After much consideration from the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, it will hold its annual Auction & Rummage Sale virtually for the second year in a row from June 24-26.
“We paid close attention to the governor and COVID numbers and felt we could not commit to in-person this year,” event chair Susie Burdick said. “We were about 50-50. All of us in the club and the community (are) missing the in-person event. But the safety of our volunteers and the thousands of people who attend led us clearly to online again.”
She also noted that their members and other community members include older and vulnerable people to COVID-19 and the club didn’t want to “put them at risk.”
At last year’s virtual auction, the club raised $113,219, and 100 percent of it went back to the community to help nonprofits and others deal with the pandemic, such as the city of Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Prepares, and the BI Fire Department for COVID assistance.
Burdick said, “People loved the online version and while we wait until it’s safe enough to be in-person, this is a good way to support the community.”
The club started with a small goal of raising $50,000, which it blew past in the first few hours. The Rotary had 1,048 items donated by 351 community members, 2,071 shoppers and 441 buyers who spent an average of about $115 per item.
“Many people loved shopping from the comfort of their homes,” Burdick said. “The neighbor-to-neighbor sale kept people safe as they picked up their items in the donor’s driveway or nearby location. There were no parking challenges and crowds for folks to navigate. And the expenses were way less and easily covered by sponsorships. Most people said they missed the live event but also loved being able to do it online …”
Burdick said she expects to have more community interest this year as this is the club’s second go-around with the virtual format, enhancing the software platform and internal systems to make it “even smoother and more accessible.”
“Rotarians have already invested countless hours in getting the most from the technology and streamlining the system,” she said. “We have redone the Rotary Auction & Rummage Sale website … so it is more user-friendly … As a wonderful testament to last year’s online event, almost one-hundred percent of the event volunteers signed up again for this year.”
Although the community is going to miss the traditional auction experience at Woodward Middle School where folks can mingle around the items, Burdick is confident that next year’s event will be back to normal. She’s even considering doing a hybrid event with some items available online.
“The best outcome of the online event was seeing how deeply and clearly the community supports the Bainbridge Island Rotary Club and the work we do,” Burdick said. “They expressed appreciation for our concern about public health and for not sitting on the sidelines while times were tough.”
For details go to visit bainbridgerotaryauction.org.
• Online item donations: June 1 at 8 a.m. through June 14 at 9 p.m.
• Online preview: June 23 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Online Auction/Rummage Sale: June 24 at 6 a.m. through June 26 at 5 p.m.
• Vehicles and boats: In-person viewing June 23 from 4-8 p.m., and June 24-26 by appointment. Vehicle and boat pick up June 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 pm.