Arena Stage's Smash Success
- For two years, Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.'s largest not-for-profit producing theater, traditionally held an offline auction in conjunction with its annual benefit. In 2005, Arena Stage decided to shake things up a bit and put their auction items on eBay in a separate, unique event. The success was so tremendous that the theater scrapped the benefit auction altogether and now uses eBay as a stand-alone event.
Funding Crucial Programs
- Arena Stage is passionate about American theater's power to inspire the community. In addition to staging eight shows a year, it runs a program to foster new playwrights, a literacy project, and a successful community engagement program designed to help young people cope with tragedy. By using funds raised on eBay to support these and other education projects, Arena Stage helps residents of the capital develop an array of creative and personal development skills.
Putting Arena Stage Center Stage
- Since eBay's site is popular worldwide, staff develop relationships with people outside their current circle of supporters. Sarah Benvenuti, Arena Stage’s Special Events Coordinator, remarks, "Every year we get a lot contacts who just stumble upon us. Some of these people who bid on items can really drive an auction up. Being able to connect with those people is a great asset." In fact, Arena has been able to turn some of the eBay bidders into more traditional donors. Before trying eBay, Arena Stage had considered several other online auction options, but ultimately felt eBay was the best bet. Sarah says many supporters are already comfortable with eBay and enthusiastic about using it to support one of their favorite organizations. She notes, "A private website might be unfamiliar to our constituents."
A Resounding Success
- In addition to providing a global audience for their auctions, Sarah feels eBay's platform allows a person anywhere in the world to find gifts for loved ones and have those items simultaneously support a nonprofit.
- Some of Arena Stage's highest listings included two Lasik procedures donated by a doctor (both went for over $3,000) and several vacations fetched over $2,000 each. To date, Arena Stage has raised over $80,000 with eBay for Charity. Sarah is especially thrilled with the results of last year's auction, "There were a few things we hadn’t thought of before and did at suggestions of eBay for Charity and MissionFish. The auction just blew up for us."