Phipps reached out to the NSCD in January to see if they were interested in being the beneficiary of such an event. After hearing the details, coordinating schedules and agreeing to help market the event, the NSCD was set to join. The fundraiser date was set for Wednesday, March 4; a date during the week when the brewery was not normally busy was important to help drive new traffic and be mindful of the taproom’s capacity.
To raise money for the NSCD, Living The Dream was willing to donate 20 percent from each pint sold during the event. This was a key factor in also attracting people to attend the event. In addition to the pint sales, a silent auction would be held that was made up of items from local businesses recruited by Confluence as well as prizes the NSCD had from donations from other sponsors.
Confluence knew that in order to make the maximum impact for the NSCD, as well as show Living The Dream these events can be beneficial, a detailed marketing campaign was necessary.
The marketing campaign was designed to find three audiences:
- People with disabilities (or associated) in Littleton and Highlands Ranch;
- People affiliated with the National Sports Center for the Disabled; and
- Visitors at Living The Dream for the three weeks prior to the event.
These audiences were marketed through social media and press releases, as well as posters and postcards. Brian created an online communications schedule where all social media and newsletter messaging were pre-written for the three parties (Confluence, NSCD and Living The Dream) who would send the messages. To advertise at the brewery, a large adaptive sit-ski from the NSCD was placed in the taproom with event information nearby. Here’s a quick rundown of how Phipps and the brewery executed the marketing plan:
- The press release was picked up by seven sources including Westword, PorchDrinking.com, Fermentedly Challenged and YourHub.
- Posters were placed in seven locations in Littleton and Highlands Ranch at silent auction sponsor locations, the NSCD Winter Park program location and recreation centers where numerous programs for people with disabilities are held.
- Fifty postcards were distributed at a Special Olympics basketball tournament.
- Twenty Facebook posts and 15 tweets were originally sent from Living The Dream, the NSCD and Confluence creating at least 1,500 impressions.
- The Facebook event reached 772 people.
- The event was also mentioned in Living The Dream and NSCD newsletters.
The big event
Confluence and Living The Dream arranged the taproom for the event. The NSCD and Confluence setup the auction area to look inviting to all attendees. Confluence created a video to recognize all sponsors of the event on the televisions around the taproom. In addition, Confluence created a playlist that included two videos from the NSCD, as well as several winter adaptive sports videos. Phipps emceed the event that consistently reminded people to visit the silent auction. The NSCD had athletes, volunteers and staff tell their experiences. In addition, Phipps informed people of other community events Living The Dream would be doing in the near future.
In addition, to help track some of the participation and effectiveness of the event, Confluence sampled 43 people at the event to see where they lived, if they had visited the brewery before and if they were affiliated with the NSCD.
Creating shared value
For all parties, the event was a win. Most importantly, the NSCD received $1,500 which is vital to the organization being able to provide its programming. For Living The Dream, they were able to help a cause they were passionate about, get people exposed to the brewery and inform those people that the brewery does care about being a good corporate citizen. For Confluence, the opportunity to link the Living The Dream to a great cause and create a successful fundraiser became a great launching point for its business.
Here are some of the notable outcomes from the event:
For the NSCD:
- The event raised $1,500 which helps 15 athletes participate in ski lessons or 60 athletes participate in kayak lessons;
- Numerous people signed up to volunteer or receive more information; and
- Relationships were created, renewed and deepened with attendees by sharing positive, life-changing experiences their programs provide.
For Living The Dream:
- Significantly higher revenues generated compared to average Wednesday;
- Acquisition of new customers from nearby community visiting the brewery for first time. Of sampled 43 attendees, 39 attended the brewery for the first time.
- Connection made with the disabled community of Littleton and Highlands Ranch;
- Increased number of social media followers on Facebook and Twitter;
- Significant increase in the number of social media posts from Living The Dream around its CSR — Confluence found this to be the highest number of CSR-related posts in its geographic area during the three-month span from when Confluence presented the CSR strategy to the event strategy presentation to one week past the event;
- Twenty-one people signed up for the Living The Dream newsletter;
- Introduction of business partnerships in community through silent auction;
- Gained knowledge of organizing and running a fundraiser at the brewery including layout, materials needed, staffing required, event communications and promotion techniques; and
- Connected Living The Dream staff to positive impacts their jobs and the brewery can make toward the community.
Brian Phipps is a Colorado native and passionate about helping the community. He learned the importance of volunteering and giving back through organizations, friends and family and has worked in the nonprofit world for 10 years with several corporate partners to obtain donations, as well as publicize and report returns on those contributions. For more information about Confluence LLC, be sure to check out the company’s website.