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 meetings platform, such as Zoom or Google Meet (which cannot be embedded in your site), you can use a two-platform option for your virtual paddle raise event.
Participants view your livestream directly on Zoom or a similar platform, and they make paddle raise donations in the chat.
Your auction team uses your event site to create a gala paddle raise and enter event night 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 and enter paddle raise donations. This means you need to set up a gala paddle raise prior to your virtual event. Select Bid Paddles as the Donating Via option for your paddle raise.
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 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 donations in the chat.
Appoint a chat cheerleader to welcome attendees, and encourage and celebrate donations.
Design a livestream program that tugs at heartstrings and opens wallets. Provide concrete examples of what each donation level purchases for your organization. Consider having a beloved community member or beneficiary of your program make the ask.
Make sure you have donors in attendance who have pre-committed to giving at the highest donation level. Otherwise, you’ll start your event off with a whimper, rather than a bang.
Get right to the good part. Save housekeeping and thanking sponsors for the end of your event, after people have donated.
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.
At the end of the event, instruct everyone to check their email for their invitation to self checkout.
Keep an online paddle raise open on your site following your event, so that people who could not attend, or who decide they want to give more, can still donate.
Things to Consider or Avoid
Two-platform virtual events use the Gala tools for paddle raise donations. Do not enable the virtual event feature (if available) on your site.
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 large donations. But, if you have a very large number of attendees and/or your group is on the rowdy side, unmuting can pull focus away from the auctioneer and emcee and make the program harder to follow.