The Avery Coonley School: Shifting Virtual to Support Their Community

The Avery Coonley School (ACS) weighed their options and knew they had to move their 38th Annual Auction online.

They also knew they needed to shift fundraising priority to provide financial tuition assistance to ensure that every ACS student will be able to return for the 2020-2021 school year. They planned, promoted, and executed their first online auction with huge success.

We tried to find ways to bring the aspects of the live event to the virtual space as best as we could. Parents and students were craving connection to their school community, and we were able to deliver that on event night. There was even talk about starting to do virtual fundraisers every year!” Kathleen Flynn, Avery Coonley School Events Coordinator

Online Fundraising Activities

Online Fundraising Activities

Ready to take action for their school, The Avery Coonley School was able to bring their fundraising activities online. These included:

What made this event unique

What Made This Event Unique?

Avery Coonley School Giving Center

Click above to view the ACS Giving Center!

ACS felt a duty to empower and aid their community in the midst of COVID-19, and made sure to have their fundraising reflect this unique time. All fundraising efforts were reallocated to the ACS COVID-19 Emergency Tuition Assistance Fund.

The Avery Coonley School strategized how to create engagement and motivation to give in a virtual world.

To drive engagement, they used OneCause Mobile Bidding to host everything in one place to minimize donor confusion. This included an online auction, Fund-A-Need, and raffle while also having a short video to kick-off the event followed by Zoom rooms for different grades to socialize.

A family-friendly atmosphere kept their ‘why’ for fundraising—the students— at the center of the event.

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

ACS drove donor engagement and motivation to give with these fundraising strategies:

  • Host all information in one place (OneCause Giving Center)
  • Create a event kick-off video
  • Pop into Zoom rooms with fundraising announcements
  • Include a Virtual Auction Program PDF on Giving Center
  • Create a ‘Super Silent’ category in their silent auction
  • Stagger closing times of different categories of the auction

Best Practices/Lessons Learned

Best Practices and Lessons Learned


Click above to download the ACS One Sheeter!

The Avery Coonley School implemented these best practices to make their virtual event a success:

  • Stagger raffle stops for processing time
  • Create a family-friendly environment for school fundraisers
  • Offer classroom experiences in the silent auction
  • Post the Virtual Auction Schedule so supporters know what to expect
  • Make funds timely & specific to your cause
  • Create Community: Zoom rooms by grade



The results were in, and ACS was extremely grateful for their success. They knew the funds raised would do great things for their school community. Their move to virtual paid off:

  • 376 donations
  • 12 avg. bids per silent auction item
  • $62,500 in silent auction proceeds
  • $65,529 Fund-A-Need
  • $134, 231 raised for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund
  • $270,000+ total raised