In the nonprofit world, making every penny count isn’t just a nice idea – it’s a necessity. This is especially apparent when it comes to fundraising events. Our grantees work hard to balance the cost of hosting with the rewards of networking. They invest precious time, energy, and resources into facilitating experiences that bring new donors in the door and inspire current donors to do more.
Event planning is strenuous at the best of times. And while nonprofits may have had 2020 contingency plans for bad weather, they certainly didn’t have contingency plans for a global pandemic. At least not at first. The challenges of 2020 are grave, but our grantees have overcome each setback with strategic decision-making and thoughtful communication.
The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte (RMHC) is one such partner. Its annual Storybook Ball is a well-attended gala with a memorable theme that nets six figures. Although a traditional gala wasn’t an option this year, RMHC leadership dreamt up an alternative, and it made for quite the fairytale ending.
TLLF’s Lauren Joseph, an RMHC volunteer, sat on the events committee for Storybook Ball 2.0, a virtual tailgating event centered around football season in the Carolinas. Jerseys and Jewels was a ticketed experience that guests accessed through their computers from the comfort of their own homes.
RMHC revamped the concept of giving tiers, by offering a series of packages at increasing price points. Each package came with donor perks, like raffle tickets and merchandise, and corresponded to an RMHC need. For instance, the Team Player package, at $50, covered the cost of a meal for two families staying at RMHC.
Lauren shares: “It was really successful. They netted over $120K! For context, [the] Storybook Ball raised a little under $75K last year.”
Not all organizations are poised to pivot major fundraisers in this way. For RMHC, a virtual event still required financial investment, a planning committee, and sponsors. But the takeaways are compelling. The tailgate attracted a broader audience, provided a low-barrier of entry for more unique donors, raised more money, and cost less than the original ball. Jerseys and Jewels was a glittering success; it is a testament to the enduring generosity of our community even amid great uncertainty.