Last last week I heard an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID.
He was asked when normal human interactions might resume.
In today’s VLOG, I read his answer from that interview and consider what happens in that time period between everyone running virtual galas and then groups moving back to traditional in-person galas.
As you heard in my video, the short answer is that — with a lot of “ifs” — normal human interaction might resume in mid-fall 2021.
But even if we assume that the vaccine rollout goes well and is accepted, that alone doesn’t mean nonprofit galas will resume.
- Some people might still feel uncomfortable gathering in large groups.
- Some donors might have found they prefer participating in activities online.
- Some nonprofits might be best suited for virtual galas because of a geographically diverse support base.
And what happens in that time period as we leave virtual galas and re-enter into our more traditional in-person galas?
That’s the era of the “hybrid virtual gala.”
The hybrid virtual gala allows for a small gathering in-person, and a large gathering connecting via a livestream. The idea is that the nonprofit will develop an engaging program for both audiences that enables them to fully participate in the activities.
I’m betting that hybrid virtual galas will not be a good experience for most guests.
Homer (Odyssey) said, “‘If you serve too many masters, you’ll soon suffer.”
And suffer we may.
A hybrid virtual gala invites two unique audiences to the same event and attempts to make that one event serve everyone. I can imagine expenses skyrocketing as more technology and people are required to pull it off.
My take: Sticking to a 100% virtual gala or 100% in-person gala is going to be a better approach for most nonprofits. Do one thing and do it well, and re-evaluate a year or two down the road.
Rick Oncken says
I agree that trying to merge two different auctions makes many people feel at a loss as to the the honesty of the bidding. Also many older people are not as quick or as accurate in trying to bid in a timely fashion.
Sherry Truhlar says
You’re bringing up other challenges I hadn’t even addressed, Rick.
As a newly licensed auctioneer years ago, I attended auctions at Christy’s in NYC. Larger commercial auction houses like Christy’s have held “hybrid” events for a long time, but they call them simulcast auctions. Bidders bid via internet, phone, and in-person. But the motivations of those buyers is much different than a donor at a fundraiser.
And as you are mentioning, some populations will be less willing to embrace or trust the process.
Rick Gallo says
As always, on point and telling it like it is. I appreciate you and your vision for where our industry is and is heading.
Stay safe and stay well!
Sherry Truhlar says
Thank you, Rick. We are nearing the finish line with these 100% virtual galas. Just a few more miles to go; we all just need to hang in there!