How Trish foundation significantly increases live and silent auction fundraising

Trish Langsford had been a terrific sportswoman. Her achievements include, representing NSW in U/18, U/21 and open cricket teams, and representing Australia as Captain of the Australian U/23 team in 1994. She withdrew from cricket in 1994 after becoming ill. At age 23, Trish Langsford was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Her parents, Carol and Roy Langsford, were faced with the reality of supporting their daughter as she was dealing with this debilitating disease. Trish spent 4 ½ years in a nursing home before passing away in 2002, age 30.

MS is most commonly diagnosed in young people aged in their 20s or 30s. Australia averages more than 10 new diagnoses every week.

Carol Langsford OAM, Chairman of the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation and Roy Langsford OAM launched the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation in December 2000 with the goal of finding a cure or preventative strategy to eliminate this disease. To date, the foundation has raised over $5 million towards eradicating this disease. Every dollar raised goes directly to MS research.

Carol says, “We knew it was too late to help Trish as she was in the final stages of the disease. So we made a commitment to each other and to Trish that we would do all we can to support research with the goal of eradicating this awful disease. No-one should have to go through that.”

Major scientific breakthroughs

The Trish foundation has contributed to research projects which have led to greater understanding of the disease, led to development of drugs that can make patients more comfortable and two major scientific breakthroughs.

  1. A world first discovery of a blood biomarker which will simplify and speed up diagnosis enabling the most appropriate treatments. The Trish foundation supported Dr Edwin Lim, Macquarie University, in this joint research with Professor Gilles Guillemin also from Macquarie University.
  2. Identification of 57 genes associated with multiple sclerosis. This knowledge helps scientists understand environmental triggers leading to development of MS in susceptible people. The international study involved 250 researchers including Professor Graeme Stewart, Westmead Millennium Institute, and his team. Professor Stewart and his team received $200 000 funding from the Trish Foundation.

Every dollar matters

Fundamental to the charity is the commitment of every dollar raised being directly used for research. Administration costs are covered by the directors and the organisation is run entirely by volunteers. It is essential that costs are kept to a minimum and that any technology introduced is easily managed.

Annual Trish Ball putting fun into fundraising

One of the major events on the foundations fundraising calendar is the annual Trish Ball in Sydney. The aim of the Ball is to raise funds while providing a great night out full of entertainment and fun. The ball attracts 400-550 people annually and many attendees make the Trish Ball a must do event on their schedule year after year. Fundraising activities on the evening include a live auction and a silent auction.

The Trish Ball attracts generous support from corporations and individuals in donation of auction items.

Set up for a successful auction

A successful auction depends as much on the bidder experience as it does on quality donations. Bidders are looking for a fun experience, the excitement of finding something of value to them, winning the bid and knowing they have also contributed to a great cause.

Prior to 2016 items at the Trish Ball were displayed as photos or flyers in plastic frames. Then one of the younger volunteers suggested using iPads for display to create more appeal.

As the iPads would only be required for one day a year, purchasing them was not a reasonable option. Carol searched for iPad hire and found iPadforms. She got in touch with Shrey, from iPadforms.

Based in Sydney, iPadforms are one of the largest suppliers of iPad hire with one of the largest portfolio of devices in Australia. Pricing is transparent. There are no hidden costs. Rental policies are flexible, and they are proactive in customer support. iPadforms recognise the importance of reliability. It is essential for the equipment to be right on the night (or day).

“I was impressed with Shrey’s professionalism right from the start.” Carol says, “He has been very generous towards the foundation and nothing is too much trouble. He is reliable, always answers emails, iPads are always ready for pick up as ordered.”

iPadforms motivate bidders for competitive offers

The iPads are placed on stands that allow ample space for prominent display of the item donors logo directly underneath the iPad as it showcases their donated item.

The display area fills with excitement as bidders look at the beautiful pictures and discuss them over drinks and nibbles. They are entertained and engaged in the auction process. The overall tone of the event is a modern professional and luxurious experience.

“I have a power point template to use and all I have to do is put pictures of the auction items in, sometimes video as well, and another committee member loads them up.” Says Carol, “They roll over a number of pictures of the auction item and look absolutely stunning”.

“Wow, when I saw the effect and how beautiful the display looked – we have had a luxury yacht experience in Sydney harbour, and we have had a skydiving adventure as auction items. It looks so beautiful to have pictures and video. I have no doubt whatsoever that the iPad displays have led to more bids and a significant increase in funds raised this way. People get a very clear picture of the items they are bidding on.”

“There is no doubt the items promoted on iPads have raised more funds for research than would have otherwise been possible,” says Carol.



Customer: Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation

Event: Annual Trish Ball, 400-550 attendees

Activity: Live auction and silent auction fundraising

Technology: 12 iPads hired from iPadforms

Frequency: annually since 2016

Use: iPads showcase main auction items with PowerPoint presentations continuously rolling. The iPads are placed on stands prominently featuring donor details. These are set up on tables in a viewing area.

Results: Bidding is hotly contested and fundraising significantly enhanced. Item donors are incredibly pleased with the professional presentation of their donated items and prominent placement of their logos.


Author: Alison Eaton



Johnston, N. (2011, August 11). Scientists take a step towards finding MS cure. 7.30 with Leigh Sales. Sydney, NSW, Australia: Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved March 07, 2019, from

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Trish Mulitple Sclerosis Research Foundation. (n.d.). Research. Retrieved March 05, 2019, from Trish Mulitple Sclerosis Research Foundation: