Successfully moving an event from the real world to the virtual realm is a challenge.
But trying to move a physical fundraiser that generates a large portion of an organization’s funding for the year from the land of hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and hob-nobbing to the equivalent of an eBay shopping excursion is a very steep cliff to scale. According to Executive Director Marcia Patout at the Bayou Teche Museum, that’s exactly what the organization is doing this year — and so far doing well.
“It’s going good,” Patout said Friday. “So far, there are bids coming in on almost all of the items.”
The museum moved the bulk of its auction, which traditionally culminates with its “Night at the Museum” fundraising gala, to an online format last year. The restrictions of an ongoing pandemic, however, forced the cancellation of the in-person event. So this year the auction is going solo as an online fundraiser.
The auction opened last week on Monday. With one week in the books, the bidding will continue and hopefully intensify until next Sunday at 6 p.m., when it closes.
“Traditionally, the last week of the auction is always the most active and interesting,” Patout said.
She said that some longtime followers of the auction said that art bidding gets especially fierce as the deadline approaches.
“Several seasoned art auction bidders tell us that art always does well during the closing days,” Patout said. “I am a bit surprised at the Melanie Fowler Orthodontist braces package, but we just made a few adjustments to help visibility and made a few calls, so will should change shortly. Otherwise, it is all good.”
Even if the auction is doing gangbusters this year, Patout can’t wait to get back to a live event when the pandemic ebbs.
“It’s just nerve wracking that this is our main fundraising effort and we get to watch in slow motion,” she said. “Nothing holds a candle to the fun and fast pace of Sen. Fred Mills’ auction antics.”