This week’s chapter spotlight is Beta Psi (San Jose State) who increased their fundraising by more than $6,000 at their 7th annual Red Dress Gala. Vice President of Marketing Sophia Hasham shares how she created unique ways to foster parent engagement, added creative fundraising activities for attendees and upgraded their venue to drive success!
Event name: Red Dress Gala
Location: Silver Creek Valley Country Club
How many times have you held this event?
Tell us a little bit about the event.
This year, our Red Dress Gala was phi-nominal! We had 200 guests attend our gorgeous country club venue where we had carnival games, a silent auction, photo booth and candy bar. We also had raffles where guests had the chance to win big ticket prizes such as an Apple Watch. We raised approximately $6,000 more than last year, about $15,000 total!
What types of activities did you add for your guests?
This year we gave guests the option to buy tickets to play carnival games and win prizes. The attendee who won the most games would win an Apple watch, which motivated guests to buy tickets. We also made a slideshow to recap the year, including pictures of the Phis, a short video from Phi Ball and we played a game show with our members to see how well they knew our philanthropy! We asked sisters and our King of Hearts contestants from last year to answer questions about Alpha Phi Foundation. For example, “what is the name of the grant awarded to a heart health provider?” answer, “the Heart to Heart Grant.” During this game we also had a slide show playing, showcasing pictures from our service and philanthropy events. Guests liked the opportunity to be involved and see what we have accomplished throughout the year.
What else contributed to your success?
There were several things that aided in the success of our event. The venue provided a full three course dinner, as well as a small coffee bar. Our guests felt the ticket price was worth it, making them more willing to donate more. In addition, the open space allowed us to display our auction baskets in the middle of the ballroom, drawing plenty of attention and bids. Another successful part of this year’s event was focusing our attention on getting donations.
What tips would you offer other chapters looking to host an event like this?
Focus your attention on getting donations, building committees and having seniors hold their committees accountable. We started asking around for donations early on (about three months before) and this paid off. We split our chapter into committees so everyone had a job. Our largest committee was the donations committee which was about 70% of the chapter. We made six teams and assigned a senior to be a captain for each. We gave each team our Donation Letter and a list of places to approach about making a donation, which made the process easy and straightforward. We also encouraged our members to ask their family and friends for donations. Other committees included decorations, set up, and clean up. It was very helpful and allowed our Dir. of Philanthropy and me to take care of all the other details!