12/5/17

Case Study: The Arnott's Foundation Gala Ball

 At the end of February 2017, The Arnott's Foundation held its ninth annual Gala Ball. The major fundraiser in the Foundation's calendar, the Ball continues to go from strength to strength each year. This year the event raised enough to fund 33 Camp Quality Family Camps - an impressive uplift of around 25% on last year. We talked to Jessica Wozniak from The Arnott's Foundation about some of the event's success factors.

Hi Jessica. Could you tell me a little bit about the Arnott's Foundation Gala Ball and which causes it supports.

The Gala Ball is the key event in our fundraising calendar. This year we raised enough money to fund 33 Camp Quality Family Camps. It's a great result and a big increase from last year. We're raising the bar every year so we're very excited about the event's 10th anniversary in 2018. The event primarily supports the children's cancer charity, Camp Quality. However, The Arnott's Foundation also supports Fairy Sparkle,Foodbank

and Driver Reviver

The fundraising uplift from last year is a terrific result. Was there a particular reason for the increase?  

We had really strong engagement from sponsors. We had lots of suppliers getting involved and supporting us through sponsorship packages, which was fantastic. That was the main difference. Every year the Gala attracts more interest and people are very enthusiastic about getting involved.

It's a high profile event. In terms of the marketing, what sort of things do you do to promote the event? 

A good proportion of the event attendees are employees. We also distribute invites to all our key suppliers. We've realised the bulk of our attendees are employees, suppliers, friends and family, and as such, we're finding that we don't need to push it too hard. The event more or less sells out through word of mouth. We do have some social media posts and we promote the event on our website to encourage participation in the silent auction and raffle.

Is that because anyone can anyone participate in those elements, even if they're not attending the Gala Ball?

Yes, we did post the link to the raffle and the silent auction on our social media channels and we did have some public interest in that regard.

GalaBid was delighted to be involved with event. Why did The Arnott's Foundation decide to partner with GalaBid?

Service and technology. Two key factors we value very highly, and from experience, GalaBid is strong at both.

That's great to hear. What do you specifically like about the GalaBid technology?

There are few things. Firstly I'm quite hands on, so I like being able to go into the backend and make any changes myself. The platform is easy to navigate and user-friendly. The fact that we could have our raffle and silent auction on the same web-site was a big benefit. It also was a big help to our volunteers on the night. They could just view one page on their iPads and didn’t need to flip between two pages. It was also much easier to direct guests to the one page.

The event items and prizes looked great on the web-site. What was your strategy there?

I like to have consistency right across the whole event. That means the event branding needs to be consistent from the web-site dashboards to the event’s big screens to the on-table booklets. I want to be streamlined with all the other event elements. Having the ability to customise what we show on our digital platforms was really important.

You opted for GalaBid's on-site support team. How did that work for the Ball?

We had Liam and Cecilia from GalaBid. Liam was fantastic with the technology piece and liaised straight away with the AV guys to work out what needed to happen and when. We had some ad-hoc requests during the night, such as current totals for the auctions or raffle. Liam was really good with these requests and made everything seamless - which was great. He also made helpful suggestions. Such as when we formatted the event display on our own computers it didn't necessarily match with how it looked on the big screen. Liam took that in hand and made it work for the space. Cecilia was fantastic with the volunteers. She took the lead and was a great point of contact for them in terms of using the iPads and in terms of engaging the guests with the GalaBid system.

We feel having someone who can take care of the technical elements and someone who can act as ‘front-of-house' can be really important on the night. We're delighted that worked well for the Gala Ball.

Yes! It definitely it took a weight off our shoulders. Especially with some of the volunteer briefings – they just took them in hand. I was thinking I might have to do them all, so it was great to be able to outsource that role.

Thanks for your time Jessica. Do you have any final tips or hints you would like to pass onto other fundraisers?

Having a company like GalaBid on board definitely makes life a lot easier. The support they give to get everything set up takes a weight off your shoulders and makes everything run much smoother.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Look to your network for support of fundraising events. Employees, suppliers and friends and family are likely to have an emotional connection to your event that will ensure a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere.
  2. Think about ways to simplify the process for your guests. For example, single web pages and consistent event branding make processes easier to understand.
  3. Outsource! Fundraising events can be stressful. Outsourcing certain elements, such as volunteer briefings, can make the event run smoother and easier.
  4. The ability to self-manage technology means changes can be made exactly when they are needed.

 

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