17th Annual Flying to New Heights Auction goes Virtual for 2020

The annual Flying to New Heights Auction has served as the main fundraising event for the Bong Center with a night of fun and excitement. Guests would gather at Grandma’s Sports Garden in Duluth to bid on auction items and make donations to support the Center’s mission. However, due to the pandemic, an in-person event was not going to work. That’s when the work began to convert the event to a virtual one.

“Once the decision was made, then we really had to figure out the mechanics,” says Executive Director Dustin Heckman. Members of the planning committee started looking at virtual fundraising tips, watching other virtual events, talking with other nonprofits, and reviewing options for platforms to host the event. “We knew there were going to be challenges in shifting to a virtual event, but we also saw many opportunities that could enhance the event as well as others in the future,” says Tim Sauter, chair of the Auction Committee and Vice Chair of the Bong Center Board of Directors.

One opportunity that quickly became apparent was the ability to reach a wider audience by going virtual. In past years, the event was limited based on available space at the venue. Now, the Center is able to open the event up to an unlimited number of people from across the country. There is also no fee to participate. Another opportunity – utilizing the power of video to tell the Bong Center’s story through multiple voices. “Since we had the ability to utilize videography more than in past years, we really wanted to showcase the people who do some of the work behind-the-scenes or were directly impacted by our programs and the work done at the Center,” says Heckman. “Those are the sort of testimonials that can live on beyond this event.”

The live video event will take place on Friday, December 4 at 7 pm. To find out more about the event, bid on auction items, or make a donation, visit http://newheights2020.givesmart.com/

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