Whispering Grace Horses: Pulling Open the Barn Doors for Auction Fundraising
Whispering Grace Horses is a place of healing where children and veterans find healing in building relationships. In contrast, the fundraising Team for Whispering Grace does the exact opposite and shares the story of the farm in a very humble and effective fashion.
Whispering Grace Horses has never done a broad public fundraiser. When asking around the local community about how to approach the undertaking, and showing the Whispering Grace Horse Farm story, Sandy and Chris raised their hands to take the lead. Both Sandy and Chris are local influences who brought along others to form a cohesive team with unique expertise to share. They were inspired by the farm activities and the volunteers that make the healing happen. The fundraising team knew that helping fund the farm will help heal children and veterans. They also knew that the farm story had to get out and sure enough when showing the impact, the sponsors donated!
By pulling back the barn door and seeing the sincerity and process on how Whispering Grace Horses works, it truly melts the heart. The auction team utilized video as internal inspiration to motivate themselves but also to spread the message to sponsors & donors before the auction. Then again to bidders during the auction fundraiser.
Tell the Story Then Ask
Utilizing video to tell and show Whispering Grace published a moving piece that emits a raw emotional connection of the mission and vision of this charity. This video brought the audience to complete silence and great pride to the work being accomplished.
Click the image to view the video.
Gain Attention & Fill the Seats
To gain attention to the auction, the auction team strategy was to get bidders to attend and make the event special. The game plan is to make the first auction fundraiser so special that it attracts attention and is the foundation to build on for years.
Attracting attention and attendees with:
- a unique venue, Maps Air Museum
- fun entertainment: famous country fiddler
- Interesting celebrity: local radio station emcee and even a puppy auction.
Wild, Wild West at the MAPS Museum was fun! The MAPS Museum is a museum of aviation historical aviation and a beautiful destination and backdrop to gain attention for the auction event. Whispering Grace auction team transformed the space into a wild west theme from invitations to decorations to entertainment.
Whispering Grace played a video during the event that pulled on every heartstring in the building. Not only do they run the farm for children across the road is Freedom Farms at Whispering Grace. This farm is dedicated to military veterans to help them heal too. To bring the attention and respect to the veterans at Freedom Farms they invited a color guard. The color guard with bugle perform a formal flag folding to honor those that have fallen.
Fiddler, Singer Entertainment was provided by Chris Higbee, famous country fiddler and Vanessa Mowrer, singer and songwriter.
Photo Spot The attire was western casual so everyone in attendance was comfortable and ready to enjoy the evening. A branded photo vignette gave a perfect little photo spot for people to take snapshots.
Whispering Grace auction team was proactive in seeking sponsors for the event. They were able to bring in about 20% of the entire fundraising before the event took place. By offering multi tier sponsorship levels and the publicity to be associated with Whispering Grace & Freedom Farms brought in a variety of support from across the area. Proper recognition was in the form of a large banner at the event.
Interesting Auction Items
Puppy Auction The original plan was to auction off a puppy from the local humane society, when that plan fell through an auction committee member reached out to a local breeder friend. Luckily there was one puppy Golden Doodle that was available and offered to Whispering Grace for auction. The puppy gained loads of attention and landed a final bid of six thousand dollars.
Next yearâ€™s auction event is already booked. The auction committee, volunteers, sponsors, donors and attendees interest level is flourishing. Because of the buzz created before and during this yearâ€™s event locals want to make sure to get in on the next one.
Whispering Grace Horses, located in Massillon Ohio was founded by a retired couple Bill & Marcia Shearer, former educators with a love for horses and healing. WGH is an equine and human relationship program that focuses on educating and building partnerships between humans and rescued horses. Each session is 1 leader, 1 child, 1 horse. The child has peaceful interaction with a gentle horse accepts the child as they are, listen without conditions. Being able to confide in a horse that has unconditional love builds relationships and helps the child and veteran heal. Follow Whispering Grace Horses on Facebook.
Freedom Farms is located in the property nearby and focuses solely on healing veterans.
Connect with Freedom Farms at WGH on their website.