Columbia Land Trust held another wildly successful event last weekend at Montgomery Park. A great portion of that success can be traced to the momentum they were able to capitalize on due to the event’s actual format, one that they started to play with three years ago.
CLT’s dedicated audience is comprised of people passionate about the mission of the organization. This means they have the ‘right’ people in the room for fundraising. That also means many of them know each other and the event is a great touch base for them to see each other and catch up. Sometimes, this can be challenging when you need the audience to be focused on fundraising during the program.
Columbia Land Trust got in front of this to hit both targets by reformatting their event to maximize the potential for both fundraising AND socializing. They started with a standing cocktail hour and select silent auction. This allowed for friends to greet each other, and also participate in raising money through silent auction items carefully calibrated to the outdoor, wine-loving nature of the crowd.
The audience was then moved into theatre style seating for a tight program that included a great talk by their Executive Director, a live auction of items hand-picked to match the tastes of the audience, and a compelling special appeal story followed by an ask and a collection.
Once the money was raised, the music came on upstairs and the audience moved into the party. Seated, family-style catering and a festive music-filled room opened up to allow all the friendly connections to continue. No other fundraising was asked of the crowd, just fun, food, and friends. It was a win-win, CLT hit all of their fundraising goals due to the passionate and generous support, and then everyone got to celebrate and raise a glass to the success.
The format of a fundraising event is one of the largest tools you have to create momentum. Think about your audience, think about your goals, and find a way to bring all of them together.
Congratulations to Columbia Land Trust on another great event!