Small Market Meetings

FEB 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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February 2017 17 Courtesy Visit Muskegon Meeting planners can use paddleboarding events in Muskegon County, Michigan, to raise money for their charities. with George Clooney for just $10 per entry. The winner was flown to New York City with a friend, hung out with Clooney backstage at the "Late Show with David Letterman" and later attended a movie premiere with the star. There was an enormous response, with a reported $1.2 million ulti- mately raised. Of course, most planners cannot provide a celebrity date, but there are many other feasible options, such as customized artwork, local spa packages or signed memorabilia. Incorporating these giveaways into your conference or event will encourage attendees to participate in fundraising while they are together on-site, and you can use stage time during official event functions to encourage people to participate or to recognize winners. 24-Hour Donation Campaign A 24-hour donation campaign is one of the simplest ways to raise money, especially with an engaging theme or message at its heart. In 2016, a nonprofit based in Tennessee called Blood:Water hosted a 24-hour online campaign called The Real Game of Thrones that focused on gathering enough funds to build 21 latrines in Rwanda. The organization works to fight the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa, and an extension of that is promoting sanitation and hygiene. With the sweeping popularity of the "Game of Thrones" HBO show, the theme made the campaign more relevant to online viewers and opened discourse on a subject that people would normally avoid, as toilets. "The campaign was a great way to use current pop culture to shed light on the importance of healthy habits, sanitation and hygiene in sub-Saharan Africa," said Audrey Millicevic, relations specialist at the organization. With just 184 donations, the campaign raised nearly $15,000, and donors received updates on the progress of the latrines throughout construction. At conferences and events that have large groups, a 24-hour push is a great way to motivate attendees to make a difference in a fundraising cause while they are all together. And the momentum built by par- ticipants watching a tally grow in real time at a group event can bring greater success than standard fundraising campaigns.

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