In this video, I’m joined by Thelma and Suzanne from the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA). Today, we’re chatting about their high-spirited, in-person event, Copitas del Sol 2021, hosted by their Auxiliary Board and produced in partnership with S.A.C.R.E.D. NMMA supporters were invited to enjoy music, delicious bites from Chicago’s best restaurants, and unique cocktails. They also go to try their luck in a raffle featuring enticing prize packages! See how the NMMA team was able to pull off such an exciting event, as Thelma and Suzanne share:
- Why they chose to sell tickets for this event on Givebutter
- What made this event so successful (Hint: Excited team fundraisers!)
- Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for building and keeping momentum for your fundraising event
“I think Givebutter is really instrumental. When you're out there as an Auxiliary Board member and you're trying to fundraise money, it just makes it so much easier. I'm talking about the event, I'm hyping up the event, I'm posting on social media about the event, and it's just really easy to send people directly to that link and have them sign up and get that particular sign-up credited to me... I love it also as somebody who's fundraising because I can see exactly how many tickets are left in real time... The fact that it's such an interactive platform really makes it easy for us to do our job to hype up the event and make sure people know there aren't too many tickets left so they need to buy soon.”
They’re really mixing things up; keep reading to learn how these Changemakers created such a successful event using Givebutter!
Campaign at a glance
Full video script
Rachel: Hey everybody! Rachel here again with Givebutter. Thanks for joining for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. Today, we are featuring the National Museum of Mexican Art. Recently, their spirited mixer fundraising event brought in over $16,000 on Givebutter to bring stories of Mexican art and culture to the people of Chicago and beyond. If you're looking for inspiration for an in-person mixer with a raffle, this one is for you! I have Thelma and Suzanne here with me to share how they made this campaign so successful as well as—you know them, you love them—tips, tricks, and lessons learned along the way. Thank you both so much for joining and sharing your story with us.
Thelma: Thanks for having us!
Suzanne: Absolutely! Thanks for having us, Rachel.
Rachel: So excited to dive in and learn more, but before we do, I would love to start by just having you both introduce yourselves, your role with your organization, your mission—just some of the basics for those who haven't visited or aren't familiar with what you do. Thelma, let's start with you.
Thelma: Sure! My name is Thelma Uranga. I am the Communications and Development Manager at the National Museum of Mexican Art. One of the roles that I play is staff liaison to the Auxiliary Board which Suzanne is on. At the National Museum of Mexican Art, we are all about celebrating Mexican art and culture and making it as free and accessible as possible for all to enjoy.
Suzanne: I love it. Hi everyone! My name is Suzanne Alton de Eraso. I'm an attorney in Chicago and I am a member of the Auxiliary Board for the National Museum of Mexican Art as Thelma said. I was also the Chair of our event that we're going to be talking about today, Copitas del Sol. It was a really great way to give back to the community, raise a lot of money for the museum, and have a lot of fun this summer.
Rachel: Awesome! Thank you both so much for sharing a little bit more about who you are and what you do. Speaking of this fun event, walk us back to where it all started because I know this was your first in-person event this year, right?. How did you go about navigating that decision? Do we do it in person? Is it virtual? Is it hybrid? When did those conversations start? Have you done an event like this before? What’s the background of this event?
Thelma: Yeah, that's a great question! This was our third year hosting this event. The first year, basically a small committee of the Auxiliary Board brainstormed from the ground up. We wanted to do our signature fundraiser in the fall; it’s our Day of the Dead Ball. It's a huge party in the evening. We wanted to do something very different from that, so we decided we would host a daytime event. We knew we wanted it to be agave and mezcal centered, educational, and just something fun and light where people could get to know members of the Auxiliary Board, enjoy the museum on the weekend, and come visit. Suzanne was also the Chair of our very first in-person event as well.
