We've added new features to our Fusion subscription which will allow you to run a Gala, or other real-time event, with some supporters participating in-person and others virtually.
These instructions are for the most common configuration - where "in-person" guests enjoy a traditional Gala experience and bid/donate by raising their bid paddle. Use these instructions if you are planning an event with ALL attendees placing bids online (in-person guests via their smartphone)
Fusion Event using bid paddles:
- In-person guests enjoy a traditional gala experience and bid/donate by raising their paddle.
- 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.
- All 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.
Setting up Registration
Recommended: Create and offer different ticket options for Gala and Virtual attendance.
Guests attending in person must be sold/issued a ticket in order to generate bidder numbers. Guests attending virtually do not need bidder numbers, but it is easiest to use the same registration process for all guests.
- Tickets can be free
- Tickets can be sold online and/or entered manually and/or imported from a spreadsheet
Instructions for Selling Tickets:
- 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.
Setup items for "Bidding via Virtual"
Go to Catalog:
Choose bidding via "Virtual Event Bidding" for all items in the Virtual portion of your event. If on-site attendees will be bidding with paper paddles, also choose bidding via "Bid Paddles." Existing items can be edited individually, or in bulk.
Providing Access to Bid:
In-person guests: bid paddles are distributed during the Gala check-in process.
Pre-registered Virtual guests: invitations to the virtual event provide a personal link for access:
- On the Tickets page, use the Advanced Search button to filter the list for guests by ticket type.
- Select the desired users > Bulk Actions > Email Selected Users > Send Invitation to Virtual.
Public option: can be enabled to allow anyone to view the livestream (via a generic link) with a button to create an account if they wish to join the chat or place bids.
Coordinating In-Person vs Virtual Bids
The challenge of managing simultaneous online and paddle bidding is keeping both bid streams current and synched to ensure that both the auctioneer and virtual participants have an accurate display of the current high bid so competing bids can be properly handled in real time.
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!
A. Most Auctioneers focus on the live audience and bidders in front of them - and have a tablet or monitor set up to alert them to new Virtual Bids. The Fusion Auctioneer View effectively raises a virtual paddle each time a virtual bidder has the high bid.
B. In order to keep the online bidding platform synched, in-person bids must be entered in the Proxy Bid section of the Virtual Control Panel - and speed of entering in-person bids is critical:
Recording In-Person bids to keep online platform synched:
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.