The Virtual Gala Fundraiser In a Box

Where training, technology, & talent convene -- it’s virtually perfect!

** This "all-inclusive get-it-done" program is designed for small nonprofits ready to hold a virtual gala.**

Thanks to COVID-19, 2020-2021 will not be soon forgotten.
Our life has changed – but your mission hasn’t.

Your work is still important. 

You’ve got needs to fund.

And the nonprofit experts all agree -- fundraising should NOT stop!

Enter the year of the virtual gala.

Your virtual gala should accomplish these objectives:
people

Build community connections

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Raise funds for your mission

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Celebrate your mission

Discover how easy it is to present a classy virtual gala that powerfully engages your donors -- for a fraction of the cost of an in-person event.

The "Virtual Gala Fundraiser in a Box" overview

There are 4 primary components to create your 1-hour virtual show:

  • Backend technology: Pre-event technical planning + back-end engineering to run an all-virtual (that is, a shelter-in-place), live interactive show on Zoom, and (if desired) broadcast to Facebook or YouTube.  You will not need to become an expert in platforms, live streaming, mixers, or software -- all of this is managed for you.  There's no extra technology for you to buy or learn.


  • Event consulting:  There are two parts to this.  First, your team will be encouraged to watch an online course that leads you through the basics of virtual galas.  Then we start private consulting!  You'll save enormous time using my templates, and learn auction psychology, and how we use it in the gala.
    • The fundraising components during your 60-90 minute virtual gala program could include a live auction (about 4-7 items) and a "paddle raise appeal."
    • The fundraising components beyond the virtual program could include an online silent auction, games, mystery pull, etc.


  • On-air talent: An articulate, savvy host/auctioneer for your online program.  (You may also want a person or two to speak live during your virtual gala, to represent your nonprofit.)


  • Event management / auction software: To manage registration and collect payments, you'll use auction software for registration, item management, and checkout.  (Note - If you already own software, I'll substitute a vacation or jewelry to use in your event.)


Want more specifics of "The Virtual Gala Fundraiser in a Box" program?

Details below...

PRE-EVENT:  Here's what happens before your gala day

Educational classes to plan your virtual gala

  • Before our first consultation, you'll watch a 4-hour virtual gala training to get up-to-speed on auction procurement, virtual gala timelines, scripting, ticketing ideas, marketing and more -- all designed to get guests to attend, engage, and donate.
  • Templates will be used to help you plan the show.
  • This educational resource will help nail down your on-air program.

(To be clear, for those of you who participated in my free "Conversation" series called "The Next 6 Months," this 4-hour training IS NOT THAT series.  The Conversation series was my observations of the industry and general teaching.  Though it's great information, it's not a specific training on how to produce a virtual gala.)

Private consulting with the auctioneer

  • After you’ve participated in the educational classes, you’ll have private consulting with Sherry Truhlar to strategize on your program, live auction items, and Fund a Need.

Private consulting with the A/V engineer

  • You’ll have up to 2 one-hour tech meetings with the A/V engineer who will oversee your event.
  • The tech team (2 people) will be managing your transitions for slides, speakers, music, videos, background images, and more.
  • You’ll be using the A/V team’s software license and upgrades; you do not need to buy them, or become an expert in the technology.

Event management / auction software and onboarding support

  • A one-year license of auction software.  (If you like the software and want to continue with it, you can renew your license next year.)
  • Onboarding support from a live human, not a website.
  • If you already own auction software, that's great!  We can use your software for registration, auction item management, and payment collection.  As a substitute for that component, I'll give you a choice of items we can use as an incentive during your virtual gala.  (You'll select from ~30 items of trips, jewelry, etc.)

Pre-event show rehearsal to bring it all together

  • A day or two before your virtual gala, you’ll have a dry run with your nonprofit team, the tech team, and your auctioneer.  Any kinks will be smoothed out so your virtual presentation runs trouble-free..

DURING THE EVENT:  Here's what to expect during your gala

Skilled and fun emcee / auctioneer for your event

  • Expect a well-versed and rehearsed auctioneer -- Sherry Truhlar will serve as your dynamic presenter.
  • Flexibility to serve as your emcee, auctioneer, speaker and/or all three.
  • Professional appearance so your nonprofit's image is elevated, even through an unusual year (or two) of fundraising.

Professional A/V team

  • Two technicians will be behind the scenes, working their magic to ensure your program runs smoothly to make the experience pressure-free for you
  • Up to two independent feeds -- Zoom + either Facebook or YouTube -- will broadcast your show.

AFTER THE EVENT: Here's what you get after the big show


  • You’ll get a backup recording of your virtual gala, either via hard disc or an .mp4 downloadable document.  You can use the recording as you’d like.
  • Use your event management /auction software to collect payments and send receipts to donors.
  • Celebrate your wins!  You just completed your first virtual gala.
More about this program...
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Who should invest in this program?

  • Small shop nonprofits
  • Schools (public or private)
  • Galas generally earning $300k or less.  
    • Though it’s always hard to label a gala as "large" or "small," I’m generally advising my $300k+ galas to go in a different technical direction.  This program is suitable for smaller galas.
    • This program has been used to host galas raising up to ~$500k, and guest log-ins of 28 (assume 56 guests) to 170 (assume 340 guests).
  • Galas with guest counts of 350 or fewer guests during in-person events.
    • This converts to about ~175 log-ins for your virtual event.
    • Our license and system accommodates up to 1000 logins, but this style of virtual gala is best suited for groups of 300 or fewer.  Larger groups tend to opt for "two-screen solution" virtual galas, which  are less personal (because guests can't see each other and latency delays prevent live bidding run by an auctioneer), but easier to manage when there are larger guest counts.
  • Nonprofits that have never hosted a gala. 
    • If a gala always seemed like too much work, a virtual gala is an excellent way to dip your toe in the water.  A virtual gala is a fraction of the cost of an in-person event and has fewer moving parts.  No need to hire a caterer, find a venue, pay a florist, invest in signage and printed invitations, buy gifts, book a band, reserve a photo booth, pay postage, etc.
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Who should NOT invest in this program?

  • Nonprofits with no donor lists.
  • Nonprofits with no idea of whom to invite.
  • Any group seeking a lot of customization. 
    • Minor customization is OK (“We want to use Zoom Rooms!”), but generally speaking, what you see above is what you get.
  • Large guest count galas. 
    • Though I've heard of some Zoom-based virtual galas including up to 900 logins, I don’t think it's the ideal format.  I’d be happy to work with you privately on a more appropriate approach.
  • Large galas with income generated primarily via sponsorship. 
    • Is your gala one of the best in your metro area?  Is it big and splashy with a well-known band, local celebrities, and lots of entertainment?  Are all your tables sold out via sponsorships?  If so, I’d say a Zoom-styled virtual gala isn’t your solution. I’d be happy to work with you privately on a more tailored approach.
  • Nonprofits with grandiose goals   
    • If you think this virtual gala will generate support from people who happen to stumble across the livestream ... it won't.  This isn't about converting the masses to your cause.  But this WILL provide you with a professional virtual gala you're going to be proud to host.

Present a program that pops

Virtual Gala Fundraiser in a Box
Connect with donors, virtually

It's affordable.

Raise critical funds for your work

A simple way to host an event.

"The Virtual Gala Fundraiser in a Box" does the heavy-lifting for you.

Schedule an appointment here to talk about your event!

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