Calling All Event Planners
Here at PetFix, we have a wonderful fundraising committee, willing and able to take on just about anything, but after five years of coming up with series of successful benefits in a highly competitive market, we’ve hit a bit of a wall. Actually, we spent the past few months looking into a new event we hoped to launch next fall, but have reluctantly concluded that it would be too much of a financial risk. The committee will be getting together next week to select a substitute. We’re all doing our research beforehand. For me, that means asking for your best event ideas. Since I’m a great believer in tit for tat, let me share what’s worked for us so far. I’ll be happy to give more information to anyone interested.
When we started our mobile spay/neuter clinic five years ago, we really didn’t have much of a funding base. Few people knew who we were, and spay/neuter was not a popular cause except among the most sophisticated animal welfare supporters. To get things started, we came up with a series of girls’ night-out events called “Fixations” – designed not so much to attract animal people, but rather to attract an audience interested in fashion and beauty. Once we got the women in the door, we planned to introduce them to our fixation – ending pet overpopulation. We also made the decision early on that all of our events would feature the word “FIX” in the hope that it would become ingrained in the popular consciousness.
The first “Fixations” featured mini-makeovers and consultations by the experts from the Nordstrom cosmetic department. Lots of free samples; signature drinks like the Meowy Wowy, Sterile Feral, and Dirty Muttini; fancy food stations, and a silent auction featuring spa packages, jewelry and other luxury items rounded out the evening. Probably the most popular feature, however, was the Shelter Dog Makeover – before-and-after appearances by dogs from one of the agencies we serve glammed up by a local groomer. They all got adopted!
“Fixations” was an instant hit, clearing about $20K for operations, so we did it again the following year, with few changes. The third year, we turned to Aveda, changed the name to “Fixations Green and Gorgeous: an evening of earth-friendly pampering,” moved from an urban setting to a spa-like club in the country, and added henna tattoos and a series of wellness activities. Again, the women loved it and we made our goal – but the committee decided it was time to invite men to the party. So, in 2009, we offered “Fixations: His and Hers,” keeping all the girlie stuff and adding instruction from a golf pro, a “Pitches for Stitches” corn hole tournament, scotch tasting and a beer garden. The silent auction, good food, and, of course, the Shelter Dog Makeovers remained. We netted just over $30K that year.
But we felt we just might have exhausted the Fixations theme, so this year we held our first “Fix, Rattle & Roll,” a “rockin’ good party” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (yes, it’s in Cleveland, the HOME of rock and roll, but I digress). It was a great event and one we think can grow, so we’ll be repeating it in 2011 with a goal of $40K net. What we’re looking for now is a second event – one to bring in just about $10-15K.
OK, that’s my story. Now I’d love to hear yours. What’s the very best event you’ve held to raise funds for your organization?