Since in-person events and auctions have faced unprecedented changes these past few months, organizations are rethinking the spaces they use and the ways they connect with people. Auction Frogs found a solution early on with Virtual Events.
With the expertise of Elsberg Studios, Cory Mikhals, and Auction Frogs working together, Virtual Events with clients such as Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, Idaho FFA, St. Mary’s Catholic School, and more have found great success. But who are the people behind and in front of the screen? How does it all come together?
Meet Elsberg Studios
Based out of Nampa, ID, Elsberg Studios helps stories come alive with carefully captured and edited visuals. A talented videography, photography, and event boutique agency, Brad and Alyce Elsberg have 30 years of production and planning experience under their belts. “First and foremost we’re authentic storytellers,” says Brad, as capturing the heart of their clients’ messages is the core of their business plan.
After the couple worked independently for many years with Church of the Nazarene International, GARMIN, and Northwest Nazarene University, they made the decision to officially establish Elsberg Studios in 2015. Now the pair work closely and tirelessly for clients with varied backgrounds, goals, stories, and creative agendas. Between meetings, you’ll find the pair shooting videos, capturing images, reviewing shots, and editing and bringing narratives together for each and every client, many of which they’ve worked with for many years.
“We really do like working with people. Our favorite part is the relationships. Getting to know people is also the best part of our partnership with Auction Frogs. It has allowed us to build relationships with a lot of new people that we may have met, but not worked with before,” says Brad.
Brad and Alyce have a passion and strength (and heart!) for working with nonprofits. After working with nonprofit organizations and developing an understanding of the fundraising world, it was only a matter of time before Elsberg Studios and Auction Frogs crossed paths.
Meet Cory Mikhals
No Virtual Event is complete without an emcee. Cory Mikhals, actor, voice artist, and emcee, has over 35 years of media experience. Living in Boise for more than 18 years now, he has worked closely with clients from around the Treasure Valley and beyond, including Camp River Run, Children’s Miracle Network, Special Olympics, and many others.
With a smooth voice and a charismatic personality, Cory engages audiences and interviews with ease. Despite not being able to emcee for in-person events recently, he has found it inspiring to incorporate Virtual Events with Online Auctions.
“We can still reach people from large events, and then even more. People that wouldn’t have been able to attend or be a part of an in-person event can now be a part of it from the comfort of their homes,” says Cory.
As Cory prepares for Virtual Events, he makes sure to know everything he can about the organizations, people, and individual stories he is presenting. His personal approach and preparedness allow him to speak from the heart.
“I ask questions. I want to know what their history is, where they have been, what brought them to where they are now, and what they are looking for in the future. And the more knowledge I have, then the more I’m able to speak to the cause. I think any good emcee is going to do their homework,” he explains.
Meet Auction Frogs
You should know us well by now, but do you know how it all got started? Driven by her involvement in her daughters’ charter school event planning, Kristi Saucerman founded Auction Frogs in 2007 on a simple premise: If you make it easy for a nonprofit organization to manage a silent or live auction as part of a gala event, and guide the fundraising team with best practices for running the auction, you can simultaneously eliminate the pain of managing the event AND maximize the revenue.
To serve these goals, Kristi created a web-based online auction platform that allowed a larger pool of bidders — over an expanded bidding time frame — to bid on items that would otherwise traditionally be placed in a silent auction for just a few hours during a gala event. This solution not only creates more revenue for an organization but also greater exposure to an expanded online audience (compared to what a silent auction gala event could offer) through social media channels and email campaigns.
Kristi says of her personal mission, “It’s not just about building a business — it’s about bringing people together to create positive change on a scale not achievable on an individual level. I love knowing that the services we provide truly change people’s lives.”
Today, Kristi is proud to have taken a leap of faith with the creation and implementation of Virtual Events. Elsberg Studios and Cory Mikhals helped make her brainchild a true success during difficult times, and the virtual solution they’ve created together is serving hundreds of nonprofits and benefit organizations across the country.
A Well-Rounded Team
“There really is kind of a trifecta, if you will- we know each other really well, and we complement each other’s strengths,” remarks Brad.
In the end, it’s the strong respect and partnership amongst the individuals behind each business that adds a special touch to each event. Anyone meeting the production team and emcee will find themselves with people who are both dedicated and interested in their cause. Bringing together everyone’s passions and skills has proven, in seemingly dark times, that virtual innovation can be impactful and fun.
Cory sums it up well: “It’s all genuinely good people for a good cause.”