On September 17th, 2020, the YMCA of Metro North virtually held their annual gala in lieu of having an in-person event as a result of COVID-19. The event was appropriately titled “Where in the World … Did 2020 Go? A Fancy Hat and Pajama Pants Celebration” and featured live entertainment, impact stories from Y members, as well as auctions and raffle prizes.

The event raised more than $150,000 to help support the Y’s mission of youth development. Being able to virtually raise these funds during these challenging times is truly incredible! Just recently, we helped Citizen’s Inn raise $115,000 through their virtual gala which consisted of a day-long streaming and fundraising event. Our team here at GraVoc provided the YMCA of Metro North with our Virtual Fundraising Event services which consisted of coordinating the live-stream logistics as well as website development and design. Keep scrolling below to read how we put the Y’s virtual gala together!

Virtual Event Website

Our Web Development team created a website to act as the event ‘venue’ where users could watch the event. The website was designed to match the look and feel of the gala which was a Gatsby-type theme. During the weeks leading up to the event, we added new sponsor logos to the website as they came in as well as new event information. The site also featured a countdown clock which counted down the days, minutes and seconds to the event as well as a ‘Add to Calendar’ button where the user could add the event to their personal calendar and get a reminder as the event drew closer.

YMCA Virtual Gala

The night of the event, users went to our virtual gala website where they were able to watch and participate in the live event. For the raffle and auction portion of the event, we utilized Greater Giving which is a fundraising software that the YMCA is currently using. The users would go to the Greater Giving website to purchase their raffle tickets and take part in the auction. We added links to the main navigation menu as well as added buttons throughout the site linking to the auction and raffle pages on Greater Giving. This created a single point of access for the user where they were able to watch the event while simultaneously visiting the raffle and auction pages and making purchases.


Virtual Event Live Stream

Our Video Production team streamed the event and created the graphics including animations, lower thirds and video frames to match the event theme. We used our Green Screen studio at our office to create the virtual stage where the hosts spoke from during the live portions. The YMCA shot pre-recorded video segments and pictures to be used during the event and sent them over to us. Our producers took those videos and pictures and aired them throughout the event while switching to a live-stream in between the pre-recorded videos. Utilizing pre-recorded videos with a live-stream feed allows you to plan ahead and create  a well-produced event!

This was our 3rd year in a row helping the YMCA of Metro North with their annual gala, however, this year was the first time we streamed the event live rather than having an in-person event. We were able to take the same event and produce a virtual gala that users could stream, allowing the Y to continue to fundraise for youth development despite the restraints of social distancing.

If your organization is looking to host a virtual event in lieu of an in-person event as a result of COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Check out our Virtual Fundraising Event page for more information.

Read the Melrose Patch article on the YMCA’s Virtual Gala: Virtual Gala Raises more than $150,000 for YMCA of Metro North


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