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The Shin Fujiyama Podcast | Social Entrepreneurship | Nonprofit Organizations | International Development Aid | NGOs

Shin Fujiyama is a CNN Hero and the Executive Director of Students Helping Honduras. He lives with 30 former street children in Honduras where he runs a school and international NGO out of a tree house. In each episode Shin will be interviewing a proven social entrepreneur or NGO leader in the nonprofit or international development aid industry-- including several CNN Heroes and bestselling authors. They’re going to deconstruct their journey to explain HOW they built up their organizations. They’ll also tell us about their greatest failures, lessons, regrets, and behind-the-scenes realities. We’ll talk about their tactics, philosophies, principles, tools, and motivations to give you inspiration and actionable advice. 1) Subscribe to this podcast. 2) Turn on automatic downloads. 3) Leave me a review. 4.) Enjoy every new interview for FREE during your commute or workout.
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Now displaying: February, 2018
Feb 12, 2018

Alex Altman and Zeke Copic are longtime supporters of Students Helping Honduras. They have been organizing a charity gala each year in NYC called Brick By Brick to benefit SHH. In this episode, we discuss what it takes—step-by-step—to organize a gala that can raise $25,000+ for your favorite nonprofit organization.

Show Notes

  • The first thing to do is to understand the audience
  • One of the biggest costs is the event venue
  • They wanted to make sure the cost was as low as possible
  • A friend of Zeke organized a charity casino night but ended up spending way too much for the overhead cost
  • Brick By Brick has gotten the event venue spaces donated
  • Sesame Corporation donated the space in 2016 and 2017
  • Venues need to be reserved months in ahead
  • They had a leadership council made up of 6 volunteers who had been down to Honduras and were dedicated
  • Alex Altman and Zeke Copic did the first Bricky By Brick without much help
  • It’s hard to hit a broad social network if all the organizers come from the same place
  • The marketing happened mostly via email
  • The invitation email was sent out 30 days before the event. They have done it 60 days in advance in the past
  • They created a Facebook and LinkedIn event
  • Zeke emailed all of his friends directly with a personal note
  • Zeke was obsessed with checking Classy
  • About 90 people showed up to the event
  • Most people waited until the very last week to buy tickets. It was “harrowing”
  • They charged $75 per ticket for presales and $100 at the door
  • Only 3 people bought at the door
  • The event space had a cap of 100 people
  • Almost all of the guests were colleagues from work
  • Many relatives donated auction items
  • Many people have come to the event three years in a row
  • There is a short presentation about the cause during the event
  • It’s important to keep the email lists from each year
  • The first Brick By Brick sold tickets at $50 but people had to pay for drinks
  • They had food and an open bar at the event. The food was donated
  • “Do your silent auctions yourselves.”
  • It’s not a good idea to have a company run the silent auction because they take the vast majority of the profits and will likely have items that won’t sell
  • There was a diverse price range for the silent auction items ($20-$300)
  • They bought 40 cardboard bricks from the internet and sold them. 20 of them had a prize hidden inside. They had come up with the idea just a few days before the event. The bricks sold for $20 each
  • Someone from the leadership committee walked around selling bricks
  • Alex was focused on the logistics during the event, like making sure there was a coat check and making sure the food was changed, video was prepared, etc.
  • Zeke went around spending time with as many people as possible even though it is hard for an introvert like him
  • $7,000 came from ticket sales, $14,000 came from a few large donations, and the rest came from item sales
  • Corporate matching grants were important
  • People don’t realize that the companies they work for may give match grants
  • They used www.Doublethedonation.com to find out if their companies gave match grants
  • Getting corporate sponsorships can take a lot longer than you think
  • Sending thank you cards after the event is important
  • Donors love seeing update photos from Honduras, which sets them up to donate for the next year
  • The organizers can expect to absorb some of the costs to run a gala
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