Nonprofit organizations use special events as a multipurpose tool to develop relationships with their supporters.
Events are a great way to publicly thank supporters for their time (last year in the U.S., volunteers gave 8.7 billion hours of service) and gifts ($350 billion given to U.S. nonprofits last year). Events can also be an ideal time to raise funds, whether through an auction or through proceeds from the event itself. Events are also a good way to strengthen existing relationships with and among supporters. Having so many supporters in the same room at the same time underscores the shared mission and reinforces the commitment of the assembled community. Similarly, the demonstration of such community is a powerful way to attract new supporters or encourage existing advocates to redouble their support.
The Infinity Park Event Center is frequently the site of these types of events. The combination of affordable price (including a 10% room rental discount for nonprofits), central and recognizable location, variety of room sizes, and ample parking make it a top choice for many local organizations. The stories of three local nonprofits who recently chose the Event Center show the creative ways nonprofit organizations use events to build support.
The Limb Preservation provides assistance to people who have lost a limb. Their “Laughs to Save Limbs and Lives” fundraiser event features both a live and silent auction, restaurant sponsors who bring appetizer bites, a wine pull game, and a live comedian. This was the third time Limb Preservation has used the Event Center. Jessica Yoss, who helped organize the event, said that the Event Center’s parking and space are able to accommodate more than 400 guests who have mobility needs. She added that the Event Center staff was able to execute a last-minute setup change on the day of the event. Yoss said she expects to be back next year as the event keeps beating expectations. “Despite the fact that there was an actual blizzard on April 28th, we had a very successful event with many compliments from guests,” she said. “We weren’t confident that we’d meet our goal this year since we are all new staff and only had a few months to prepare, but we beat our goal!”
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce chose the Event Center to host its annual Business Awards event. The event was the setting in which local businesses were recognized for excellence in a variety of categories, including: start-up business, small business, minority or woman-owned business, green business, small nonprofit, and large nonprofit. Kristin Massoletti, events specialist for the Chamber of Commerce, said the Event Center’s 360-degree screens in the International Ballroom led them to choose the space in the first place. She said their event was “video heavy” and, consequently, the audience viewing experience needed to be top notch. They enjoyed their experience so much they’ve decided to use it again the next year.
Modern A/V capabilities are in demand for events of all kinds. And, with the A/V technology available today, a screen and a projector doesn’t quite cut it. Veronica Contreras de Raya is the coordinator for marketing and communications at Colorado UpLift, an organization that works with thousands of Denver-area students to teach life skills and character qualities that will prepare them for life after graduation. Every year, Colorado UpLift hosts a fundraiser, the main source of fundraising all year. This year included a dinner and an art auction. They chose the Event Center in order to get a “fresh feel,” according to Contreras de Raya. They moved what is an annual event up 6 months, and, with the short turnaround time between the two fundraisers, they wanted to be sure the production they created would please guests who attended both.
The event as envisioned included a lot of visual and audio elements, many of which needed to occur simultaneously, including live video, high-quality still graphics, slide shows, a live band, and sponsor logo projections. The planning process included a walk-through of the event the day before to ensure everything would work as planned. Contreras de Raya said other venues they considered offered two square projection screens, which came off as “old-fashioned.” The Event Center’s 360-degree video allowed them to produce the event they wanted without making sacrifices. In the end, they beat their $100,000 fundraising goal. “We received lots of positive feedback,” she said. “The venue was a big part of the success.”