by Amanda Strombom, chair of Auction Team
The East Shore Auction, usually held in November each year, is a big fund-raising opportunity for the church, and a wonderful way to build community, since the auction is all about offering social events and services to members. Last year, we held a small online auction along with our regular Silent and Live auctions. We’re glad we did because this year, 2020, East Shore’s Auction is going totally online!
We think that by late 2020, it is most likely that members will be able to offer all the usual dinners, social events, vacation homes and services that are the mainstays of our auction, although we may need to limit the number of participants at some individual events. However, it is very unlikely that we’d be able to hold a crowded silent and live auction at church, so we’re coming up with creative ways to hold the auction and still make it a fun event for everyone.
Holding the auction online offers several advantages. Everyone can participate, including those who live further away, have young kids, can’t drive at night, or are feeling vulnerable to COVID-19. It will be free for all to participate as well, so everyone can bid, although of course if you win, you will need to pay up! We will have a longer period for the auction, probably a week, so that gives everyone the chance to log on and bid, even if you’re out of town. There’s a phone app, so you can bid wherever you are. You can even set up proxy bidding, by setting up your maximum price for an item and letting the system bid for you up to that maximum, so there’s no need to spend hours online!
To create a sense of community and excitement around the bidding, we will be holding a Zoom event for sure, and if possible, an in-person social event in Spring Hall, for the period around when bidding closes on Saturday November 14th, so keep that evening free!
This date may seem like a long time off, but the time to start thinking about it is now!
I am currently building a team of interested volunteers to help plan this year’s auction. I’m particularly looking for help with publicity (must have good writing skills), gathering contributions (via email and phone), and technical assistance with setting up the Auctria system and training members in how to use it. If you’re a quick learner and can then help those who are less technically savvy get comfortable with the software, we will need your help! Most of the work will happen in the Sept-November timeframe, although we need to decide on some policies and plans soon, so that the early preparation steps can happen. So let me know ASAP if you’d like to join the team!
I also invite you to start thinking of creative (and possibly online only) events that could be offered as part of the auction, to help bring our church community together. Even if we can’t gather together, I know we can make this a fun event for everyone!