Can You Do a Service Auction Virtually? Yes!

This week we have an interview with Sharon Edmond, UU Congregation of Cleveland’s (UUCC) Event Coordinator talking about their recent Service Auction. In the interview Sharon details how they switched from an in person to an online format, what changes they made, and what they learned, and what they will be carrying into future auctions.

Some basic points from the interview:

  • This auction was a typical service auction with dinners, gift certificates, services, baked goods and a whole variety of items available. They didn’t change what they offered for the virtual auction.
  • When deciding to go online, there are a lot of software programs out there. Sharon recommends you do your research as costs vary widely and what is provided varies as well. Look at what best matches your budget, your technology needs and the needs and size of your congregation. They used 32auctions.
  • UUCC only had their virtual auction open for bidding for a 7 hour period. You could extend it longer, such as through an entire weekend. The items for bid are available for preview before the auction begins so folks can take their time to review the offerings ahead of time.
  • This software and others like it could be used for other types of sales such as rummage sales or book sales that congregations offer so it can have other uses.
  • Many people who would have had to miss the in-person auction due to date/time conflicts were able to participate virtually. Because of this they are looking at keeping this component of the auction when they can resume in person activities.

UUCC is in a unique position, as this is the first year the congregation has been in existence. They are the result of a merger of two congregations in the Cleveland area last year and the history of the two congregations with service auctions varies. According to Sharon they raised $7,000, which was above their revised goal of $5,000.

We thank the UU Congregation of Cleveland and Sharon for sharing this with us. If your congregation has similar experiences you would like to share with other congregations in the region, please contact your primary contact.