Although organizing a fundraising event can be fun and rewarding, growing the event each year can be challenging. Amy Forman Taub, MD, and Melanie D. Palm, MD, MBA, have steadily improved their events by developing unique ways to attract new audiences and building on previous successes. Learn how each of their practices has developed strategies to organize successful events below.
Skin for Life
Skin for Life combines both fashion and skincare into an exceptional event benefitting The Skin Cancer Foundation. Hosted by Amy Forman Taub, MD, Advanced Dermatology and skinfo©, over 250 individuals attended their fourth annual event in 2014. Skin for Life includes a fashion show highlighting local designers, a silent auction along with vendor exhibits where guests sample the latest in beauty treatments, products, and received mini-makeovers.
Expert Tips for Your Event
- Plan Ahead: The larger the scale of the event, the more time that will likely be needed to go into planning. Identify what steps are needed for each activity and create realistic timelines for completing them. For example, Skin for Life invested 9 months into acquiring items for its silent auction.
- Start Small: Don't be afraid to target a small audience during your first year. Skin for Life invited VIP guests in its inaugural year, before inviting their clients and the general public in subsequent years.
- Spread the Word: Reach out to potential attendees through email, social media, and other forms of communication. Since you may already reach out to patients this way, you can use your existing lists to promote the event. Partner with local media as a media sponsors and invite media personnel to attend.
- Keep What Works: Each year a new fundraising element was added to see what resonated with attendees. A silent auction and spin the wheel for prizes were repeated, after proving to be hits with attendees.
- Incentives for Donations: Offering various levels of perks encourages participants to make larger contributions. Skin for Life distributed different levels of swag bags, based on whether an attendee paid $20, $50, or $75 for admission.
- Work with Vendors: Vendors who wanted to host demonstrations of their products made an upfront contribution, along with committing a portion of sales to the Foundation. Additionally, one way to cut costs is by having food and beverages provided by sponsors.
SolSearch 2014 continues to grow with its safe skin and shopping event benefitting the Foundation. Hosted by Melanie D. Palm, MD, MBA, & Art of Skin MD, the event worked in conjunction with local sponsors including their neighborhood California Pizza Kitchen and San Diego Tidbits. Taking place over the course of a weekend in May, the event kicked off with a cocktail party and silent auction. This was followed by a shopping experience that included free full body skin exams and deals at local stores a few days later.
Expert Tips for Your Event
- Work with Local Businesses: Teaming up with businesses builds relationships within your community and expand the fundraising opportunities for your event. SolSearch connected with local shops to create a large shopping experience at the Beachwalk Center of Solana Beach. For example, a boutique shop offered 15 percent off, while a local coffee shop donated a percentage of proceeds from sales made during the event.
- Give Product and Service Demonstrations: Skin care product demonstrations or discounted services can build client relationships and help you raise funds. Some of these demonstrations were held by event sponsors who had a strong relationship with the practice, and paid for the opportunity to display their products.
- Use Your Office: Eliminate event hosting costs by having the event in your practice. Using your office also encourages individuals to learn more about your practice and attracts additional traffic to your event from patients and walk-ins.
- Create a Fundraising Website: The Skin Cancer Foundation can create a fundraising website for your event, which can serve a variety of purposes. SolSearch utilized their website to allow individuals to RSVP, donate, learn about the practice, get event details, and acknowledge sponsors.
- Make It Fun: Creating an exciting an inviting atmosphere for the event invigorates your staff and spreads community buzz. SolSearch featured a well-known local acoustic band and organic bites that drew a crowd and kept them talking about the event for the weeks following the event. Enthusiiasm about the event often draws media attention as well to the practice's efforts for the Skin Cancer Foundation.