We’ve developed a one-screen Virtual Event feature that allows you to embed a livestream directly into a bidding interface screen. However, if your subscription doesn’t include the Virtual Event feature or you prefer to use a virtual meeting platform, such as Zoom or Google Meet (which cannot be embedded in your site), you can use a two-platform option for your virtual event.
Participants view your livestream directly on Zoom or a similar platform, and they place Live auction bids and make paddle raise donations in the chat.
Your auction team uses your event site to create Live items and a gala paddle raise and to enter auction night sales and donations. At the end of the event, you send your participants an invitation to self checkout from your auction site.
Best Practices and Tips
You’ll use your site’s Gala tools to register guests, sell live items, and enter paddle raise donations. This means you need to enter your live items in your catalog and set up a gala paddle raise prior to your virtual event. Select Bid Paddles as the Bidding (or Donating) Via option for these items.
Using the gala tools to sell items to winners means that each of your guests must have a ticket to your event. Tickets can cost $0. You can edit the ticket sale confirmation email template to include your zoom link.
Make clear to participants at the start of the event that bids and donations made in the chat are considered binding.
If your auctioneer isn’t already working with an assistant, appoint a team member to help them monitor bids and donations in the chat.
Appoint a chat cheerleader to welcome attendees, celebrate bid advances and item wins and offer all-around encouragement to bidders.
Be sure you have a plan in place to provide livestream access to people who haven’t registered in advance. You can post the link on your homepage or in your social media. Create a $0 ticket ahead of time, so that you can quickly register any non-ticketed items winners or cash donors.
Save thanking sponsors for the end of the event, or intersperse these acknowledgements throughout the show. Jump right to the interesting part: entertainment (if any) and bidding.
At the end of the event, instruct everyone to check their email for their invitation to self checkout.
Things to Consider or Avoid
Two-platform virtual events use the Gala tools for item sales and paddle raise donations. Do not enable the virtual event feature (if available) on your site.
While you could set up your live items as type = Silent items and have people toggle between two screens to place bids (your auction site and your livestream), you’ll be much better served by keeping attendees focused in one spot: your livestream screen, and having everyone place bids/make donations in the chat.
Whether you allow your participants to unmute or not is something you should discuss in advance with your auctioneer. Unmuting can enhance the community flavor of an online event: people cheer for bid advances and wins. But, if you have a very large number of attendees and/or your group tends toward the rowdy side, unmuting can pull focus away from the auctioneer and emcee and make the program harder to follow.