Events that inspire!

Us fundraising folks – no matter what our portfolios include – inevitably get involved with events.  Whether we conceive of them, plan them, promote them, or simply attend them, we all get a sense of what works and what doesn’t.  So when we attend an outside event (one unrelated to our workplace) that’s done really really well, we can’t help but get excited… we can’t help but want to put the pointers we picked up to work… and, if you’re me, we can’t help but write about it!

I went to one such event recently which is the inspiration for my post.  There is a great new company, based out of Toronto, called Metro Youth Opera (MYO).  In short, MYO is designed to create viable development opportunities for young artists in all fields related to the world of opera: singers, stage directors, music directors, and more.  It’s an inspired idea!!!  Be sure to click the link to read more about MYO and click here to buy tickets to their two performances of The Elixir of Love at the end of this month!

But I digress…  Metro Youth Opera held an event last month as a fundraiser for this year’s performances.  MYO relies entirely on ticket sales and donations to fund its performances and pay its young artists, so the founder, Kate Applin, has had to come up with some creative ideas to raise funds.  Last month, Kate held the second annual Meet the Artists party, and this is the event that inspired me so much!

Why did this event inspire me???  I could go on and on to answer this question, but I want to boil my answer down to two key points:

(1) The event kept costs low and fundraising high.  Thanks to a pair of generous hosts who held the event at their home (beautiful, comfortable, and warm atmosphere), the costs of the event were low… very low.  This meant that the ticket price, which was elevated-yet-reasonable, went to almost nothing but the company.  When you go to a fundraising event where you get a decadent 4-course meal, it’s hard to feel like you’re making much of an impact.  At the Meet the Artists party, this was not at all the case.

(2) The event served the company’s mission.  The format of the evening was simple — guests mingled and enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres, heard speeches by Kate and the opera’s musical director, Jennifer, followed by remarks from a special guest who is an important figure in the world of young opera singers, and then there were three performances of excerpts from MYO’s production of The Elixir of Love.  The night was all about opera and supporting young singers.  That’s the company’s mission and the event reflected it.  I thought this was the great strength of the event.  Occasionally you attend an event put on by an organization that seems to have nothing to do with the organization itself.  Why???  People want to financially support the organization because they respect and appreciate the organization, so the event should give them elements of what it is that they appreciate.  The guests at the Meet the Artists event are obviously opera lovers and supporters of young artists, and so all of them were basking in the glory of Metro Youth Opera and its mission at the event, and their pocketbooks followed.

Congratulations to Kate and her team at Metro Youth Opera for such an inspiring event, and best of luck with your performances this year!

What events have inspired you in the past???  What is it that makes you enjoy an event?  Or not enjoy it???  Comment here with your thoughts on events!

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Written by Maeve Strathy

Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years.  Click here to learn more about Maeve.

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