We've added new features to our Premium subscription which will allow you to run a Gala, or other real-time event, with some supporters participating in-person and others virtually:
- The event is livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.
- Virtual guests can watch the livestream, chat, bid, and donate from a single screen.
- In person guests watch the action live and can chat/bid/donate using a simplified interface on their smartphones OR bid/donate using bid paddles with an assistant to the auctioneer recording their bids on the Virtual Control panel.
- Guests can check-out and pay online or you can offer in-person guests the option to check-out in person.
As always, our software makes it easy to adjust to future conditions: with just a few settings changes, you can move to a Virtual or In Person only event and/or to allow your guests to change how they want to attend at any time.
This article covers the settings and instructions that are specific to running a Gala Live Auction with both in person and virtual attendance. If your event will also include an online auction, be sure to review and incorporate these instructions in your planning as well.
Specify Attendance Option(s):
Go to: Admin > Site Settings > Virtual Event > General to specify how supporters can attend your event.
- Activates the appropriate Invitation Templates on your site.
- If "In Person (bidding with smartphones)" is specified, the simplified bidding screen option is activated which allows in-person attendees to bid on the current item only).
- Displays links to the appropriate bid screens on "Join our Virtual Event" banner.
Setup items for "Bidding via Virtual"
Go to Catalog:
Choose bidding via "Virtual Event" or "Online to Virtual Event" for all items in the Virtual portion of your event. Existing items can be edited individually, or in bulk.
Setting up Registration
- Create Ticket Options for attending in person and attending virtually.
- Set up Online Ticket Sales and customize your registration forms.
- When you're ready to launch registration, Send Invitations to Buy Tickets.
- If a guest needs to change their attendance style: Go to Orders page and find their order > Click Edit Ticket link next to ticket you want to change > Select the ticket type you want to exchange to > Save. Any payment/refund can be processed immediately, or remain in their cart as a credit/balance due until check-out during the event.
Instructions for B: Signup Form:
- To prevent confusion caused by redirects for recognized email addresses, your event site should NOT contain migrated or imported user records for potential guests. Instructions for removing migrated records. To remove imported records, go to Admin > Manage Users > Click on the Self-Import Users button > Click the Undo button for the desired import.
- Setup the Signup form.
- Promote registration by driving supporters to your homepage or direct links to Signup.
- Be aware that once a completed signup form is submitted, the user will be directed to any active online event page (Online Auction, Live Virtual Event, Voting Contest). If more than one are active, buttons are provided to choose where to go first. If you want users to be directed to the homepage instead, be sure none of the Online Features are "visible to the public" in site settings or Virtual Control panel.
Providing Access to Bid:
Option A: All guests have tickets:
Email invitations can be sent from the Tickets page, Email or Text Invitations can be sent from Auction Night > Send Invites.
- If bidding via Paddle, distribute bid paddles at check-in.
- If bidding via simplified mobile interface: filter to Ticketed Guests - "Checked In", then email or text "Invitation to Bid In-Person" to provide access to the simplified bid screen on their phone.
- Filter to Ticketed Guests - "Not checked In", then email or text "Invitation to Virtual Event" to provide access to the full Virtual Event Screen with livestream.
Option B: All guests registered via Signup form:
Email Invitations can be sent from Admin > Manage Users page; Email or Text Invitations can be sent from Auction Night > Send Invites.
- Select Users > Email or Text "Invitation to Virtual - Hybrid" which will allow the recipient to choose the appropriate link/view for Remote vs In Person Attendance.
Note: Links to switch views are provided on all Virtual screens to allow corrections without your team's assistance.
Recording In-Person Bids via Paddle
Important: the instructions below focus on how to use the software tools to capture/record real-time bids - along with our recommendations for using spotters and assistants to cover all the bases. However - it is your responsibility to 1) consult with your auctioneer about how to best use the tools for your unique event; 2) test your plan and 3) train your crew ahead of time. There are a number of ways to utilize spotters and assistants - make sure your team is clear and comfortable the plan and individual assignments before your event!
The challenge of managing simultaneous online and in-person bidding is keeping both bid streams current and synched to ensure an accurate display of the current high bid and properly handle competing bids in real time - so speed of entering in-person bids is critical.
Recording bids on Live (competitive bidding) Items:
- One person is dedicated to entering in-person bids in the Proxy Bid section of the Virtual Control panel. Either the Auctioneer, or a spotter, will call out the bids as they are recognized - at first, when there are many bidders, the auctioneer will probably only call out the amount "I've got $750 - can I get $1000?" As bidding slows to the final 2-3 bidders, the Auctioneer will probably start personalizing the bidders (I've got $2500 from 007 - Jim? can you do $2600?) The proxy bid section can handle either/both:
- Enable the "Select/Assign Bidder only when awarding to winner" setting. This setting allows you to quickly record only the amount of each bid - with the bid attributed simply to "Gala Bidder".
- When the bidding slows, you have the option of unchecking the setting so you can record both the bidder and amount of their bid - or you can continue to record the bid amounts only.
- If "Gala Bidder" is the current high bidder when the Award item button is triggered, you'll be asked to specify the winning bid number or name to award the item to.
Recording In-person paddle raises/cash donations:
During a Gala Paddle Raise, the Auctioneer typically calls out the bid numbers on raised paddles at each level - with an assistant recording the numbers. During a Virtual Paddle Raise, donors are submitting their donations online, so the Auctioneer is watching the notifications and calling out each donor to acknowledge their contribution.
During a combination event, you'll need 3 people to record the in-person paddle raises and their roles differ if attendance is lopsided (virtual vs in-person).
Mostly In Person Attendance: Auctioneer calls out the bid numbers on raised paddles. 1) A spotter monitors the donations made virtually and either nudges the Auctioneer to acknowledge in real time or creates a list so virtual contributors can each be acknowledged before moving to the next level. 2) the dedicated person enters proxy bids/donations in real time and 3) an assistant write-downs the bid numbers as they are called out to create a back-up list for reference in case the "real time" entry falls behind.
Mostly Virtual Attendance: Auctioneer focuses on acknowledging paddle raises are they are received/recorded in the software. 1) A spotter calls out the bid numbers on the paddles raised 2) the dedicated person enters proxy bids/donations in real time and 3) an assistant write-downs the bid numbers as they are called out to create a back-up list for reference in case the "real time" entry falls behind.
Entering Donation via the Proxy Bid Section:
- a bidder name/number/handle must be provided for each donation
- when single amount levels are being offered, the proxy section also displays a button to donate the specified amount.
- if multiple levels (and/or custom amounts) and being accepted from Virtual guests, the proxy bid screen will display a field to enter the desired amount.
The easiest option for everyone placing bids online is to simply add the Cart Icon to the Bidding screens from the Virtual Control Panel when you're ready, then direct your supporters to click on the cart to review their purchases and pay online.
If you're setting up a Post-Event screen to display at closing, you can configure it ahead of time to display the Cart icon.
For in-person guests, you can send invitations to self check-out and/or offer in-person check-out.