Suzanne: Yeah, absolutely Rachel. I think it's been a really interesting progression, knowing what the event was supposed to be like at our inaugural event and then watching this event evolve during the pandemic, having to go entirely online back in 2020. Then, now in 2021, just the excitement with respect to hosting the event as we had initially intended to host the event and still having that support from platforms such as Givebutter with respect to continuing those virtual fundraising activities.
Rachel: Yeah! Wow, you guys have seen this event change really rapidly in a short period of time, haven't you?
Suzanne: We’ve been flexible!
Rachel: Yeah! What were some of the frameworks, I guess, that you put around this event to make it so successful? I know you had a raffle piece. Were there other fundraising tactics that you used going into this event that made it so successful?
Thelma: Well, I think one of the benefits to hosting these events with the Auxiliary Board is that they're basically a large group of ambassadors. They're great volunteers who love the museum, so they're all about spreading the word and getting people excited to go to the event. Givebutter works really well for us to get everyone on Board signed up to our team and, of course, to track everyone's donations which is very important.
Suzanne: Yeah, absolutely. Just to ditto, Rachel, what Thelma said, I think Givebutter is really instrumental. When you're out there as an Auxiliary Board member and you're trying to fundraise money, it just makes it so much easier. I'm talking about the event, I'm hyping up the event, I'm posting on social media about the event, and it's just really easy to send people directly to that link and have them sign up and get that particular sign-up credited to me. They know, “Oh yes, this is Suzanne's event,” or “This is so-and-so's event.” I love it also as somebody who's fundraising because I can see exactly how many tickets are left in real time. I can tell my people, “Hey, we've only got 10 tickets left for this event, you guys. You have to buy right now because those are going to be gone in a day!” I just absolutely love the fact that it's virtual and it's real time. The fact that it's such an interactive platform really makes it easy for us to do our job to hype up the event and make sure people know there aren't too many tickets left so they need to buy soon.
Thelma: I would also add, we doubled our food vendors this year, so we had some of Chicago's heavy hitters in the room. That was very exciting for our guests. We had more than 10 agave spirits on site. They were offering a combination of cocktails and neat pours. Suzanne and the Host Committee did an amazing job with the raffle which raised $2,500. It was six packages that they put together—very enticing—but I'll let Suzanne tell you more about that.
Suzanne: Yeah, absolutely Rachel. This year we contacted a number of Chicagoland businesses and had reached out to them with respect to fun stuff to do in the summer. We weren't entirely sure how the raffle would work post-pandemic, knowing that, of course, there are a number of businesses who struggled. Not quite sure to what extent people would feel comfortable being a sponsor and donating to an in-person event. But, we really found that there were a number of community partners who were absolutely happy to donate to this particular event: raffle items, experiences, or just swag—as it were, some really good swag. I think that was really encouraging for us. I would say that's encouraging I think for anybody who's contemplating hosting an event in the pandemic or is hopefully trying to come out of the pandemic. Those efforts I think were really on par with respect to previous years. That was really exciting to see because we just weren't sure how our raffle was going to go this year. It was great. We had everything from alcohol, experiences, agave tastings, wine tastings, beer tastings… There was a really great Chicago business called MINNIDIP that sells mini pools; they donated little pool inflatables.
Rachel: Oh fun!
Suzanne: Just you name it! All sorts of interesting swag. Everything from coffee shops to bookstores. We created some really great experience packages for our guests, and those went really fast. We sold a ton of raffle tickets. It was just really wonderful to see that.
Rachel: Yeah, I bet! I'm like, “Oh, I wish I could have got that!” I'm going to go ahead and share my screen here, so all of you can see—that are following along—because I'm sure you're wondering what this beautiful campaign looks like. You mentioned some of the things that helped you be successful being the power of team fundraising with your Board, tickets, raffles, and all that being in real time. I love that you pointed that out. Of course, you have your story section that was just so beautifully written and laid out. Your supporter feed to the right. Lots of people just ready to buy their tickets and come. Was there anything else, as we are looking at your campaign page, that you're thinking would be a helpful tip, trick, or lesson learned for other fundraisers who are thinking about doing a similar type of event?
