• Want to participate in the Greater Newport Chamber's annual auction? Now you can from anywhere.

    Want to participate in the Greater Newport Chamber's annual auction? Now you can from anywhere.

    Savana Dunning
    Newport Daily News
    Read the original article here

    For the first time, people far and wide can place bids on the vacation getaways, hotel stays and local goodies at the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce’s annual auction, which has moved to an entirely online format.

    “It will be open to the public, really, from wherever you are," said Kate Grotteberg, program director and head of events for the chamber. "So rather than that 100 people that go to the in-person event, this year we can have whoever is interested joining in on the auction and bidding on items from home, from their office, from the Newport-area, or really anywhere at all."

    “We’re excited to reach a much larger audience and get that marketing out for the businesses we’re promoting at the auction," Grotteberg said. 

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    Typically, the auction is a ticketed event mainly attended by the business members of the chamber. But, like many in-person events, it was canceled last year out of health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID pandemic. This year's auction was moved online partially due to concerns surrounding the delta variant’s increasing spread across the United States.

    Additionally, shifting the auction online and removing the usual $125 ticket price has opened the bidding to members of the public who might not have otherwise participated and, therefore, widens the pool of potential bidders.

    Money earned from the annual auction comprises a significant portion of the chamber’s funding for its general operations, so the chamber is hoping the larger pool of bidders will help increase the amount of money it receives from the event.

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    “The chamber is a 501(c)(6), so we’re a nonprofit, and our mission is to support the business community,” Grotteberg said. “Everything we raise goes towards the operations of the chamber, which includes educational programming, businesses development services, networking opportunities, marketing opportunities, advocacy at the city, state and federal levels. A lot of what we do for the community is funded by the money we raise at these events.”

    The auction will be accessible through the chamber’s website at newportchamber.com, with bidding to start on Dec 2 and ending Dec 5, just in time for the holiday season. All participants will need to do in order to bid is go to the “Virtual Auction” link on the top of the chamber’s website, log in with their name and phone or email address. 

    The group is also combining the auction event with its Holidays by the Sea marketing for local small businesses by giving them tier goals based on the price of the donation they receive for the auction. The tiers range from $25, which will earn the business a post on the chamber’s social media, to more than $3,000, which has a laundry list of marketing and promotion perks for the business. 

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    The chamber has only recently started accepting donations from local businesses, but over the years, items auctioned off have ranged from getaway vacation packages, to concert tickets, accessories, jewelry, apparel and gift cards to local restaurants.

    “We know that promoting our local businesses is more important than ever,” Grotteberg said. “It’s always out No. 1 priority this time of year as we enter into the holiday season, but this year more than ever it's really important to get the word out about all of our fantastic local businesses, so we’re hoping to reach more people this year.”

    Item donations aren’t solely limited to long-established Newport businesses, either. Grotteberg said the chamber welcomes local artists and smaller businesses trying to get off the ground to donate auction items if they want to participate.

    Additionally, businesses without auctionable items, such as banks, can purchase items from local businesses to donate in their name. Grotteberg also said she would look into the feasibility of accepting donations from individuals, and a form for donations will be available to fill out soon.

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