Imagine creating an event fundraiser that is not only strikingly beautiful – but emphasizes the needs a rescue has and to top it off raises $36,000 to help animals in need! One Love Pit Bull Foundation made it all happen.
This fundraising event was a very different concept in that the rescue showcased images that are related to different “services” or “needs” that the group has when helping animals – which not only allowed attendees to donate to a specific need, but they got a real life look at how much goes on to help the dogs they care for.
One Love Pit Bull Foundation was formed back in 2014, which makes them a still relatively young rescue, but they outdid themselves with this event fundraiser!
Event Name: Imagine – A Black & White Affair
Event Location: The Wrigley Mansion – Phoenix, AZ
Event Date: November 18, 2017
Interview was done with the Director of Fundraising + Events for One Love Pit Bull Foundation, Kim French.
What was the inspiration for this event?
Last year, One Love had enlisted the help of a local artist to paint photos of shelter dogs for them to auction off at an event. When the concept and opportunity for Project PAL (a fundraising group for One Love) to partner on the event was presented we had concerns that people may not be interested in spending money on paintings of dogs that were not their own.
We suggested coming up with another way to use the paintings of the shelter dogs. The idea that was presented last year was to display the paintings as a gallery, with four slots under each painting. Each slot was worth a $25 donation. When guests put their name in one of the slots, they would donate $25 towards that painting. Once the painting had all four slots filled ($100 in donations total) it landed itself at the MCAC shelter to brighten their walls, and make the space a happier, more inviting place. The event last year was a much smaller scale, but we knew the concept worked.
This year, at a Board Meeting we discussed ideas to recreate the same general concept and vehicle for guests to donate, without using colorful paintings. One of our Board Members said “what about photos”.
The idea was born in that moment. We knew doing black and white, powerful images depicting different needs that our organizations have to fund throughout the year would be an impactful way for guests to see tangible items that the groups spend money on, and choose which needs they’d like to contribute towards. It also offered an opportunity for guests to give at all different levels since each of the needs had a different cost associated with it.
How did your group come up with the name and concept?
The name of the event came from a brainstorming session we had in a One Love Facebook group chat. We knew we wanted “black & white” in our event name, and one, simple meaningful word for the title. We started looking up synonyms – throwing out ideas from song lyrics, and then Lindsey the President of One Love threw out the word “Imagine” and we knew immediately that was our word.
What are the names, affiliations and titles of the people who helped put this event together?
Kim French – Volunteer for One Love Pit Bull Foundation (Director of Fundraising + Events) and Volunteer for Project PAL
Geri Hormel – Founder of Almost There Foster Care
Annie Verderame – Almost There Foster Care, Volunteer for Project PAL and One Love
Is this a first year event or have you held the event before?
Technically, this would be the first year this particular event was held.
Can you briefly describe the event – entertainment, food etc.
Our event was held on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at the Wrigley Mansion Garden Room and Terrace. The evening was in all black and white and was presented by sponsors M Group Scenic and the Wrigley Mansion.
Photographer Michael Klose spent months photographing over 40 “needs” that were generously printed and displayed as a photo gallery by M Group Scenic.
Each image represented a “need” that our organizations work to fund throughout the year. Some examples of the “needs” are vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, emergency medical, play group collars, enrichment items etc.
When each guest checked in they received pledge cards with their names on them. As they walked through the gallery, under each photograph there were spots for them to place their pledge card if they felt compelled to donate towards a specific “need”. Each photograph had a different cost associated with it, so guests could donate at levels they felt comfortable.
There was also a wine pull, a mystery gift station, a silent auction, and of course, we had adoptable puppies that guests could pose with while they took photos at our step & repeat.
We were fortunate to have many sponsors who made our evening spectacular – Tito’s Handmade Vodka, The David Wright House, Plattner Verderame P.C., SX Paint + Resurfacing, Higley Road Pet Clinic, and Sherwin Williams.
Blissful Blooms donated the flower arrangements, Honeymoon Sweets Bakery donated black & white cupcakes, the Wrigley donated all the appetizers and wine for the event, and Jacque Powers of Crescent Crown Distributing arranged for donated Modelo, Grand Canyon Brewery American Pils and Sunset Amber for guests to enjoy.
Our musical entertainment was J Forte Music, and they were incredible. M Group Scenic donated the use of all of their event furniture, lighting, step & repeat, and overall event design and production.
Our organizations paid very little to put on the event.
Who did your social marketing/invitations and or any other design work that was used
Kendrah Smith of Ashtyn Co Creative did all of our event graphics, our event promotion was done by our organizations, Richard Courtney created sponsor videos, and we simply promoted the event on social media outlets both personally and through the group pages.
When did your planning for this event start?
We started planning the event at the beginning of the summer.
One Love raised over $36,000 with this event!
How will these funds be used
First and foremost, the funds will go towards the “needs” that were displayed throughout the gallery. Guests donated towards specific items and those items will be funded using the money raised.
Above and beyond those needs….One Love will use the additional money to launch a new initiative called the Shelter Assistance Fund. This program will offer individual volunteers and staff members at the County shelter the opportunity to present the ideas they have to make shelter life better for the homeless dogs, and to potentially be approved to receive funding for those ideas.
Almost There Foster Care houses homeless mamas and puppies and will be using all of the funds raised to provide proper care, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, microchips, pay for full time caretakers, and fund their organization.
If you could do one thing differently for this event what would it be?
Oh gosh, I am an event manager for my actual job…so there is always a LONG list of things I would do differently with any event. However, doing this as a volunteer, and having zero budget we are pretty proud of what we put together and the feedback we received. One thing I think we would all say we would do differently is have a detailed volunteer meeting well before the event. This would ensure that volunteers were being utilized to their full potential.
Can you offer any advice or tips for smaller organizations looking to do a similar type event?
I would say the best advice we’d give is to get out there and talk to local businesses. A lot of companies want to be involved and support organizations who are doing good things, they just don’t always know how! Our entire event was put together by enlisting the help of local companies who wanted to help us make a special evening.
Were your goals for the event met?
Tell us a little more about One Love AZ!
One Love is a completely volunteer-run nonprofit organization that advocates for pit bull type dogs with a focus on shelter enrichment, community outreach, public education and sterilization.
Do you have some images you can share from the event?
All photos are courtesy of Sandra Tenuto Photography.