Last month, Auction Frogs had the honor of working with and visiting the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. The Conservancy, founded in 1987, is located in the North Coastal area of San Diego County in California. Their mission is to protect and restore the resources of the 979-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, its watershed, and related ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. They focus on community education, scientific research, restoration and conservation. During our visit, we got to play touristsand explore the Lagoon.If you’re headed to the Lagoon, don’t forget your walking shoes! With seven miles of trails and over 300 species of birds sighted, it’s easy to spend a whole day there. We were delighted to watch fish jump out of the water, birds hunt around for food and vibrant butterflies land all around us. With runners on the trails and families strolling with kids, it’s obvious how much the Lagoon is cherished by the community. The interactive Nature Center even includes a live turtle you can feed!
Every other year, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy puts on a Birds of a Feather Gala. The proceeds support the conservation education program at the Conservancy with a goal to connect, educate and engage the community to act to ensure the health and wellbeing of their watershed. After a successful gala and fundraiser, we interviewed Jennifer Bright, the Development Director, about her experience with Auction Frogs.
How long has San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy been hosting biennial galas?
This was our 5th biennial gala.
Do you do any other sort of fundraising on years without galas?
Yes, we fundraise through direct mail and online campaigns.
What sort of fundraising tools or programs have you used in the past?
In the past, our fundraising tools have been very limited and entailed a lot of manual (no technology) efforts.
How did Auction Frogs’ tools differ from programs you’ve used in the past?
Auction Frogs was a welcomed departure from the manual, often handwritten ticket purchasing and check in/check out procedures of the past. The program was very easy to use and the reports were also very helpful. Also, having onsite experts the day of the event was very helpful and it allowed staff to concentrate on entertaining guests rather than problem solving.
Were there any features that made your planning experience significantly simpler?
I really liked the silent auction detail sheets. I easily downloaded the sheets for use at the event. I also think the ability to pre-watch the training videos was helpful for volunteers working the event.
Did you find the Auction Frogs tools easy to use?
The auction item upload was extremely efficient and easy to use. As was the guest list, seating chart and reports.
Were you satisfied with the level of support leading up to and at the event?
Yes, the Auction Frogs team were wonderful, supportive, professional and effective.
Did you receive any feedback from guests at the event on their experience?
Our guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves! There were rave reviews of the new venue that we chose this year and the check in/check out process (no wait time) was applauded as well.
After your experience, do you have any advice for others planning fundraisers?
Recruit a great base of well-connected (the folks in your community that know everyone) auction volunteers. Invest in technology and programs (like Auction Frogs) that will help you work smarter, rather than harder. Sponsors, sponsors, sponsors!
Thanks so much for your kind words, Jennifer! Auction Frogs thoroughly enjoyed working with San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy and looks forward to future collaborations. Bring us back to sunny California anytime!