February 22, 2019

Mini Musings - Fundraising Events

by Jen Voros, Director of Institutional Advancement

It’s Gala time again and that means the community at McGillis is fully immersed in making our annual fundraising and community building event a success. This year’s Gala - Tropical Nights - is being led by co-chairs Marlie Kilcrease and Mo Schiffman. Under their guidance, we are sure to host another event that both celebrates our community and raises much needed money for the school.  

One of the questions I am frequently asked is why we host an annual Gala. Fundraising events have long been a staple in the independent school fundraising playbook. Lately though, they’ve come into question as the cost and effort of organizing them has risen sharply, along with the competition for contributor dollars and items. And rightfully so.  

On the one hand, we should always question the return on investment (ROI) of all our fundraising strategies, over time and relative to other fundraising methods. This is especially true for events because they are always at risk of costing more than they bring in. 

On the other hand, simply looking only at the ROI misses the fundamental truth that there is more value to annual events than just the ratio of dollars to cost. A 2017 Eventbrite study reveals:

  • 80% of Americans polled believe it’s essential for people to come together in person to promote positive change.
  • 71% of Americans polled agree that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world — a sentiment that has increased by 5% since 2014.
  • 70% of Americans polled agree that attending a live event has been more successful at expanding their perspective than just reading about a topic online.
  • 84% of people surveyed believe that all types of events can inspire positive change for the country.
  • 73% of millennials who responded consider attending an event a form of expression (compared to 48% of other cohorts). 

I would argue that our community at McGillis shares most of the attitudes above. The McGillis Gala has long been an opportunity to celebrate our Kehilah and financially support the values that define us. Plus, it’s always fun to put on your dancing shoes and gather with friends over food and drink.  

So if you haven’t already done so, I hope you’ll buy your tickets and plan to join us at the Marriott City Creek on Saturday, March 9th for a tropical escape from this seemingly never- ending winter. And bring your dancing shoes!

Buy Tickets Here