COVID-19 transitioned the world to all things virtual, and Alexander Hamilton Scholars' (AHS) annual Gala & Fundraiser was no exception. Typically held on the last week of June, we had big decisions to make to ensure our lost revenue would be replaced. As Gala Co-Chair and Marketing Manager at AHS, I was tasked with learning a new platform, Auctria, to host the virtual auction and raise the paddle/collect online donations, design marketing materials and graphics, and create a cohesive communications strategy (with content) for the event.
I decided to emphasize the idea of being remote and created a theme that embraced it -- a simple wooden table upon which a laptop sits with various messages, with "Polaroid" photos of our students and signs hanging on the wall with push pins.
The two week period for social media strategy consisted of using the same setup for graphics to create brand recognition for the virtual auction. This design choice also ensured messaging for the virtual auction stood out against other content in AHS' social feed.
AHS' donor and supporter base is predominantly of an older generation, and so I collaborated with the Gala Co-Chair on adjusting the text size on the website and using high contrast colors for greater accessibility, as well as clear and plain language and instruction for navigating the website.
I created all copy and design for email and social media communication. Below is the launch email for the live Virtual Auction event. This email had an open rate of 38% and a click rate of 17%, which was a bit higher on average for other marketing campaigns to AHS' donor and supporter base.
By the end of the two-week campaign period, we raised $235,035, exceeding our goal by 118%. We relied heavily on our current donorbase, but were also able to expand our reach utilizing our Board of Directors' network.
With the success of the virtual platform, there are possibilities next year to use a combination of in-person live auction and virtual silent auction. I was able to grow my skills in website building, illustration, and strategic marketing for philanthropic means.