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Not Just for Millennials

Not Just for millennials

Figawi Charity Ball Breaks the Mold by Using Mobile Silent Auction to Surpass Fundraising Goal

Here at Accelevents, we talk a lot about millennial fundraising. While we recognize that millennials are becoming more involved in charitable giving as mobile fundraising gains popularity, they are not the only ones taking advantage of the benefits of mobile and online fundraising!

Take the Figawi Charity Ball, for example. The Ball has been running for 30 years and is certainly an event steeped in tradition. Created in tandem with the famous Figawi Sailboat race that takes place on Memorial Day weekend, the Charity Ball has donated millions of dollars to a variety of local charities (a partial list can be found here).

Such a long-tenured event comes with a host of traditions, many good, and some that can be improved. The Ball’s silent auction has always been known for its amazing prizes, ranging from weekend getaways to original paintings created by local artists specifically for the event.

Silent Auction prizes

These amazing prizes garner a lot of attention, bids, and high proceeds. But even after all these years, the silent auction still used traditional paper bid sheets. This setup created multiple barriers for donors:

  • Awareness for the best items was generally limited to the night of the event.
  • Donors needed to be physically present in the “Silent Auction Hall” at the Ball’s venue, meaning they would need to leave the dance floor / ballroom in order to check in on the status of their bid.
  • Checkout was slow and inefficient for item winners and event staff.

The Figawi Charity Ball Committee knew that, after all these years, they still had not realized the full potential of their silent auction.

Enter Accelevents.

With their mobile silent auction functionality, Accelevents was the perfect fit for the Ball, as it could provide the fundraiser with easy setup, mobile bidding capabilities, and a streamlined payment and checkout process.

Using mobile bidding, donors would be able to place their initial bids upon entering the fundraiser’s venue, and could then continue to the ballroom, where they would be notified via text message if they were outbid.

All of these benefits certainly were promising, but the Committee did have one major fear – would the target demographic be too “mature” for a silent auction with mobile bidding?

Many of the Charity Ball attendees had been coming to the Ball for years, and the committee was worried that these people would not easily adapt to a new system, different from the traditional silent auction format. The average age at the event was about 55 years or older, providing additional concern for the team.

In the end, the committee decided that the benefits and flexibility of the new mobile system would far outweigh the learning curve that their audience would have, in order to participate in the silent auction.

Results & Key Takeaways

As expected, the results for the 30th Annual Figawi Charity Ball and its accompanying silent auction were amazing!

The silent auction itself raised $27,500 – surpassing its goal by 10%!

silent auction sign

After concluding the fundraiser, we were able to identify a few keys that led to an enhanced silent auction experience, even when taking the fundraiser’s demographic into account:

1.  Amazing Prizes – As we mentioned before, the Figawi Charity Ball had an outstanding array of silent auction prizes. These prizes created amazing buzz for the event itself, and got guests excited to bid in the silent auction.

2. Easy Bidding Process / Notifications – While the fundraiser committee was worried that text message and online bidding would be difficult for their guests, this couldn’t have been further from the truth! The silent auction attracted a high number of bidders (over 100), and provided ease and flexibility to those participating. Rather than having to run back and forth from the silent auction hall to the ballroom of the venue, guests could place their initial bids and then remain in the ballroom, as they were instantly notified of the items they had been outbid on. From there, guests could simply submit a higher bid from their phones.

3. Streamlined Payment / Checkout – Using Accelevents’ credit card processing capability made payment and checkout a breeze for the Figawi Charity Ball. At the Silent Auction’s conclusion, item winners were instantly notified of the prizes they had won and could pay directly from their phones using a credit card. On the other end, the fundraiser staff could use the Accelevents Host Console to see who had made their payment. These two elements allowed for an extremely smooth and fast checkout process.

Considering these amazing results, the Figawi Charity Ball Committee is certainly looking forward to a continued partnership with Accelevents, building on this year’s success in order to continuously provide  an amazing fundraising and donation experience.

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