Take Flight With Gig Harbor Academy

Published on 16 May 2024 by Auctria

Gig Harbor Academy's recent spring fundraising event was a resounding success, filled with unique elements that made it truly inspiring! This year, they managed to raise significantly more than in previous years, with an impressive increase of nearly double in the amount raised last year. The event had an aviation-themed ambiance, complete with a stunning vintage plane backdrop and a signature cocktail, the "Aviator, "making it an unforgettable experience. Let’s dive into a few things that made this year so successful:

  • A Memorable Guest Experience
  • Enhanced Outreach
  • Diverse Auction Items

A Memorable Guest Experience

Imagine stepping into an evening brimming with celebration, camaraderie, and moments that will stay with you. What set this event apart was their unique ‘Take Flight’ aviation theme. Live music set the tone for an exciting and memorable night as guests entered the Gig Harbor Vintage Air Museum, the grandeur of the gala enveloped them with model planes and aviation inspired decor.

The bespoke "Aviator" cocktail, expertly crafted for the occasion, added to the fun of the festivities, making it an unforgettable experience for all who attended. While fundraising and logistics are essential, the guest experience leaves a lasting impression, compelling them to return year after year.

Enhanced Outreach

Gig Harbor Academy experienced significant growth in its fundraising efforts this year, a testament to its diligent planning and execution. Matt Weiner, Director of Development, with Gig Harbor Academy emphasized the importance of community outreach in driving attendance. Leaning into your committee members, board members, and/or volunteers to help you with outreach can make a massive impact on your success. Once you have a team in place, communicate clear objectives (e.g. each board member invites 20 people via email, 10 via text, and post on social media) and create a template for your team to use for outreach. Creating a template for your outreach team to use makes it easy for them to share.

Matt and his team reached out to over 500 businesses and organizations, which expanded their network and attracted a more diverse audience.

Most of the outreach was done digitally through email blasts and personal email outreach. Matt said,

I found that digital outreach saved a considerable amount of time and often, with some sleuthing, reached the right person more directly.

A small portion was done in person with personal connections or by recommendation. They utilized their internal community for donations, and those were more direct, in-person outreach as a relationship had already been established. As a result, the number of attendees increased by 30% compared to the previous year, demonstrating the effectiveness of their outreach efforts. Additionally, the seamless online bidding platform enhanced engagement, making it easier for attendees to participate in the auction.

Diverse Auction Items

With the reach of over 500 businesses and organizations in addition to having more attendees, they were able to offer a wide range of auction items, including everything from classroom projects, to a PGA Golf experience, to an exclusive stay at a mountain retreat, in order to appeal to their audience. The varied offerings played a significant role in the success of their event, giving attendees ample opportunities to show their support.

Gig Harbor Academy’s ‘Take Flight’ gala was truly remarkable! Every attendee left with unforgettable memories and it was evident that meticulous planning went into the event. The aviation-theme was well executed and extensive outreach efforts yielded more attendees, donors, and diverse auction items which in turn led to increased fundraising results.

Gig Harbor Academy prides itself on their unique approach to learning, encouraging discovery and creativity both inside and outside the classroom. Their fundraising approach was no exception to that creative expression!

Learn more from Gig Harbor Academy, on the Gig Harbor website:

You can also see photos from the Take Flight event on the Facebook page