Suzanne: Rachel, one feature that I like to point out that I really like on Givebutter is the fact that it's interactive when people are purchasing tickets. I can go say something about the purchase that I'm making. We do a lot of that—at least, I like to do that—during our Day of the Dead Ball. I can just say briefly, “I'm buying these tickets in honor of my grandfather.” Or, I'm watching a friend who's purchasing tickets or just purchased tickets, and I can like the fact that they've purchased. I can leave a cute note saying, “I'm so glad that you purchased. Thank you so much for supporting the museum! We really look forward to seeing you at our event.” I just think that's really cool. That's not something that you typically associate with purchasing tickets, but the fact that it allows for that additional level of interaction I think, again, it's just one more benefit of using Givebutter.
Rachel: Yeah, absolutely! That live supporter feed building that momentum. I was sort of on the backend watching as you launched this and tickets were coming in. It seemed like you were able to just build momentum throughout the entire campaign. There wasn't really a sticking point, at least as an observer. Kudos to you because I think building momentum is one of the absolute hardest parts of online fundraising, getting the tickets and keeping momentum going after launch. How did you do that?
Thelma: Well, we gave people a bit of a teaser. To be quite honest, we had only a few vendors on board at the beginning, but we felt pretty confident. Plus, with our partnership with S.A.C.R.E.D agave, they were really wonderful and instrumental in bringing a lot of those vendors. We were confident that our lineup would look good, but, more than anything, we were telling people, “We’re going to have neat pours and cocktails! We’ll have local restaurants!” We were giving people a little preview of the past event and what to expect this year. We were telling them about our DJ and it was limited capacity. Normally, I think we would have had probably double the people at an event like this, but we had to limit capacity for everyone’s safety and for everyone to feel good attending the event. I think it was a number of things. Tickets on the early end just went pretty quickly. After that, like Suzanne said, we kept telling people, “Hey, there's only so many tickets left. You don't want to miss this event!” We sold out quite a bit in advance, and it was a wonderful surprise.
Suzanne: I would just add on to that, Rachel, a really funny story. As the Chair of the event, I grabbed the last ticket to the event. I almost missed my chance to attend my own event because tickets went so incredibly fast! But just to dovetail on what Thelma said, I think something else that was really helpful with respect to this campaign is that as an Auxiliary Board, we all knew this event was coming and we talked about it in advance of the ticket sales. For us, it was already something that we were teasing with respect to social media, telling our friends, letting people know, “Hey, we are going to have the event this year. It is going to be in person.” So when tickets did launch, people were already on the lookout with respect to the invite and knew about the event and had expressed interest with respect to coming to the event. I think that also helps contribute. It's not just a sort of slow rollout, but we did have that really nice build up as a Board. People knew, “Hey, I'm going to be sending you this link. Tickets are going to come out in a couple of days,” and then boom! The rest is history. It went pretty quickly from there.
Rachel: Okay! That's really helpful for people to know. It's almost like you had such a big build up that it just powered through the entire campaign. Instead of thinking about building momentum as this thing we start and then roll up hill, you started so high and it just brought momentum through your campaign. Just a different perspective and helpful to hear how you guys were building that leading up to the event. Obviously, it was so successful! For those that have just been inspired and loved learning more about you in this interview, where can they find you?
Rachel: Beautiful! Thank you again for joining and sharing your incredible success. Congratulations on yet another successful mixer!
Thelma: Thank you!
Suzanne: Thanks, Rachel!
Rachel: For everybody else who's following along, thank you for joining for another Success Story! Please remember to like, share, and subscribe to Givebutter’s YouTube channel, so you never miss an inspiring campaign again. We will see you next week. Until then, happy fundraising! Bye everybody.
View campaign: Copitas del Sol 2021: A Spirited Mixer
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.