Tell us about your cause.
The Bon Secours Health System is an international non-profit organization with a long reaching history. In 1824, in response to the devastation of the French Revolution, a small group of women united to create a congregation whose focus was to attend the sick and dying in their homes. Bon Secours is French for “good help”. Since 1881, the organization has been active in the United States, building a large network of hospitals, long-term care facilities, and health care services. In 1995, the Richmond Community Hospital joined that network. Since then, the Catholic health care system has risen to become one of the largest employers in the area and nationally recognized with their achievements including hospitals, schools of nursing and medical imaging, and community outreach programs. They strive to bring compassion to healthcare and be a good help to those in need, especially the poor and dying. The Bon Secours Richmond network organizes more than 100 fundraising events a year.
What kind of fundraising event did you manage for Bon Secours Richmond?
We manage many events for the Richmond Bon Secours network, including a golf tournament. This annual golf tournament is in its 19th year and we’ve spent the last two years managing the event with DoJiggy. The money raised with the golf tournament goes to support care vans and mobile health clinics that are an important part of providing the health care services to those in need in the Richmond area.
Walk us through the planning process.
We started with putting out a save the date advisory about three months ahead of time. We also had our DoJiggy website up at that time, to help facilitate publicity and information about the event. An email request was sent to past sponsors, but it was not necessary to do a formal invite to new sponsors or participants since the event is so well established. We managed only group registration in this tournament, so it is primarily geared towards the large corporate sponsors of Bon Secours Richmond. However, although the tournament is well established, management of such an event is still labor intensive. We have not found that it is essential to have a committee. In fact, as a professional event planner, I have found that it sometimes complicates the planning process. In this case, the event planning was left to the strategists, although the committee was integral in the promotion of the event.
How were you able to be so successful in soliciting sponsors?
This tournament is geared specifically towards group registration, teams only, so that makes it more likely that participants will be representing a larger organization. Besides having a well established tournament with many returning participants, the committee has very strong personal contacts. They were a major force in soliciting sponsorships. We had about forty sponsors this year. There were ten sponsors participating with packages of over $5000, with two at $20,000 or above.
What was your overall success?
Our goal this year was $130,000 which we were not very confident in achieving given the economic crisis so many are facing. We have experienced that a number of annual events have been cancelled in the last few years. This tournament turned out to be the only one we mange that held on and reached their goals. We had about 177 participants and raised more than the $130,000 mark we had set. Although the registration was very successful, the ability to meet the goal was due to a raffle ticket sale we had on the day of the event. That was just the extra push we needed.
Indicators such as age and profession greatly influence an individual’s propensity to use online registration.
The overall climate of fundraising events is moving largely and rapidly towards online management. I think it depends heavily on the demographic breakdown of the area. Indicators such as age and profession greatly influence an individuals propensity to use on line registration. There still seems to be a learning curve taking place.
In our case, we saw about half of our participants make the shift from manual registration to online. Using the software service that DoJiggy provides was a huge benefit to the overall management of the tournament. Despite the few manual processed registrations, the luxury of having all the reporting in one area was unprecedented. It is easy to get a quick snapshot of the progress in the event registration at any time and pulling reports is simple as well. The ability to export data makes it possible to easily enter information into other data bases, while still retaining complete reporting on the event in one area under the administrative dashboard.
In addition, Bon Secours Richmond continues to engage in many fundraising events throughout the year. As the economic crunch continues its squeeze, they have become more budget conscious. The DoJiggy software service is not only the most affordable service we have found, but it reduces overhead costs by allowing for more effective management and accounting for an event.
Do you have any advice for other organizations?
Concentrating on soliciting sponsorships really helps bolster the amount of money you can raise with your event. Make the initial investment with DoJiggy and you will not be sorry!
Based on an interview with Melissa Abraham, Event Director
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