This week’s chapter spotlight is Epsilon Xi (Southern Illinois) who hosted their 10th annual Red Dress Gala and doubled their fundraising goal! Taylor Bodine, former vice president of marketing, shares some tips for games you can introduce to your Red Dress Gala to make it your best yet!
Event Name: Red Dress Gala
Location: Hilton at Ball Park Village in St. Louis
How many times have you held this event?
Tell us a bit about the event.
With more than 575 guests in attendance, Epsilon Xi’s 10th annual Red Dress Gala began with a cocktail hour, where guests enjoyed 60 silent auction items, participated in our Wine Pull, entered our Heads or Tails game and had some fun at our photo booth. During our Red Dress Ceremony, we recognized our premier sponsor who donated $5,800, an Alpha Phi Foundation representative spoke about the impact we would be making that night, which was followed by the paddle raise and our outgoing President giving her heartfelt thanks to everyone in attendance. A unique aspect of our Red Dress Gala was that we recognized all of the members who had a 3.5+ cumulative GPA, as well as those who had a 4.0 GPA.
What activities did you introduce this year for your guests?
In the past, our only opportunity to actually fundraise was the silent auction. While we were able to bring in $9,000 with our silent auction this year, we saw other opportunities to fundraise as well. We decided to do a Wine Pull and had 80 bottles of wine donated, ranging from $20-250 in value, including ten Marilyn Monroe Collector bottles. Guests paid $20 for a cork, which had a corresponding number to one of the bottles of wine. We sold out in less than an hour and made approximately $2,000. We also did Heads or Tails where guests purchased a red bracelet for $10 as their “ticket” into the game and the winner received a FitBit, which was also donated. We made approximately $1,000 from that game alone. Lastly, we held an Open Your Heart. We used the script from the Foundation as a guide, and raised over $4,000 in less than ten minutes. Money aside, having these extra things for the guests to participate in made the tone of the entire evening more fun and philanthropic than in years past.
What tips would you offer other chapters looking to host an event like this?
The best decision we made as a marketing team was not procrastinating. We were able to enjoy the event because we were organized and ready to go. We made basket items due incredibly early this year, which allowed the Red Dress team time to ensure the quality of each basket and organize our bid cards in advance, so there was no last minute scrambling to set up the auction itself.