combines both an in-person gathering for those able, and a virtual component for those who don’t feel comfortable attending an event, but still want to be part of the live event magic. This way still allows for all of your guests and donors to enjoy the event.
Introducing “The LIVESTREAM Team!”
Kilbreath Auctions has teamed with Haymaker Media, Adavanza and Jessica Self LLC to bring you an affordable mobile and easy way to bring a broadcast quality production to your guests from the comfort of their homes.
Fundraising, Social Media, Technology and Production experts are ready to take your virtual event to the next level! We will work with you every step of the way to make this the best event possible – and raise the most possible money for your group.
Mobile virtual auctions are here now, and people are raising money – and in a lot of cases more money then in their in-person live auctions the year before.
Hybrid auctions are the future. We have so many planned for Summer & Fall 2020, and this team of experts is ready for hybrid events. We have a variety of ideas and ways to make your event stand-out making people want to watch and be a part of it.
CONTACT THE LIVESTREAM TEAM: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the end of February when we all started having to think about this reality, I have been studying and researching all sorts of ways to continue raising money for you all. There are so many different options, and so many different ways to do it. I will continue perfecting this format until we are back on stage in front of your guests.
Picture of our home studio….
Hopefully you had a chance to tune in for our virtual event Friday night. We learned a lot! I will detail some thoughts below, based on some questions I have been receiving from clients.
REVIEW OF MAY 1 VIRTUAL EVENT
– I am excited, because the client is ecstatic. We raised more money for the SnoValley Chamber this year, than during our in-person event in 2019, and surpassed their realistic goal they had set for the evening.
– We had 1,600 pop in to watch the show on Facebook. We had 168 bidders log in. And although some things didn’t sell during our live show they did end up selling once everything was closed at 9p. All items (except for the 2 high priced trips) sold at or above value.
– Honestly, Chamber organizations are hard sells even in the best of times. There really isn’t a compelling ask like most other organizations. I can’t wait to see the flurry of bidding at our next Virtual Event for a private school with a strong community.
– Many auctioneers across the country have been doing this solo. I don’t get it. You always need a great MC / Co-Host for your event. Especially without having a crowd to respond to you. You need someone to play off of.
– We have two options in how to produce the event. Both cost about the same.
– The May 1 event was in my living room. A crew brought over cameras, lights, monitors, computers, etc. The set up was amazing, hopefully you saw the picture on my social media. The great thing about this crew is, they are mobile. We could set it up at any location you choose.
– The May 15 event for St. Joseph Parish School – Issaquah, will be at Canvas Event Space in Seattle. This is a stationary set with multiple cameras, a huge stage and a staff of 4 or 5 that produce your event. Check out www.virtuallivegala.comfor details.
– The client doesn’t even need to be with us in the same room. At the May 1 event our data entry / banking person was at their own home, as you may have heard when we were drawing the raffle, etc.
– We had a technical issue, and in our playback monitor I couldn’t see the bidders, or the amount that the item was at – that is why the co-host had her laptop.
– The May 1 event was only on Facebook Live. That is NOT how you want to do it. I would suggest embedding a Vimeo, Twitch or YouTube live stream onto your organization’s website or you could use a link on my website. Once you embed a video, you can then share it to Facebook, but your main platform should not be Facebook.
– So why did we use Facebook Live? The client wanted to. It was a community based event, and because of all the tagging, and sharing it was thought more eyes would be on it. And they were right with 1600 people popping in. But in the future Facebook should be the secondary viewing spot and not the primary.
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
– Every event will be different, and there are many ways to “close” live items during the event. The way we did it on May 1 honestly wasn’t the greatest because of Facebook Live lag time. As you saw above – Facebook Live is not the best place to hold an event.
– Some groups will sell items in sections, and some will try and do it like a real auction, and others will talk about the items as Jessica and I did, and then just leave them open until a specific time. That last option is how we should have done it last night.
– The group on May 1 had a “dream” goal of $50k… I would have advised them to use the realistic goal mentioned above. I think when setting a goal it should be attainable so the thermometer on the software can actually reach the top.
– I would advise clients to create a powerpoint of the auction items as they would if it were an in-person event. We were pulling up the Auctria page that had each live item on it. That was not ideal.
– I would create more graphics/slides and intersperse them throughout the event explaining to people how to bid and where to log-on, etc. Truth is not everybody was with us at the beginning of the show. We need to continue re-setting the mission, and re-setting the “How-to.”
– I think we should incorporate video / music and more still shots during the event. Those could be part of the powerpoint.
– It isn’t out of the realm of possibility to pre-record the entire event. That way it can be edited together perfectly.
As you continue to plan your event this fall, I am hopeful we will be able to take the stage and raise a lot of money for your organization as we have done in the past. We will all know more information in the next few weeks and Kilbreath Auctions is here with you every step of the way.
Here are a few things to think about – including two new ways to raise money.
HYBRID EVENTS — A hybrid event combines both an in-person gathering for those able, and a virtual component for those who don’t feel comfortable attending an event, but still want to be part of the live event magic. This way still allows for all of your guests and donors to enjoy the event.
VIRTUAL GALA — It has been so much fun working on these virtual galas. The most successful online/virtual events still include aspects of your event/live auction. Meaning we would need to have interaction with guests, a host and MC, a powerful paddle raise video/message, a dynamic powerpoint, and even music. And we can do that from anywhere. I am doing an event May 1 from my home, and an event May 15 from the city of Seattle approved event space Canvas with a production crew. www.virtuallivegala.com.
