Reaching for the Stars with Fundraising Ideas - John Tobey

The most effective fundraising ideas and events don’t end when guests go home.

By inspiring participation and making an emotional impact on your attendees, you build momentum that carries your organization’s mission forward.

At John Tobey Events as a nonprofit event planner, we know this method works. We’ve seen it countless times before, and we are continually inspired by the amazing work we’ve seen groups do in their communities. Assisting these groups as they seek to grow support and enthusiasm is truly an honor. We work hand-in-hand with organizations to develop a theme that will drive their message home and create a lasting impact on guests.

Who doesn’t love a themed party?

A cohesive and comprehensive theme is important. First, it’s fun! And equally important: it works. Telling a story through a theme is an effective way to seize and maintain the focus of your event amid the excitement. It conveys professionalism and the ability to pull off something big—important factors when building support.

Where to begin? Tips for getting started:

  • Is there a theme that’s inherent to the work you do? Use that as a starting point.
  • Think back to great events you’ve been part of before—it’s OK to repurpose good fundraising ideas!
  • Test a few ideas against your organization’s brand and mission—which ones resonate?
  • People will start forming expectations well before the day of the event. How can you work with the event name, invitations, and other early touch points to build excitement?
  • In what ways will you incorporate social media? An effective digital strategy can expand the reach of your event beyond that particular place and time.
  • What feeling or thought do you want guests to walk away with? Do you want to inspire? Challenge? Inform? How can various elements help support that desired experience?
  • Float your ideas past others. Do their eyes light up? A good idea should be exciting!

A thoughtfully chosen theme, paired with execution and focus on details, ultimately adds to the energy of your event.

Reaching for the Stars with Fundraising Ideas - John Tobey & ET

Own your theme. Elevate your event.

We serve many philanthropic organizations throughout Colorado and always strive to showcase our fundraising organizations’ missions and visions. An event that is fun, entertaining, and on-message keeps guests engaged, wanting more, and returning annually.

The National Repertory Orchestra “Reached the Stars”

The National Repertory Orchestra is a Breckenridge-based summer music festival. It’s a place where young, socially conscious musicians can be part of an experiential learning process, becoming leaders and musicians at the same time.

The National Repertory Orchestra serves as a prime example of how developing a theme can elevate an event. In 2019, we had the honor of planning the 2019 Reaching For The Stars Gala at the Seawell Ballroom.

This prestigious annual event brings together celebrities, influencers, and Denver and Summit County’s high-profile music patrons each year. The Gala (see Getting Gala Ready) serves as NRO’s most important fundraising event of the year, featuring an elegant dinner with live and silent auctions. Of course, the National Repertory Orchestra hosts a special performance. Where else can you go to a fundraising event, and hear the sounds and then dance to an 88-piece orchestra?

John Tobey Events took the NRO Gala to the next level. When John took the event to Seawell Ballroom, it really upped the venue game. The production team, led by Brook Nichols, pulled out all the stops. The evening’s theme was expressed through enhanced lighting, pin-spotted tables, theatrical backdrops, and glamorous chandeliers. Audio experts ensured everything sounded great, and the musicians, unsurprisingly, were amazing.

Guests eagerly wait in the wings to hear what the theme will be each year. They know the entertainment will be consistently great, but the twist of a new theme each year, keeps guests anticipating, coming back for more.

Planning philanthropic events comes with additional challenges beyond the event itself: fundraising goals to be met, ensuring your message is conveyed they way you intend, leaving every attendee inspired, gaining media exposure, and always striving to set the bar higher. It’s a lot… but we love every minute.

Every year we eagerly anticipate our spring philanthropic season. While we stay focused on the true purpose of every event, we must admit, being part of a themed philanthropic party is a ton of fun!