My husband and I hosted an annual Christmas party for many years. Our friends had grown to expect that our party would happen every year with the usual boisterous singing and great food and piles of work for us. One year we decided to un-invite everyone. We decided it was time to take a year off and rather than leave everyone guessing, we sent out an engraved un-invitation. It read something like…you are cordially NOT invited to our annual Christmas party. It’s not because of the terrible singing (and you know who you are) or the clean-up that lasts for days, it’s because we simply need to take a year off. Most friends were amused and took it in stride and made other plans. A few were hurt and thought we were actually un-friending them. We cleared that up right away.
So when I read on a local nonprofit’s website that they were doing away with the gala, I was reminded of our un-invitation those many years ago. Their subhead reads- “Where absence makes your dollar go further.” They go on to say, “Community Cooks requests the pleasure of your absence at a sparkling celebration anywhere you choose. You are cordially invited to do whatever you want- Spend a quiet evening at home, enjoy dinner at your favorite restaurant, dodge the traffic, avoid speeches, skip the silent auction, pass on the small talk.”
They then go on to ask for a donation, sans the gala. So this got me to thinking. At BiddingForGood, we do lots and lots of business with charities and schools who put incredible effort into throwing fabulous fundraising events. Probably a full third of our auctions now use mobile bidding at live events and another meaningful number combine an online auction with the traditional silent auction at their galas. But there is another model that falls along the lines of our friends at Community Cooks who are throwing out the gala. This is the auction that is not tethered to a live event. There is no venue to find, no tables to set, no flowers to arrange. There are no auction items to set up or entertainment to hire. This is a straight-up, no nonsense online auction that gets right to the point and invites people to bid and support the cause without putting on their party clothes.
There is a lot to be said for browsing auction items from the comfort of your own home. No fighting the crowd or elbowing other bidders out of the way at the bid sheets. Nope. This model allows you to browse, research items if you choose, and bid in the auction in your own sweet time. Heck- you can even bid in your pajamas.
So if you are feeling like the expense and the work and stress involved in throwing another gala is more than you want to take on this season, consider throwing a virtual gala…online. Who knows, it might become a trend.