That was quick wasn’t it? Virtual events were created within days of the lockdown in 2020 and for me, they were “virtually” gone in under a year. In 2021, I had two virtual and one hybrid. All the others were in-person events. In 2022, I have no virtual streamed benefit events and not a single hybrid event. It’s not even talked about with clients.
There were many in the auction industry who thought that this was the new future. No more gatherings in person, or at least the gathering would be greatly reduced and everyone would participate through their phone or computer. What those people underestimated was how people wanted to get back to the fun… in person! I saw it right away. In Texas we were gathering again and not limited in numbers of assembly. We had some incredible fundraisers. I remember a client saying to me, “I can only hope that we can raise $60,000 for this virtual event.” $60,000 heck they can have one donor who can give $60,000. I responded in confidence saying, “you were smarter than all other organizations. You hired a professional benefit auctioneer with 23 years of broadcast television experience, with multiple Emmy Awards and Telly Awards, plus video production and on-camera experience. You hired what MOST are trying to understand from scratch and stress to produce and execute a virtual event. This is a breeze and your supporters will love the production.” They certainly did to the sum of over $380,000 dollars raised in a :45 minute virtual auction!
The interesting aspect of all of this was how fast I was able to create a platform for my clients to do “TV” and stream it with a professional AV team. We killed it in production and in raised a lot of money. Now it is all gone for the fully virtual streamed events. All events are back in person and it is evident that people missed the socializing, entertainment or being out on the town and bidding and giving in the auctions.
Upon reflection, virtual auctions worked and they saved a large number of nonprofit organizations and schools who desperately needed funding during the pandemic lockdown. We created a fix for quarantining and separation. I enjoyed it but I don’t want to be forced to do it again. There is a benefit to hybrid events with people in person and then reaching out to others on a stream. Certain schools and organizations can really benefit from going outside the venue on a simul-stream.
Well, goodbye virtual events and take the assembly restrictions with you.