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Guest Post: Making the Most of Your Anniversary Gala

Posted by Lou Prisco

Anniversary Gala - BlogWinspire is partnering with our close friend and professional Benefit Auctioneer, Bart Darfler, for an article all about your Anniversary Gala!

Blog written by Bart Darfler:

For more than 25 years, I’ve been honored to serve as auctioneer and consultant for countless anniversary events. Alongside my valued clients we have found it very useful to emphasize that these ‘anniversaries’ are exceptionally well suited for building enhanced advocacy and donor cultivation.

Here are five strategies to reconnect, engage, and retain all of those supporters who love you; grow attendance and your support base; and raise more (record-setting) money!

1. First and foremost, obsess over advocate (audience) development. Reach out personally to your founders and all past board members, invite them personally. Then reach out and invite every single donor – personally. That personal touch truly matters. Make sure that you include everyone who has ever attended ANY of your events. Your unique anniversary celebration will only happen once, so here’s the one to make truly memorable.

Be sure to include any and all auction item donors and invite them personally, too.

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2. Form a diverse and active 'host' committee. Invite supporters, from the founders and volunteers to the past and present-day donors, asking them to participate. As you've likely noticed from past experience, for those people unable to attend many will offer their support by sending a contribution.

3. Select an anniversary theme branded to your mission. Such as; "10 years changing lives for the better!" In all of your outreach, promotion, marketing, and social media, keep your mission and impact front and center. From your save the date card to your evening's inspiring message – showcase the impact that your generous donors’ contributions have helped your organization accomplish. This is the time to go all out so that everyone falls in love with your great cause all over again!

Start early – even several years before your anniversary event. Your signature event is also an opportunity for a year-round celebration with numerous events.

4. Invest your time and resources into what matters. Focus on your purpose. With your guests overall enjoyment in mind, your purpose is three-fold.

  1. Communicate what the impact of your donor’s gift will accomplish
  2. Obsess over strategic advocate (audience) development
  3. Express profound gratitude again and again

5. Leverage your anniversary event as a launching pad to skyrocket future fundraising.Whatever the year – your fundraising auction is an unparalleled opportunity to invite and engage new supporters as well as current donors in an exciting and inspiring way! Stand out as a signature, inspirational, fun, and profitable event where your generous donors are thrilled to bring their friends, family, and colleagues every year!

Celebrate your success, treasure the past, and continue to create a legacy for your great cause and your donors for the future.


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Bart Darfler
Benefit Auctions Consulting



Lou Prisco
Lou Prisco
Lou has 7+ years experience working at a small nonprofit before joining the Winspire team. As the Fundraising Manager, Lou is responsible for educating Nonprofits on best-practices when it comes to raising funds.

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