Artisan Auctions

Powerful Fundraising For Positive Change

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©2020 Artisan Auctions



Do you want to raise more money?

Hi, we’re Artisan Auctions. We exist for one purpose: to solve your auction challenges so you can fully fund your mission.


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About Artisan Auctions

Artisan Auctions has helped raise over $100 million for nonprofits, schools, and charitable foundations across the United States with Live and Silent Auctions.


Based out of Portland, Oregon, Artisan Auctions was founded by Certified Benefit Auction Specialist, Kelly Russell.

Kelly and her team of professional Benefit Auctioneers and Auction Planners can transform any fundraising event into an incredibly profitable moneymaker.

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Your COVID-19 Event Response Toolkit

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Your COVID-19 Event Toolkit

Do you have a fundraising event being impacted by COVID-19? A team of experts from Greater Giving, The AV Department, Artisan Auctions and Swaim Strategies have gathered together to provide you a variety of resources for a variety of possibilities. Our goal is to help you continue your fundraising.

If you’re trying to figure out your options, we hosted a free webinar in which covered all of these variables and demoed a virtual event for you (click the video above).

The Show Must Go On—Fundraising Despite the Odds

Link to watch the webinar:

In this post you will find the following:

  • Cancelling an Event: What steps to take if you are cancelling an event

  • Retaining your Sponsors: Recommendations to help you retain your sponsors in the event of a cancellation

  • Going Virtual: Resources and tools for alternatives to gathering large groups

  • Decision Making: How to decide to move forward with an event or not

  • Toolkit: Communications templates to help you with your announcements and downloadable resources [link to toolkit:]

  • Webinar: Our free webinar about options and alternatives to your fundraising event and how to respond to COVID-19

  • Hosting an Event: If your event is small and you decide to carry on, how to take precautions for a safe event if you are moving forward

We want to state that we are not Coronavirus experts. But we are fundraising event experts and our goal is to help you continue fundraising in light of restrictions being placed on gatherings during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cancelling an Event

While you should still expect to pay contract costs, if at all possible cancelling earlier may save you a little cost on food. If the food supplies have not yet been purchased by catering, you may be able to see a slight savings.

When you are cancelling your event, we recommend early communication go out to all vendors, volunteers and attendees.

We have provided you template language to get you started:

Be ready at the time of your announcement to also communicate alternatives. Are you exploring a future date alternative, are you going virtual or is there a donation link to give in lieu of attendance?

Retaining Your Sponsors

Cancelling an event can feel devastating, but retaining your sponsors is a way that you can reduce loss and can assure a lasting partnership. Communicate with your sponsors directly, get creative with future ways to sponsor and have an alternative to your sponsorship fulfillment plan. Here is a resource guide for you about maintaining your sponsorship support:

Going Virtual

We can help you transform your in-person celebration into a virtual event. The benefit is that you might be able to hit a bigger audience. The downside is that you may not see the same return as you had hoped for without the excitement of being live in the room. But going virtual still allows you to fundraise! Here are some virtual options for you to consider.

Online Auction

Host an online auction instead. If your procurement is done, upgrade to mobile bidding in your Greater Giving account. A promotional discount is being offered at this time and allows you to turn your event into an online campaign. Swaim Strategies can help you to make the switch, set up your auction packages and promote your campaign.

Virtual Event

You don’t have to stop with an online auction. You can actually hold a virtual event that allows people to log in, watch and participate. A virtual event will allow you to share your program, fulfill your sponsorship benefits and raise money during the broadcast by doing an appeal. We recommend tying your online auction into the virtual event but announcing the closing during the event.

Learn more about virtual events here:

We have assembled a team ready to help you flip your event to a virtual event or to answer questions. Contact Samantha Swaim at Swaim Strategies to engage a virtual team. She can be reached at 503-234-4546 or

A Virtual Team

Effectively raising money through a virtual event will require communication, production, a mobile-giving switchover on Greater Giving, an auctioneer host and powerful, concise content. Here are the critical resources we can provide:

  • Data Team: Our data team can set up your mobile giving platform on Greater Giving, prep all of your packages to go online, source photos for every package and support data tracking and registration support during the virtual event.

