How St. Louis University High School Went Virtual and Raised $1,000,000

St. Louis University High School’s 51st annual Cashbah auction is more than just a fundraiser for financial aid, it represents a hallmark of SLUH and its presence in the St. Louis community. Cancelling the event was not an option, so the team pivoted Cashbah 20/20 to #Cashbah2020 and took the event virtual with smashing success.

We wanted to make sure we were telling a story and not just saying ‘bid on these items.’ That’s really where the testimonials and livestreaming came in. We used the OneCause text message feature to promote them throughout the night. We wanted to incorporate as many aspects of an in-person event as possible because I think people are really craving that connection right now.

– John Penilla, Director of Annual Giving

Online Fundraising Activities

Online Fundraising Activities

St. Louis University High School’s 51st annual #Cashbah2020 tapped into multiple online fundraising activities to power their mission, including:

  • Silent Auction
  • Live Auction
  • Fund-A-Need
  • Livestream

What made this event unique

What Made This Event Unique?

St Louis University High School Giving Center

Visit the #Cashbah2020 Giving Center

The team made the quick decision to make tickets to the virtual event free. While a typical in-person SLUH fundraiser has around 700-800 attendees, the virtual #Cashbah2020 had over 1,800 attendees – showcasing the increase in reach that the virtual event was able to have.

In order to bring the event to life and incorporate as many aspects of an in-person event into their virtual event, the team gathered video testimonials from students, and had the school president and emcee on Facebook Live to add a personal, authentic touch.

The team also reached out to major donors to secure a few donations before the event started to get things rolling for the Fund-A-Need portion of their program. While their Fund-A-Need typically has a goal of $300,000, the team raised it to $425,000 and saw a major success, raising more than $470,000.

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

St. Louis University High School knew one thing was certain, they needed to bring the right virtual fundraising strategies to make their online event a success. These included:

  • Facebook Live from President and emcee
  • Virtual Happy Hours to mingle
  • Video testimonials from students
  • Text message updates and reminders
  • Free tickets to attend virtually
  • Personal phone calls to significant donors

Best Practices/Lessons Learned

Best Practices/Lessons Learned

When it comes to virtual fundraising, SLUH learned a lot from taking #Cashbah2020 virtual, and they want to share it with other #FearlessFundraisers! The team shared these best practices and lessons learned:

St. Louis University One Sheeter

Download the full SLUH One Sheeter

  • Use video testimonials to bring your mission to life.
  • Be authentic and entertaining in your videos and livestream.
  • Reach out to major donors before your fund-a-need.
  • Virtual events let you expand your reach.
  • Utilize your emcee on a livestream to keep things fun!
  • Create the ability for attendees to mingle with Zoom rooms.
  • Don’t forget to remind people why they’re supporting your cause.
  • It’s all about the content you create about your mission, how you bring that to life, and how you share it with your supporters.


  • $210,396 Silent Auction Proceeds
  • 6,598 Total Bids
  • 3,449 Total Supporters
  • $472,163 Fund-A-Need Proceeds

Connect with a Cause

To learn more about St. Louis University High School and support their mission, visit their website.

Wrapping Up!

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