So Much More Than Fundraising
A highlight this month was the energizing meeting with the Minneapolis Area REALTORS Foundation event committee kicking off the planning of their September gala. This committee is passionate and primed to work to take the event to the next level of impact.We love asking committee members, “What do you value most about this event?” The responses most frequently include:
“Learning something new about the organization.”
“Coming together to make a difference.”
“Being inspired by the client stories.”
“Making valuable connections.”
This month we delve into top reasons, in addition to fundraising, for investing resources in a gala-style event.
Six Reasons, Besides Fundraising, to Host a Gala
Planning a signature fundraising event takes more time and financial resources than other ways of raising money. So, why invest in a gala?
Organizations that are planning smartly and strategically are raising lots of money through their signature fundraising event, and also benefiting in other ways. By focusing on these six friend-raising and fun-raising outcomes, increased fund-raising is also certain to follow:
1. Building community. Filling a room with like-minded people provides a great environment for connecting and networking. Events bring people together who share a passion for the same cause and facilitate new and renewed connections.
2. Engaging new stakeholders.Events are a great way to introduce new people to your organization. Encourage board members, sponsors, and other major supporters to strategically invite people who have the potential to become invested stakeholders.
3. Informing and inspiring.A goal of every event should be for each of your guests, whether a long-time supporter or someone just getting to know you, to learn something new about your services and impact that they didn’t know before. Your signature event provides a golden opportunity to inspire your guests by sharing some of your most powerful storiesof how lives have been changed.
4. Launching something new. Your guests will feel honored to be among the first to know about an exciting initiative. Is there a new service offering, expansion of services, or milestone accomplishment you can highlight at your next event? At Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s, A Toast to Courage Gala, the special giving opportunity typically focuses on funding a new therapy technology or expanding innovative services to additional sites.
Guests during the Toast to Courage Gala reception had the opportunity to experience virtual reality rehabilitation technology which was the focus of the direct giving moment later in the evening.
5. Building your brand.A signature event is a great way to promote your brand. Prior to the event date, be strategic in sharing your organization’s story through the pre-event marketing. The most strategic events have a comprehensive guest experience plan that weaves mission throughout the entire event experience, from reception activities to the décor elements in the ballroom. Think about all of your communication platforms and event elements as opportunities to strengthen your brand.
6. Facilitating fun and memories. We believe the most successful fundraising events provide the perfect integration of mission and fun. Interactive, unexpected and fun elements will help your event stand out – and make your gala one that guests will enthusiastically anticipate attending next year!
BFA students were part of the red carpet experience at the 2019 “Guys and Dolls” – themed Guthrie Gala.
Introducing Kenzie Heilman
We are thrilled to announce Kenzie Heilman as the newest member of the Ann Plans team! Prior to joining us, Kenzie held event positions at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Venture, and River Valley Church.Kenzie’s areas of expertise include auction coordination, guest experience planning, event design, and logistics. She is excited to serve our nonprofit partners, and we know our clients and vendors will love working with her!
We hope these insights are helpful as you prepare to inspire generosity and make your next gala so much more than just a fundraiser.