Alex Altman and Zeke Copic are longtime supporters of Students Helping Honduras. They have been organizing a charity gala each year in NYC called Brick By Brick to benefit SHH. In this episode, we discuss what it takes—step-by-step—to organize a gala that can raise $25,000+ for your favorite nonprofit organization.

Show Notes

  • The first thing to do is to understand the audience
  • One of the biggest costs is the event venue
  • They wanted to make sure the cost was as low as possible
  • A friend of Zeke organized a charity casino night but ended up spending way too much for the overhead cost
  • Brick By Brick has gotten the event venue spaces donated
  • Sesame Corporation donated the space in 2016 and 2017
  • Venues need to be reserved months in ahead
  • They had a leadership council made up of 6 volunteers who had been down to Honduras and were dedicated
  • Alex Altman and Zeke Copic did the first Bricky By Brick without much help
  • It’s hard to hit a broad social network if all the organizers come from the same place
  • The marketing happened mostly via email
  • The invitation email was sent out 30 days before the event. They have done it 60 days in advance in the past
  • They created a Facebook and LinkedIn event
  • Zeke emailed all of his friends directly with a personal note
  • Zeke was obsessed with checking Classy
  • About 90 people showed up to the event
  • Most people waited until the very last week to buy tickets. It was “harrowing”
  • They charged $75 per ticket for presales and $100 at the door
  • Only 3 people bought at the door
  • The event space had a cap of 100 people
  • Almost all of the guests were colleagues from work
  • Many relatives donated auction items
  • Many people have come to the event three years in a row
  • There is a short presentation about the cause during the event
  • It’s important to keep the email lists from each year
  • The first Brick By Brick sold tickets at $50 but people had to pay for drinks
  • They had food and an open bar at the event. The food was donated
  • “Do your silent auctions yourselves.”
  • It’s not a good idea to have a company run the silent auction because they take the vast majority of the profits and will likely have items that won’t sell
  • There was a diverse price range for the silent auction items ($20-$300)
  • They bought 40 cardboard bricks from the internet and sold them. 20 of them had a prize hidden inside. They had come up with the idea just a few days before the event. The bricks sold for $20 each
  • Someone from the leadership committee walked around selling bricks
  • Alex was focused on the logistics during the event, like making sure there was a coat check and making sure the food was changed, video was prepared, etc.
  • Zeke went around spending time with as many people as possible even though it is hard for an introvert like him
  • $7,000 came from ticket sales, $14,000 came from a few large donations, and the rest came from item sales
  • Corporate matching grants were important
  • People don’t realize that the companies they work for may give match grants
  • They used www.Doublethedonation.com to find out if their companies gave match grants
  • Getting corporate sponsorships can take a lot longer than you think
  • Sending thank you cards after the event is important
  • Donors love seeing update photos from Honduras, which sets them up to donate for the next year
  • The organizers can expect to absorb some of the costs to run a gala

Podden och tillhörande omslagsbild på den här sidan tillhör Shin Fujiyama, Social Entrepreneur, CNN Hero, Nonprofit Organization Manager. Innehållet i podden är skapat av Shin Fujiyama, Social Entrepreneur, CNN Hero, Nonprofit Organization Manager och inte av, eller tillsammans med, Poddtoppen.