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gala events

Fundraising Events are not for everyone

The perennial conversation around non-profit organizations’ board tables is “how can we raise [more] money?”  It feels like that question has singularly become the “raison d’être” for many non-profit organizations.  However, in some cases, the non-profit organization’s belief that a fundraising event is an effective way to raise money may be misguided at times.  This may sound counterintuitive.  Let me hasten to clarify: Some non-profits fail to do their homework and factor in the direct (venue rental, food, décor, entertainment, etc.) and indirect (staff, board and volunteer time) costs before they embark on holding a fundraiser.  Without due consideration of all the factors involved, it would be folly to take on a time-consuming and intense fundraising event.  Engaging a professional event planning company with solid expertise in working with non-profits can lighten the load and ensure success.

Some non-profits shy away from engaging an event planning company on financial grounds: “We can do it ourselves and save the cost”.  This couldn’t be further from the fact.  Numerous studies have shown that to be successful in holding a fundraising event, using a professional event planning company with proper credentials is paramount.  An event planning company can become your catalyst for success in your fundraising effort.  It brings to the table a discipline that is often lacking when an organization tries to carry out such an undertaking on its own.

Here are areas that an event planning company can guide you when embarking on a fundraising event:

1.     Identify your stakeholders:  In an age when so many non-profit organizations are competing for limited funds, knowing the universe of your donors and other stakeholders is a critical first step.  Your event planning company should help you identify the pool of possible donors depending on your cause and devise outreach strategies to “recruit” as many as possible.  The donor outreach program should also entail educating the prospective donors about the organization, the cause and its relevance to them—directly or indirectly. 

2.     Engage your donors:  Once you have identified and educated your donors, you still have a hurdle to overcome: To get the donors engaged—and keep them engaged.  Engaged donors make for life-long donors.  Much like everyone else, donors want to make a difference.  Your event planning company will help you devise strategies to create fulfillment for your donors.  The company should be able to come up with creative ways to make the need for donation a source of personal fulfillment for the donor.  In an age of social media frenzy, it’s relatively easy to reach out to a wide range of committed donors/stakeholders and create a lasting—and rewarding—following. 

3.     “Donors are forever:”  There is always the risk that an organization may view their donors only in the context of the event at hand.  Your event planning company should help you formulate a long-term strategy for keeping your donors engaged—and how a one-time donor can be converted into a life-long donor.  In fact, if your resources allow, you may want to consider to have a dedicated function for “donor relations”—much like many universities have an alumni department. 

4.     Fundraising with a purpose:  Fundraising events are not only about fundraising: This statement may sound oxymoron. However, a sustainable fundraising effort must be based on solid foundations. The organization’s mission, its goals and its cause are critical to the success of your fundraising—not just once, but on a recurring basis. Your stakeholders will need to remain engaged.  You need to devise a plan on keeping them engaged.  To do so, you need to have a multi-year action plan to “evergreen” your cause.  Your event planning company can help you with your “cause marketing.”  In the end, fundraising is about more than fine dining at a ritzy venue with top-rated entertainment.  It’s about engaging a collection of interested individuals and converting them into a group of committed ambassadors for your cause.  Only thus can you have a sustainable roadmap to long-term success.       

Make Your Groundbreaking Ceremony Extraordinary

We’ve all seen photos of groundbreaking ceremonies—smiling faces cutting a ribbon with a big scissor. How about making your groundbreaking ceremony into a cutting-edge ceremony? Something people would like to see. Something they will remember.

Invite your guests—supporters, customers, employees—to a buffet lunch—on the ground you are breaking! You can put up a tent with clear side walls so your guests can see the actual first shovel hit the dirt without worrying about wind and dust.

Design a program to thank supporters and sponsors and encourage your guests to mingle. Keep it short and simple; but be sure to include information about the purpose of your expansion—or the new building—or a second location.

When you are ready, you can still cut the ribbon with big scissors if you want. Give the invitees assigned to hold the ribbon hard hats to make the photo opportunity special.

Your Great Event can help with any groundbreaking—or any other—event you may be contemplating.

Your Great Event Produces Cirque Fantastique!

Your Great Event Produces Cirque Fantastique!

Glendale Memorial Health Foundation’s annual fundraiser Wine and Roses celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year with an evening of excellent food, spectacular entertainment, and a very special award presentation.

As a part of the “Human Kindness in the Making” initiative, the Glendale Memorial Health Foundation’s goal is 5 million dollars over five years. We are proud to say that the 2017 Wine and Roses gala, recently held at the Langham Pasadena, raised more than $340,000 toward that goal. Led by committee co-chairs Dr. Kathleen Dennis-Zarate and Haig Youredjian, Wine & Roses started off with a delicious dinner followed by the posthumous presentation of the Human Kindness Award to Edwin “Eddie” Johnston. Eddie was a well-respected businessman who supported Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center for many years. His family accepted the award in his behalf. 

Interspersed throughout the evening were performances by cirque artists including, Michael Raymer whose signature trick is spinning a McDonalds cheeseburger on an umbrella. Joining Michael were Sofie Dossi, contortionist extraordinaire, Marawa who holds the world record for 200 hula hoops at once, Maya Kramer, world renowned aerial artist, and Chris Crabber who balances more than 20 feet in the air on 9 chairs. The audience danced the night away to the music of Splash, a group of talented performers who have entertained at the Oscars and the Emmys.

We were excited to, once again, produce Wine and Roses for the Foundation. We’ve been creating events for them since 2006.  They took a risk by changing it up with a new theme, new entertainment, new start time, new everything. But these changes paid off by in a big way. At Your Great Event, we believe that our clients should experience event excellence – and be a guest at their own party.

We can replicate the same magic that was created for Wine & Roses for your event. Contact us today!

The event was also covered by the Los Angeles Times. Read more here.

The Crescenta Valley Weekly also covered the event. For the full article click here.

Dinner Set-up at the  Langham Huntington Pasadena Hotel    

Dinner Set-up at the Langham Huntington Pasadena Hotel

 

Silent Auction at the  Langham Huntington Pasadena Hotel

Silent Auction at the Langham Huntington Pasadena Hotel