Beneath the layer of need that defines a fundraising event, an exceptional gala will also create an opportunity for staff and supporters to celebrate current success while drawing inspiration for the goals they share.
A delicate balance is required to raise the most funds possible while creating a memorable and positive experience, says Lee Chadwick, owner of The Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta.
It’s not much harder to plan a truly great event than plan just a good one. However, the long-term added value is huge. The details - quality food, the luxury of space, comfortable and attentive service - contribute to a superior experience that ties people back to the cause.
“After previewing several venues that failed to meet our needs, I met Lee. I was amazed by her extensive knowledge and her ability to seamlessly assemble an elegant event,” says Christy LeBlanc, chair of a gala benefiting Salla Treatment and Research Foundation held at The Metropolitan Club in 2019. “Every detail was considered from the flowers, to the five-star food, and even specialty linens and decorative lighting were provided. Partnering with The Metropolitan Club resulted in a resoundingly successful event which achieved double our fundraising goals and had guests committing to next year’s event on the spot.”
Lee sees her role as a nonprofit event strategist.
Sheepdog Connection is a very small nonprofit without much fundraising experience. Lee helped planners defray costs significantly and introduced them to strategic partners that could help with silent auction items and auxiliary services. “Because we were brand new, Lee went the extra mile by personally donating auction items that broadened the variety of our donations and added directly to the bottom line. The evening was a huge success, socially and financially,” says Jean Fitzgerald of Sheepdog Connection.
In this time of COVID, racial injustice and the resulting economic tsunami, it may be optimistic to say that everything we face can be corrected with goodwill, generosity and action. But, Lee believes each of us should be identifying areas where we want to make an impact, lending our unmitigated support in a meaningful way. The nonprofits she works with are working hard to make a difference and she applauds their efforts, encouraging us all to find our gifts.
“Each and every one of us- young, old, rich, poor, black, or white - through choosing one area of concern, and being responsible to help, quietly but absolutely can wield our vote and our efforts like bricks. Have the courage to change the world.”