How ForKids Took Their 19th Annual Art Auction Virtual, Fast!

ForKids serves thousands of families and children experiencing homelessness in Virginia, relying heavily on the funds raised in a single night to continue their mission. Relentless in their pursuit of helping children living in poverty in Southeastern Virginia, they took their 19th Annual ForKids Art Auction virtual, fast.

“Up until this year, our auction was the ultimate low-tech event. We still used bid paddles and it was part of our charm. So getting all of our people ready to use a new platform was a priority. We did an evening test with key donors and they had fun with it.” Thaler McCormick, ForKids

Online Fundraising Activities

Online Fundraising Activities

Despite being a traditional, low-tech fundraiser, after 19 years ForKids was able to successfully pivot their in-person fundraising activities online. These included:

  • Online Auction
  • Raffles
  • Online Donations

What made this event unique

What Made This Event Unique?

Click here to view their Giving Center



ForKids took their low-tech event virtual after 19 years of being a traditional in-person event. To be successful they selected key constituents to engage in multiple tests beforehand, created an influencer campaign to maximize their reach, worked with restaurants to deliver “Bidder Bites” to hungry supporters, and opened a tech support line to help supporters navigate the online event.

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

With the right approach, ForKids was able to adjust their fundraising strategy to fit the virtual world, expand their reach, and highlight the importance of their mission. Their strategies include:

  • Influencer/ambassador campaigns
  • Personally reach out to big donors from previous years to get them engaged
  • Keep Auctioneer to deliver information on the livestream
  • Real time monitoring bids and calling out names on the livestream
  • “Bidder Bites” – work with restaurants to deliver to people who wanted have appetizers

Best Practices/Lessons Learned

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

ForKids shared their takeaways for #FearlessFundraisers around the world who are going virtual, here’s what they suggest:

ForKids PDF Download

Download the ForKids Virtual Art Auction OneSheeter!

  • Reach out to big donors from previous year to join the virtual event
  • Have someone monitoring Facebook to keep the chatter going
  • Provide board members with tools needed to promote the event
  • Test your event run of show beforehand
  • Have a tech support line open during the event
  • Create a rule that the last donation the auctioneer called is the one that wins
  • Keep communication clear and concise
  • Keep it fun and entertaining



ForKids 19th Annual Art Auction, and first ever virtual event results were astounding:

  • Event Proceeds: $621,899
  • Online donations: $300,000
  • Silent Auction Proceeds: $311,899
  • Proceeds to % of Item Value: 364%
  • Average # of bids per package: 29.68

Connect with a Cause

You can learn more about ForKids and support their mission by visiting their website.

Wrapping Up!

More fundraising resources are just a click away.