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Non-Profit Fundraising Gala

Landsowne, Virginia

A 501(c)(3) foundation client depends solely on the generosity of individual donations and needed assistance from a fundraising event and gala that allows them to continue providing Grief Recovery Retreats to those who have experienced loss. These retreats are intended to help loved ones see that, while life can never be the same after loss, it can be rich and fulfilling.

Because these retreats are given as a gift to anyone who wants to attend, no fees are charged. Individuals who attend receive sleeping room accommodations, meals, personalized gift baskets and most importantly, solid methodologies and tools to help them once they leave the retreat.

Since the first retreat in 2010, there have been over 30 held across the United States. To date, the foundation neither runs in the black nor in the red, but simply breaks even. To support additional retreats and raise additional financial support, the foundation needed assistance with its third major fundraising event and the first outside the Midwest.


After initially engaging Vicki Johnson & Associates for event planning services only, they saw how much more we could contribute to the success of their fundraising gala with additional services.

  • Event planning and logistics
  • Sponsorship sales
  • Event marketing
  • Securing and managing speakers
  • Event production


  1. Limited resources

    The biggest challenge for foundations and non-profit groups is limited resources and budget. However, because their mission and goals are vital to the people they serve, fundraisers are essential to their continuance and purpose. With a limited budget, the foundation entrusted us to creatively develop all aspects of the evening’s events.

  2. Create an experience that fit the occasion

    The gala dinner and auction would also incorporate a keynote speaker and awards ceremony. It was important to the organization that the evening honor individuals and their loved ones, but to do so in a way that also celebrated life.  

  3. Design a marketing campaign

    We needed to develop a compelling marketing campaign that would promote the foundation’s purpose without giving the impression that the evening would be somber, but rather life affirming.


Secure temporary, affordable help:

  • Local universities and colleges provide an excellent temporary staffing solution—seniors majoring in hospitality, tourism and marketing. Our interns worked with our seasoned staff as a cohesive team with a detailed action plan.

With a strong team in place, we were able to work within their budget constraints to achieve:

  • Innovative décor and theme development for less than $500 due to creative solutions and sponsorship opportunities
  • Confirm a well-known keynote speaker at no charge whose own story of loss would resonate with the audience  
  • Drive corporate sponsorships, donations and attendance beyond the foundation’s expectations
  • Create additional revenue with the development of an interactive individual table competition


It would normally be enough to state that we raised three times over the goal. But the reward for us and the client was far beyond the financial implications that allow them to continue their good work.

Comments from guests include: "It was wonderful...elegant, inspiring, touching, engaging"

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