How The High Museum Raised 400K In Their Virtual Wine Auction

The High Museum Wine Auction is the largest fundraising event for The High Museum, the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. Proceeds from the Auction are a vital part of the Museum’s exhibition and education plan and help bring exciting exhibitions to Atlanta. The funds raised at the auction also help support art education programming for thousands of children each year, making it even more important to pivot to a virtual auction, fast. 

We looked into doing a virtual event to keep our auctioneer. We loved the idea of it, but we didn’t feel like we had enough time before the event. So, we opted to do an online auction without the virtual participation aspect.Casey Murphy, Wine Auction and Special Events​ Manager

Online Fundraising Activities

Online Fundraising Activities

The High Museum took their high-end in-person wine event online, through:

  • Online Auction
  • Raffles
  • Online Donations
  • Paddle Raise

What made this event unique

What Made This Event Unique?

High Museum of Art Atlanta


The High Museum took their Annual Wine Auction online in just a few weeks. By advertising their silent auction lots one week prior to the event, utilizing rolling lot closures, and sending clear communications to their supporters, they were able to successfully hold their auction online! 

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

Virtual Fundraising Strategies

With the right approach, The High Museum was able to adjust their fundraising strategy to fit the virtual world, expand their reach, and highlight the importance of their mission. In order to make this event a success, The High Museum:

  • Utilized segmented engagement strategies.
  • Buy in Lots: buy it now prices for 25 cases of wine and 5 parties.
  • Live-streamed donation thermometer.
  • Encouraged supporters to share on their networks.
  • Advertised preview date prior to going live.
  • Grew fundraising list by adding bidders to distribution list.
  • Sent rolling texts and social post for day of communications.

Best Practices/Lessons Learned

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

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

The High Museum One Sheeter

Click here to download The High Museum One-Sheeter

  • Rolling closure lots: giving bidders the ability to prioritize funds by letting them know if they won in waves.
  • Focus donation thermometer on amount and names
  • Leave auction open Monday – Saturday
  • Clear donor communication
  • Personally reach out to winning bidders after the event
  • Keep their donation appeal personal by recording a video about where money goes and the importance of their donations.



The High Museum Wine Auction, and first virtual auction results were astounding:

  • $407,159 Event Proceeds
  • $44,080 Online donations
  • $326,079 Silent Auction Proceeds
  • 6.58 Average # of bids per package

Connect with a Cause

You can learn more about The High Museum and support their mission by visiting their website.

Wrapping Up!

More fundraising resources are just a click away.