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Shaping a Successful Event

Whether it's for a restoration project, funding missional activity or anything else, most churches know the task of organising large events and fundraisers is a common part of life. To help congregations and church leaders think about planning an event, we hope to provide some examples of past successes and useful links in this section.

 

A Major Event

The Valletta Skyline Ball

In July 2018, nearly 200 people wined, dined and danced the night away at the ‘Skyline Ball’ in the magical setting of Palazzo Parisio’s gardens in Naxxar, Malta. They were all there to support the Valletta Skyline Appeal for the restoration of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral. The 175-year-old Pro-Cathedral had been deteriorating dramatically in recent years. Various interventions had taken place to repair the roof, but urgent restoration was required, while the new structure would also re-establish the authenticity of the roof assembly to bring it closer to its former historical state.

Read more about the event itself in a news story here.

 

A Blueprint for Success

From Joanna Oswin, Chairman, UK Events Committee & Skyline Ball Committee:

We wanted to stage a tip-top high quality event – an open air summer ball in one of the most magical settings of its kind in Malta. The aim was to make this an unmissable event in Malta’s summer calendar. And my aim was to raise between €25,000 and €30,000.

The name followed the appeal strapline ‘Save Valletta’s Skyline’... in aid of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral Malta.

Planning started a year in advance with the formation of a small committee. As this is prime ‘wedding season’ in Malta, the venue and band had to be secured this far ahead. The 20th July was chosen to ensure that the Anglo-Maltese young were out for the summer.

A mailing list was drawn up of all our contacts and friends – just names, no addresses, so not affected by GDPR. Invitations were sent out personally – firstly ‘Save the Dates’ emailed out in November – then ‘stiffy’ beautiful, traditional invitations in April. (So we had no mailing costs). People were invited to host a table, come individually or with friends.  One member of our committee handled all the ticket applications. Numbered confirmations were sent out so that we kept an accurate tab on numbers booked. No one was confirmed without payment (very important in Malta!) and the application form firmly stated 'No Refunds'! We also kept complimentary tickets to the very minimum. Payment was in Malta euro cheques plus international bank transfers as we had lots of people coming from overseas. Donations were also suggested for those unable to accept, raising €1,750.

A key factor for success is sponsorship – keeping costs down to the minimum. Our principal sponsors were the Farsons Group, responsible for brewing and the sale and distribution of wines and spirits, who supplied all the drinks for the evening, including a ‘Sparkling Reception’ and wines with dinner; the Baroness of Tabria for giving us the venue of her beautiful Palazzo; and an anonymous sponsor of the band, staging and sound engineering.  The first two were acknowledged and thanked in all relevant print together with their logos – and mentioned in all subsequent media activity. The only expenditure, therefore, was the 5 course dinner and some printing.

Our capacity was 240 guests and our aim 200. Final numbers were 192. A draft budget was drawn up and regularly monitored. The ticket price was fairly high at €135 but that was all inclusive and we felt it was justified – although’ too much for some. 

An auction was held with some wonderful items – lots of variation and some ‘money can’t buy offers’ – ranging from a specially commissioned painting of the Valletta Skyline by a well-known local artist valued at €4000, to a day’s charter on a 70’ Sunseeker, Twickenham tickets for the England v Australia Rugby match in November and a week in a private apartment in Antigua. An Auction booklet was produced with full details of all 10 items and a digital version was also emailed out 2 weeks in advance, so that people would come prepared. A first time amateur auctioneer invited the bids wonderfully well; and we raised €12,450.

An Envelope Draw was also held – a form of raffle whereby small envelopes act as place name cards on the tables. Guests are invited to put a note or two in them, which are then collected later on and drawn for some wonderful prizes. This saves the chore of selling raffle tickets, but enables everyone to donate during the evening. That raised a further €3,570.

In total we made over €32,700 for the Cathedral Appeal – but as important as this result  were the myriad of emails and thank yous that we’ve received “Absolutely brilliant party and a huge financial success” was one of many comments we’ve had. Awareness building and the feel-good-factor for the appeal, now that we’ve got to raise over €7 million rather than the original estimate of €3 million, is equally valuable.

Finally - media activity -  press releases, websites and Facebook are all important after the event.  We had a good photographer who took some stunning photos and have already had great publicity in the local press, our own website – and of course the Diocesan website, for which we are hugely grateful. And absolutely lastly – it’s vital to thank all those who have helped, sponsored and donated and to tell them the financial result.

 

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