  • Content Team: We will reshape your 3.5-hour event into a powerful 30-minute virtual event.

  • Communications Team: We will craft all of your communications to attendees and sponsors, plus create email, website and social media content for you to market to a broader audience.

  • Production Team: Come to our studio or we’ll come to your event venue to film and host your virtual event. We will create overlay tools for you to promote your sponsors, market your auction and track your giving. Additionally, we can use content such as videos for your live feed.

  • Pre-Virtual Event Production: Are you interested in capturing a few speakers such as sponsors or honorees to include in your virtual feed? We can pre-film them at their own convenience in our studio and build them into your virtual feed.

  • Host / Auctioneer Team: This is going to require someone who is fast on their feet, can promote a lot of content in a short period of time and can be engaging. We can provide you a virtual event host who can support your content and your fundraising.


See our free webinar:

The Show Must Go On—Fundraising Despite the Odds

Review Link:

Tracey Lorts of Greater Giving, Samantha Swaim of Swaim Strategies along with Kelly Russell of Artisan Auctions will dive into the best practices, tools and steps you can take for your fundraising event during uncertain times. Our goal is to keep you fundraising. We will walk through the steps you can take to keep your guests safe and raise money, whether you decide to cancel, go on or go virtual. We will cover: 

- Safety practices to adopt after the pandemic

- Communication planning for cancellations

- Virtual event resources to go online and convert your live event into an online event

- Sponsorship planning to retain your corporate support

We will also share a virtual event demo to help you see what’s possible and will share some creative ideas for online campaigns, incentives and email campaigns.

Decision Making

Our primary recommendation when deciding if you are going to have an event is to follow your health department guidelines which can be found by Googling: The name of your state + health authority + COVID.

Additionally, information about COVID-19 can be found from the CDC here:

If your team is trying to consider the options, we have recommendations and considerations for you:

Hosting an Event

Are you outside of restricted areas or hosting a small gathering? If you are moving forward with your event, we recommend that you communicate in advance to all vendors, volunteers and staff encouraging them to be extra judicious. Ask them to be in communication early but to stay home if they are not feeling well or at risk of exposure.

We also recommend that you communicate to all of your guests, table hosts and sponsors. Additionally, communicate that your event is going on as planned but may change if health department recommendations change. We have provided you some template language to get you started on these communications:

At the event site, there are a lot of things you can do to be extra cautious. Here are our best practice tips for your in-person event:

  • Ask your AV team to provide a different microphone for every speaker that has been cleaned before the event.

  • Ask your catering team to take extra precautions in cleaning, hand washing and food prep.

  • Ask your venue to do a deep clean of all event spaces before the event.

  • Offer hand sanitizer for guests either at their table, at stations around the room or even as a gift at check-in if supplies allow.

  • Post signs around the venue reminding people to cover their cough, wash their hands, and return home if they’re not feeling well. Add this same information to your PowerPoint slides.

  • Finally, when you’re onsite, train all staff, vendors and volunteers to cover their cough, wash their hands and avoid handshakes and hugs.

  • If you’re hosting a silent auction, give everyone their own pen at registration to use throughout the night.

Here are downloadable templates for signs and PowerPoint reminders:

Finally, provide a way for guests who choose to stay home to participate in your event.

Give them a link to give online in lieu of attendance and consider hosting a live feed of your event for any guests not there. You can use Facebook Live as an online streaming tool or you can engage your AV team in a professional live feed, more information on that below.

Do you need help figuring out how to live stream? Call The AV Department and they will take care of you. Regardless of your location, they can either come stream for you or provide tools and resources to your onsite AV team:

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