I recently attended the 10th anniversary fundraising event for Pebble Tossers® and enjoyed an incredible evening held at a local golf club. This was the nonprofit organization’s first large fundraising event, and they knocked it out of the park. The event highlights included:
- Packed venue. Clearly, they picked the right size venue and worked to fill it.
- Exciting fund-a-need. While solicitations from the stage rarely capture the audience’s rapt attention – this one did. People eagerly raised their paddles at relatively high levels (over $1,000). A board member served as the auctioneer and did the “last hand standing” solicitation [You may recall this technique that Dean Crownover described on the podcast just a few weeks ago. The last hand standing raised several thousand more dollars by offering a gift level anyone in the room could afford ($100).
- Electrifying live auction. Most items sold ABOVE their fair market value. This indicates that the Pebble Tossers filled the room with donors not diners. It’s also a testament to the auctioneer.
- Everything about the event was mission-focused. Pebble Tossers® is a youth development nonprofit with a mission to empower and equip youth to lead through service. And this mission was present in every aspect of the event. We saw young people volunteering at the event, in bulletin boards covered with volunteer service project pictures and even the centerpieces. The table centerpieces included pebbles and tall dogwood seedlings that volunteers will use in future service projects. (When did you last classify event centerpieces as a program expense – NOT a fundraising expense?)
- Guests had a great time. People really enjoyed the event – even the fundraising portion of the evening. And people felt great joy in giving at the event.
My husband and I attend dozens of fundraising events every year, and we left the 10th anniversary celebration really impressed. It was well organized, had motivated donors as guests and was mission-themed.
A few days after the event, guests received the following infographic from Pebble Tossers®:
This infographic came with a brief thank you message and sponsor list. I have to admit, this is one of the best post-event messages I have ever received. In a glance, I had a sense of how the event performed as a
- volunteer opportunity
- service project and
- donor engagement tool.
And all the sponsors who received this message had to feel good about their support and participation.
Keep up the good work Pebble Tossers®, and let me know when your next fundraising event will be!
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