A Case Study
An organization providing resources for agricultural education to students, the Idaho FFA Association was faced with the cancellation of two fundraising events in light of COVID-19 and needed an alternate solution to utilize donations and auction items committed to the original events. They wanted a virtual event that would engage supporters, help meet their fundraising goal and raise enough money for their fund-a-need programs. With two events cancelled, each on opposite ends of the state, creating a unifying and equally as impactful event was vital.
Needing to connect beyond geographical boundaries and raise money for a common interest, Idaho FFA had to step away from their traditional fundraising approach. Typically, an auction with Idaho FFA is a bustling day with competitions, raffles and a dinner. Idaho FFA was concerned about having to cancel not one, but two events. Taking the events online, they were concerned about meeting their fundraising goal and having trouble with attendees engaging online. After already creating two events, it was important to share on social media news of a new event and the changes in setting.
Marcia Jedry, Executive Director of Idaho FFA, has more than 20 years of fundraising experience and had spent recent months commuting back and forth, across the state, meeting with planning committees. A lot of time and energy had gone into planning the events, but with Auction Frogs a web-based event and online fundraising platform company, an online auction and virtual event would address Idaho FFA’s challenges and offer an easy to use solution. No longer needing to commute, Marcia began working with Auction Frogs and their production team to create one new event, 40 Giving Back and Looking Forward.
Not their first year using an online auction with Auction Frogs but certainly their first virtual event, Idaho FFA worked with Auction Frogs and their production team to build an online auction and create a virtual event in a short amount of time. “In the past it was difficult to make changes and get approval. It doesn’t seem like that now, we can change our mindsets and participate remotely. Sometimes it can be fun,” said Marcia.
Idaho FFA shared social media posts for the virtual event and live auction. Creating the virtual event they shared photos, videos and stories with Auction Frogs to create a live experience that would boost engagement and donations made. “More time went into producing the live event but on the flip side you’re spending less time during the actual event. Our in person event would typically be time spent setting up, several hours of the actual event and then time afterwards taking it all down. We didn’t have to do that, which was nice,” said Marcia.
Handmade items from students were showcased and bid on the day of the virtual event, an emcee shared stories and encouragement with viewers on Facebook, and familiar faces were able to give testimony via videos and photos.
“It was a wild card, but we reached our goal,” said Marcia. Over the weekend, before the online auction was close to closing, Idaho FFA had already reached their goal of $50,000 and in the end reached close to $52,000. “We were still able to share our story. We could see the metrics, people engaging and the flow of the auction,” said Marcia, “Auction Frogs and the team were fantastic. We had so much guidance and they really made us look good.”
After 40 years, the Idaho FFA managed to catch the same sense of community and support from years of in person events and auctions, this time online.