It’s a party! Unique non-profit special event fundraisers: Part 3

Welcome to non-profit special event season. At least that is the case where I live. So, my partner and I have been making the rounds, and I thought I’d share some of the more unique special event ideas I’ve seen throughout the week. Today, we’re talking about TWO very special and unique special events put on by the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands (Omaha, NE). Tomorrow we’ll wrap up all of this event mania with a post on how to replicate some of these unique ideas from the last few days back home at your agency.

A Chair Affair

For 10 years, the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester has built a unique special event fundraiser they call “A Chair Affair”. While I have never attended, I’ve heard lots and lots about it from staff and volunteers throughout the years. In a nut shell, local (and even not-so-local artists) decorate a wide variety of chairs, and the Club invites donors to bid on them in both silent and live auction formats. Click here to check out some of this year’s interesting selections.

As I have done the last few days with other special events, I’m going to offer my observations on what I see in a “just the facts ma’am” format:

  • I see a sold out event and hear lots of chatter and enthusiasm!
  • The Club uses technology to promote this fundraiser. It is on their agency website. The event has a stand alone website with lots and lots of information. They use Facebook to promote this as well.
  • There appears to be many revenue streams woven throughout this event including: sponsorship opportunities, tiered ticket sales for VIP vs general admission,  and different auction formats including silent, almost-silent and live)
  • There appears to be a FUN theme, and this year’s theme revolves around a Masquerade Ball concept. There is unique event logo every year that matches the theme.

Please join me in congratulating this organization’s new Chief Professional Officer, Jodi Millerbernd, and her amazing event volunteers for a decade of creativity and a SELL OUT event set to go off without a hitch this Saturday!

Stock Market Challenge™

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands (Omaha, NE) runs a special event called the Stock Market Challenge™ . I will leave the explanation of this event to the Club:

“The Stock Market Challenge™ is an electric ride through the ticker tape of the stock-exchange floor! It is the most high-tech and chaotic event offered to non-profits, and is the only fundraiser that doubles as an educator for students, who will gain more insight and understanding regarding the fluctuations of the Market by participating.”

Again, here is what I see:

  • Not surprisingly, this Club uses technology to create a buzz and promote participation. It’s on their website. They produced a YouTube video to promote participation and give corporate sponsors marketing impressions. Knowing this Club, I’m sure they tweeted it, talked about it on Facebook, and were very innovative with their social media approach.
  •  As with all of the events we’ve looked at this week, there appears to me multiple revenue streams tied into the event (e.g sponsorships, price of admission, etc).
  • There is a myriad of sponsorship levels with tiered benefits tied to marketing, room placement, and advantages in the stock market game.
  • The biggest and most refreshing thing I see with this event is that it is seamlessly woven into the fabric of this organization’s MISSION! Club kids are assigned to corporate teams. Kids learn about the stock market. Donors get to interact with the kids. Donors get to help teach kids a thing or two about investment.

It doesn’t get much more mission-focused that this. Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands for amazing outside-the-box thinking on this unique special event!

So, this week I’m trying something different. Rather than spell out what I think the “lessons learned” and “best practices” (or not so best practices) are around special event fundraising, I thought I’d turn that opportunity over to you. What struck you as interesting? What takeaway lessons do you see? What best practices were used? Did anything about this event make you nervous? If you’re intimidated and don’t want to critique a fellow agency, please feel free to share best practices (or lessons learned) that your non-profit agency uses during the implementation of your events?

Please scroll down and use the comment box found below to answer any and all of the these questions.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

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