For the first time ever, people will be able to bid on the Rotary Auction online.
Auction coordinator Frank Williams introduced online live bidding and pre-bidding on all items this year in order to reach out to a wider audience.
“We’re kind of looking at it for the past few years and we thought, ‘Look, there’s got to be a way to reach out to some more people,” said Williams.
“We figured that there would be a good way. We looked around for some systems that were already in existence and we found one that had actually been created by another Rotary Club in the States for exactly the same reasons that we had too.”
In lieu of going to the auction on Nov. 25 and 26 at the Hudson Bay Lodge, or listening to the radio, bidders can go to smithersrotary.ca to find a link to the online auction.
“It’s still going to be on the radio,” said Williams, “We’re still doing everything basically the same way, we’re just adding a new component of it.”
“We don’t want to change things too drastically, but hopefully by getting stuff out and having more information that you can view online, it will help people better choose the items that they want.”
Since last Thursday, online bidders can place bids on items such as flights, tours, gift certificates and services. All items were donated by the community.
“Rotary Club of Smithers does lots of community projects. We have tons of things that we support yearly,” said Williams.
Williams added that the funds from the Rotary Auction goes back into the community. He pointed out the funds have gone into building Heritage Park, the trail from Hudson Bay Mountain to town and funding bursaries. The recent Arts Fest was also funded by them, he said.
Williams estimates that the Auction generates $25,000 to $30,000 on average.
Every year, the Rotary Club selects a beneficiary where it donates a major portion of its proceeds.
This year, the Smithers Mountain Bike Association will take half of the proceeds to develop its youth trails.
“We were looking for projects that were coming up that we thought would benefit the community and of the ones that were brought to our attention, that was the one chosen by the committee,” said Williams.
The Club’s committee saw this as a good choice because it was youth-oriented and believed that among the choices they had, this project would benefit the community the most.
Last year, the Rotary Club funded the skate park expansion, donating $18,000 to them. In 2013, they donated $16,000 towards the construction of the new arena.
Williams believes that the Auction is a good time for people to kill two birds with one stone.
“Christmas is coming, New Year’s coming up. There’s probably a lot of stuff that people are maybe planning on purchasing anyway,” said Williams. “So if it’s something that we got at the auction.” “There’s an opportunity to still get the things you wanted to and support the Rotary Club at the same time.”