Christians 20/30 Great Gatsby Charity Ball

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Christians 20/30 held their second major event for 2014 in July 2014. My main responsibility was to organise and operate the charity silent auction component of the event.

In total I spent about six weeks planning the entire thing, from the moment I was assigned the responsibility within the team of organisers. We all had a different role to play for the main event so with the top-level directive, I ran with it from start to completion. This event review forms the first article within a series on Event Production & Management.

The initial few weeks was spent in a research and investigation phase, where I reviewed a number of different options to what online website systems existed and were available for use for our event and charity auction. Although technically separate, the development of the Christians 20/30 website incorporated and shared some aspects of this phase and planning. The intention and goal was that whatever silent auction system was utilised, it would be the inaugural use of the Christians 20/30 website. Whilst the Charity Ball was not itself fully promoted via the new website, the silent auction was officially hosted by the website.

The set-up and establishment of the Christians 20/30 website was performed over a two-week period, with the domain registered, host provider selected and then quickly configured. To simplify and also allow for easy ongoing maintenance, WordPress was selected as the content management platform. The investigation for a suitable auction platform shifted to looking within the vast range of WordPress plugins. WP Auctions was selected based on its rating and usability. An initial review and test instance was conducted here at XBOP before being migrated to the Christians 20/30 website/domain.

Simultaneous to working out the online auction system, much work was undertaken to collect and gather suitable auction items. Items donated were received not just by myself, but also via the other event coordinators. Quite a few items came as a pair, with two offers available for each distinct auction item. The development of hard-copy collateral for the auction items was produced in the week leading up to the big event. Bid sheets were created to facilitate the on-night silent auction bidding. The branding and content were revised to align with the desired look and feel of the night. Thick 200g paper was used to produce a classy finish.

Clipboards and pens were acquired in readiness for the physical operation of the silent auction. The plan was to operate the silent auction via online means for the final fortnight leading up to the event. As at 5pm on the day of the event, the online auction was concluded with the final bids transferred to the physical bid sheets. Of all the 14 auction items, only two had not received any bids at that point in time.

An additional set of raffles books was organised to cater for an on-the-night raffle. To keep things simple, it was agreed to set raffle tickets at $5 each, or $10 for three. The $10 option proved to be a popular option and the raffle alone raised almost $1000. The raffle prize was an iPad Mini since we were fortunate to have acquired two units from separate donors. The use of pricing units of $5 and $10 was also intentional to negate the need for handling coins unnecessarily and create additional overhead. It also meant that issuing out change was simple once the first set of people had paid $5. Repeated promotion and reminder throughout the night of both the raffle and the silent auction ensure a sustained level of interest.

The final silent auction proceeds were combined with the portion of ticket sales which was also donated to Many Rooms Kitchens – a total of $5906.35.

As part of preparing the hard copy printed bid sheets, a presentation slide pack was also prepared and loaded into ProPresenter. As a result of deciding to use ProPresenter (and my Macbook) for video projection at the venue, I quickly created an opening slide for the night, to be used as a background image throughout the night. During the times of DJ music and dancing, I also had on hand my library of background video loops which helped to enhance the visual effects throughout the night. One video was also loaded into the playlist to support the brief speech segment provided by the Director of Many Rooms Kitchens – Nick Coombs.

Being a part of the organising committee for the ball was a great privilege. My services extended beyond just the event itself and as mentioned earlier, also involved developing and setting up the main Christians 20/30 website, which is a more long-term project, extending beyond the immediate needs of the event itself. This project continues even now in September and beyond as we slowly continue to enhance and migrate data into the main website.

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