Case Study: How Rotary Club of Tempe South Created Rotary’s Largest Online Auction

Looking for a solution after two years of nonexistent fundraising and low outreach, Harvey Hess found Givsum. The Rotary Club of Tempe South held the Service Above Self auction through Givsum, which they say is the largest online auction in Rotary International’s history.

The Story of Harvey Hess and Rotary Club of Tempe South

Harvey Hess has been a proud Rotarian for 12 years. However, he was no stranger to Rotary International before joining his Club. Harvey grew up surrounded by Rotary International his entire life as his father was involved with the organization for 54 years. Since joining the Rotary Club of Tempe South ten years ago, Harvey has worn many hats. Serving as the fundraising chair and program chair has led him to his next important role. He is currently the president-elect for 2022-2023 and will begin his role as president on July 1st, 2022.

The Challenge Rotary Club of Tempe South Faced Before Givsum

Rotary Club of Tempe South is a dynamic club that supports education for its community’s youth, aiding those less fortunate, and clean water initiatives. Prior to Givsum, Rotary Club of Tempe South had a website that was rather “static” and faced problems with outreach. Never satisfied with his Club’s outreach, Harvey wished for a solution that would help solve the issue of getting their fundraising and volunteer opportunities out to the community.

Prior to COVID-19, the Club put on several fundraisers a year such as raffles and selling bling at an annual electric light parade in Tempe. During COVID, all of their legacy fundraising methods fell apart. For two years Rotary Club of Tempe South’s fundraising efforts came to a halt. Harvey made it his mission to look for other ways to get back into the game.

Why Harvey Hess Chose Givsum for Rotary Club of Tempe South

Harvey first learned about Givsum when his Club’s district governor, Elizabeth Mahoney, put on the district’s first-ever Week of Service through Givsum in 2021. District 5495’s Week of Service involved over 100 Clubs and 3,000 Rotarians in Arizona. The Week of Service hosted a number of community service projects on Givsum, encouraging friends, families, businesses, and fellow charitable organizations to join in. Harvey saw Givsum as not only a platform to solve his Club’s issues with outreach, but as a solution to bring fundraising back to his Club. He immediately thought to himself, “this is the platform I’ve been looking for”.

“This is the platform I’ve been looking for. I immediately embraced Givsum. I saw it doing a better job with communicating to the community and getting the word out there.”

-Harvey Hess

After the Week of Service was a hit, Harvey knew that Givsum was the solution that his Club needed. He told Givsum’s CEO, Shawn Wehan, that once the platform released an online auction feature he would hit the ground running with it.

How Rotary Club of Tempe South Used Givsum

Harvey made the executive decision to bring back his Club’s fundraising with their first-ever online auction. He asked every member of his Club to contribute a minimum of one item to the auction. Many members contributed more than one item. It was named the “Service Above Self” auction after Rotary International’s motto.

Harvey wanted to market his Club’s auction as “Rotary’s Largest Virtual Auction“. The members of Rotary Club of Tempe South put all of their contributions together and were able to list trips, fun experiences, jewelry, and other valuable items. Throughout the process, Harvey highly emphasized the phrase “eyes on equals success” to his club members. “If we don’t do a good job getting eyes on this auction, it won’t be successful. The numbers are important. You need to get a lot of eyes on whatever you’re doing.”

Harvey’s work with various nonprofits over his life and professional background in marketing gave him knowledge of the importance of having an emotional tie. “If people can’t get emotionally tied to what you’re doing, it will pass them by”. Harvey wanted people outside of Rotary to understand the work that Rotary Clubs do for their communities. By creating an emotional tie by explaining how donations would go to bettering the community, people would be more likely to understand and participate.

The Results

givsum rotary tempe south online auction case study service above self

“This was the best fundraiser we’ve done in the past five years. Our Club members thought it was wonderful. They are still talking about it.”

-Harvey Hess

Harvey shared that the process of running an auction on Givsum was wonderful. In his eyes, Givsum took all of the features that are great and necessary to run an auction and put it all on one platform. He insisted that with Givsum, anyone can run an auction. Any Rotary Club can do it.

During the auction, which ran from February 25th-28th, Harvey encouraged his fellow Club members to post their auction link online. He reminded them that “eyes on equals success” and how important it was to share the auction to let people know about it. Because of Givsum, Rotary Club of Tempe South was able to expand its network and communicate the auction to an entirely new audience. This led them to achieve the outreach they’d never had before.

The Service Above Self Auction had 130+ auction items. For their first ever-online auction, it was a major hit and the members of Rotary Club of Tempe South were extremely pleased. Harvey noted that he and his Club learned a lot from the process and are anticipating their next one. Although the auction was two months ago, Harvey’s fellow members are still talking about the fundraiser. It has since been used as an inspiration for other Rotary Clubs around the country.

In conclusion, the chance that Harvey took to go online with Givsum for his auction was well worth the reward.