Donation Solicitation and Event Planning

RMHC has a handful of events coming up this fall, they include their annual Red Shoe Rendezvous, Character Breakfast, and a recycling event called United in Recycling.  They also have several third party fundraisers to help manage and keep track of. My job so far, as an intern to the Special Events Coordinator, has been assisting with the execution of all of these events.  United in Recycling and Character Breakfast are relatively newer to RMHC Richmond, so I have worked very hard to research similar events and help plan what these events should resemble. Once past that, I have been able to actually work on the execution of these events.

If you do not know what a character breakfast is, it is a breakfast/brunch for children and their families that also includes princesses, superheroes, and other costumed characters and mascots; the children get to meet their favorite characters and the proceeds from their tickets all benefit an organization.  My responsibilities for this event has been to find and contact characters and local Richmond mascots as well as drawing up interactive placemats and researching a reasonable ticket price.

I spend the most time, however, dedicated to the Red Shoe Rendezvous.  This is a two day golf and gala event that aims to raise over $300,000 through donations, auction bidding, end ticket sales.  I have been lucky to have participated in almost all aspects of planning this event, from researching decorations and creating a slideshow to actually soliciting and collecting donations for auction.  I have been required to cold call and visit over 50 businesses to ask for in-kind donations, and it has proven to be very difficult to get people to donate goods. Nonetheless, I have been grateful for this opportunity as it has really given me a chance to hone in on my communication/people skills as well as an understanding of how much effort it takes to plan an event to this scale.  As an incoming director for Camp Kesem, I will be overseeing the planning and execution of our annual benefit dinner, Make the Magic; I hope to take some of the lessons I have learned with the Red Shoe Rendezvous to that event.

While it has been great getting to work on all of these events and knowing how much of an impact my work will make on the people who we serve, I would love to see this impact first hand.  I am often confined to the carriage house behind the main house to do my work, so I have little interaction with the families that we serve as well as the opportunity to see the services at work such as the meal volunteers and the in-hospital programs.  I hope that sometime during this internship, I will be given the opportunity to witness the programming and actually participate in them. I am doing this internship so that I can learn more about nonprofit management, therefore I think it is important to understand the full extent of the nonprofit that I am working for.  If I am able to experience working in these different departments, then I will also expand my horizons as I take on these new challenges that they present.

One thought on “Donation Solicitation and Event Planning

  • July 17, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    It sounds like you are working on some really significant projects that will have significant impact for the organization. But I understand your desire to see the proceeds – how the funds raised by the events you help coordinate enable RMHC to provide the services they do (and to see those services with your own eyes). It seems completely reasonable to me to talk with your supervisor about this, explaining that if you had a better understanding of the services and some proximity to the services, you’d be better equipped to make cold-calls and solicit in-kind donations; you would have personal stories you could share about the individuals who are benefited by RMHC. Having context will definitely enhance your ability to help others understand the need and raise funds.

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