By: Shannon Mays, Raising Paddles Fundraising Consultant & Auctioneer


Those are the words you’ll hear when your virtual gala is getting ready to go live. Your stomach will be in knots and your brain will be on overdrive. Are you ready? Is everything set? Are we a-go?

Last month we gave you a Virtual Event Checklist to make sure you were ready to go. This month, I want to dissect a couple of points of the virtual gala and the hybrid gala so you know the difference and are able to make your decision based on the factors affecting you.


This is a live event but broadcast from a remote location. That could be as high tech as a television or production studio or a DIY project and holding it in your basement. Believe it or not, we’ve already experienced both of these situations. There are two major differences:

1) Budget
2) Quality

So if you don’t mind sacrificing quality for price, a DIY project may be your “go-to”. However, if you are more focused on the quality aspect and how it might impact your brand, spending the extra money and going with a professional production studio might be the way to go.


This is a combination of a “live event” and a virtual event. You have a live audience conforming to your CDC guidelines that contains some of your biggest donors and supporters. Then you bring in your remote audience, which in this instance could be a combination of watch parties with as many as 10 people at donors’ homes. The host/hostess acts like a table captain and projects the livestream onto their big screen TV. The auctioneer can then have the live guests donating either; on their mobile bidding app or using a simulcast bidding platform (some platforms allow for this– check to see if your mobile bidding platform allows for this.) The remote guests are watching on their TV and have their phones ready on the app to bid.

See? It’s a beautiful thing… Costs are down as there is no venue to rent, no decorating costs, no backdrops and no food and beverage. However, you can still charge a ticket price and offer up a GrubHub delivery for your guests or have a bottle of wine delivered….so many ideas!!! We’d love to visit and go through ideas that can benefit your nonprofit! Please feel free to reach out to us!
Fall fundraising is just around the corner… crazy, right? We want to help you be prepared and have not only your “plan A”, but also your “plan B” in place.

Happy fundraising!