No matter what type of event we have we will follow guidelines set forth by the CDC and government officials in the city/county/state your event is being held.
PROCUREMENT / MARKETING — I have heard from so many people regarding how hard it is to procure and market their events during this unknown time. The suggestion from my fundraising friends at Swaim Strategies CLICK HERE FOR MORE is to wait until June to start asking for donations and marketing your fall event. By June we should have a clear picture of what events are going to look like the fall. Across the country I have seen local travel, wine and spirits, and unique experiences still selling very well.
DONOR ENGAGEMENT — You need funds more than ever. Whether it is a hybrid, virtual or actual auction in person – the show must go on. Your donors love your organization and they want to see what you have been up to during this time. My advice – be in front of your donors and let them know what you have been doing during this time. Let your donors know how impactful the money you raise is helping those you support.
One way or another let’s continue raising money together… and hopefully it will be in the traditional format we know and love with bid cards raised high in front of all of your donors. I look forward to exploring these options with you and chatting about your event.
Make it visual – You want to incorporate video / your powerpoint and other visuals into your program
Keep it moving – I see so many events online virtual auctions that are too long. Get to the point, and raise the money.
Allow for interaction – If your hosts can comment on and with viewers/bidders it will keep the audience engaged.
Keep it focused on your mission – As with any event, what are we raising money for, and why is it important now, more than ever!
HERE IS THE GREATER GIVING ARTICLE:
Keeping your audience engaged, inspired, and motivated during a virtual event poses a unique challenge.
You have about thirty seconds to grab their attention and from that moment on you are competing with their devices, interruptions from other people, and their own wandering thoughts.
Your presentation was designed to be passionate, to draw them in and convey the urgency of the need, but there are more techniques you can use to gain their attention and hold it throughout the event.
1. Know your audience
Understanding audience demographics is key to presenting a program that is meaningful and inspires giving. Use your data to answer the question “Who will be attending an online event and how can you make it easy for them to give?” Consider the technical abilities of your audience and be ready to provide them with the support they’ll need if they experience problems.
2. An interesting and relevant agenda
Creating a well-balanced, entertaining program agenda that caters to the unique qualities of an online event is the way to capture an audience’s attention. It should be informative, passionate, entertaining, and include the business of fundraising that leads up to a climax that will entice viewers to click on an ever-present “Donate” button located on the same screen. Strive to not go longer than an hour, as many people will find it difficult to focus for a long time.
3. Insist on undivided attention
Your program is import and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, so it’s proper to ask (politely) that your audience put away their phones and close out their browsers so everyone’s focus is concentrated on the event. Thank them for their dedication to do this prior to the start of the program and again at its conclusion.
4. Virtual check-ins
Don’t forget the check-in! It’s where you gather information and update your database, and it’s one of the most important tasks you’ll be doing during an event. In the case of a virtual fundraiser, it also acts as a tool to strengthen the commitment of your audience by giving them a task to complete as soon as they login.
5. It Takes a Team
Get a camera-ready team together to share the responsibility of hosting a virtual event. This will not only help the presenters by providing breaks for them to organize their presentation, it will also make the presentation more interesting to the viewer and create an environment that mimics an in-person event.
6. A call and response opening
Get the energy up immediately with a virtual call and response exercise your audience can perform in their own homes. Involving your audience helps to create the sense of bonding that a physical room would naturally provide. Call out your nonprofit’s name and have them respond with a statement that describes what success would look like. A pre-recorded response or your broadcast team can substitute for the audience voices and make it feel as though there are more people in the room.
7. Find an internet-ready speaker
Making an impression through the confines of technology requires a big performance. This might be an easy request for some speakers, but that lack of interaction with an audience could doom others. Your speaker needs to be exuberant enough to excite an audience that isn’t physically with them in the room. Look for a speaker who can deliver a high-energy, passionate performance with sincerity and grace.
8. A Hosted Chat Box
Providing an avenue for your attendees to ask questions and discuss topics in real-time is the best way to get people engaged. Add a live chat box with a host that can encourage lively conversation. Place it in a prominent place on the website throughout the event. Also, it’s important to firmly state and hold a zero-tolerance rule for inappropriate conversations while using the chat box.
9. Polls, Quizzes, Games
Invite your audience’s participation by sprinkling in a series of questions, polls, quizzes, and games. It can be a question related to a relevant topic, a fun trivia question or a thought-provoking poll, just make sure you don’t spend too much time on it so it derails your program. Make it easy for your audience to participate and follow-up with a quick examination of the results.
10. Presenter/attendee interactions
Work with your presenter prior to the event to find areas where they could involve the audience. Ask a question your audience can answer in the chat box, then have your host relay the answers to the presenter for a comment.
11. Special Guests and Presentations
Spark excitement by including a special guest or presentation that you can hype prior to and throughout the event. It could be a celebrity advocate with a live or pre-taped video message, a person working in the field, or someone who has benefited from the work.
12. Offer reward for staying on through to the end
Give your audience a reason to stay all the way to the conclusion of the event with a promise of a gift. Provide them with a discount code to use at a sponsor’s business or provide a link to a page where they can redeem their prize. This is a great way to involve your sponsors, too!
An event is meant to connect people and provide a shared experience. Incorporating these tactics into your program agenda will help you make that connection through the confines of technology and bring your community together.
Dena Weigel Bell has been a brand journalist and professional content creator for non-profits for over seven years. Her work has connected both international and national organizations with their supporters to provide insight into their activities, celebrate successes, and tell the stories of the people they serve.