“Yes!” is a Blessing

From Becky Elliott, Auction Tech Team Chair, 11/23/2020

I volunteered to help with the auction this year with one goal in mind—to be able to offer bidder and donor statements right after the auction closed. I had done this at three previous churches, and I knew we could do it here at UUFR.

The journey began more than a year ago when an Initial Tech Team came together to select a software package. Many thanks to Bill Bestimt, Tom Atkinson, Linda Rogers, and Lewis Copulsky for saying “yes” to putting together a list of requirements, evaluating different software packages, and finally choosing a software package. Little did we know then that being able to bid online would be so important. Thank you, Bill, Tom, Linda, and Lewis.

The journey continued with the Auction Technical Team that spent many, many hours making sure the auction went smoothly. We discussed all the different software settings from whether to require a credit card to whether to send outbid notifications. We had “play” auctions just with ourselves before testing the system three different times. We agonized over how to set up the auction, how to test it, and what the bidder experience should be. I speak for all of us when I say that the job was much bigger and took many more hours of our time than we had anticipated.

  • Thank you, Art Lieberman, for saying you would “go the duration” when I really needed someone to join the team.
  • Thank you, Chris Wise, for saying “yes” early on and bringing auction and computer experience and steadiness to the team.
  • Thank you, Cathy Murphy, for adding pictures in the catalog for many items. I just couldn’t have done that job.
  • Thank you, Susan Silverio, for teaching us about software testing, checking the auction catalog, and spending many phone calls brainstorming and problem solving with me. You are a rock.
  • Thank you, Rebecca Marmaduke, for volunteering to make the training videos on how to use the auction website. We really needed someone with your skills and then you just showed up.
  • A huge thank you to our Staff Liaison, Lewis Copulsky, who helped with meetings, tech support, and ideas for making the auction successful.
  • Thank you to the dozens of UUFR members and friends who were early website testers and involved in three tests of the auction software. Because of your help and advice, we learned how to do the bidding, how to structure the auction, and how to lay out the catalog. You were integral to the auction success! Thank you for saying “yes” when we called.

When Danna Mattocks and I first started talking about the auction this year, we had no idea a pandemic would force us to make up new approaches to just about everything. We needed help. So, in addition to the Tech Team, there were many other people who said “yes” when I called and asked them if they would get involved with the auction.

  • Thank you, Sara Grover, for saying “yes” to organizing the basket idea. Within two days, you had a draft email to all the groups at church. And you sat through the auction website training! The basket idea really caught on with more than 50 baskets donated.
  • When I called folks about forming a communications team, David Ranii, Annie Wheliss, and Linda Rogers all said yes.
    • Thank you, David Ranii, for saying “yes” even though the job description was very vague. Every day you planned, wrote copy, checked details, and offered advice. Your continued offers of help with the website wording makes you an honorary member of the Tech Team. As a side note, thank you, Susan Silverio, for recruiting David.
    • Thank you, Linda Rogers, for agreeing to help with communications and most especially for recruiting Whit Hames, who contacted businesses for donations. Without the two of you, we would not have door prizes or raffle prizes. Thank you, Whit and Linda.
    • Thank you, Annie Wheliss, for your help with coordinating communications.
  • Thank you, Linda Liles, for saying “yes” when I called about the idea of offering desserts with the meals. You figured out the best way to do that and mobilized your network of bakers.
  • Thank you, David Potorti, for agreeing to be the auctioneer, and then, when we decided a live auction just wouldn’t work for us, for graciously agreeing to put together the live auction event, along with Chris Wise. Your Ford Fiesta is an honorary member of the Auction Team. Thank you, Chris and David, for saying “yes” when we realized we needed a final Zoom event!

Everyone listed here said “yes” when it would have been just as easy to say “no.” Every request for help was fairly vague, no clear job description, with a plea to somehow make it all work. Thank you, to everyone here for saying “yes” when I called. Each time I heard “yes,” I felt a little lighter. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Each “yes” truly was a blessing. Thank you.