Blog Post by: Kimberly Perry
I love to use a timeless adage when I need to prove a point. Whether I’m having a conversation with my kids or doing a sales call – it’s a quirk that makes me old-fashioned and always works like a charm. I’m a “moral-of-the-story” gal at heart.
From the self-explanatory go-to favorites like, “the early bird gets the worm,” and “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” to those especially relevant to our fundraising event world, cue the, “many hands make light work” and “the proof is in the pudding” phrases stored in my toolbelt. I find that these phrases are attention grabbers, as well as easily understood.
Now and then, however, I’ll use an expression and subsequently realize I have no clue how it originated.
This happened on one of my sales calls recently when outlining the “secret sauce” behind the teams hosting our longest-running events. I defaulted to my handy, “they never rest on their laurels” explanation. I know what the expression conveys, but what is a “laurel?” Upon a quick Google search, I uncovered the Greek history in this really cool article. In a nutshell: Back in the day, a wreath made of laurel leaves (often worn as a crown) symbolized victory.
Understanding the origin of this expression made it easier to explain and prove my point.
If you’re wondering how and why our best teams have the strongest events, it’s because they never take previous success for granted. They work just as hard on their seventeenth event now as they did on their first.
If specific event elements each symbolize a laurel branch, here are some examples of how our teams keep their wreaths (so to speak) fresh every year:
- New graphics. They change up their branding with different designs and color themes so marketing collateral stands out to the recipient and doesn’t feel stale
- Sell sponsorships early and retain the same sponsors every year while also adding new sponsorship packages and opportunities for local businesses to leverage the event for community marketing
- Release and sell VIP tables in advance, allowing top sponsors and donors to pre-select their tables with first right of refusal (some teams do this six months prior to their events!)
- Be BOLD & take a risk with surprise WOW moments for your guests. Two of our teams incorporated celebrity impersonators and cover bands as musical segments into their fashion shows and the guests went crazy. Who doesn’t love a Top Gun Maverick look-a-like on stage during the live auction?!
The list goes on, but those are some common denominators across our teams whose events consistently feel fresh and grow in revenue annually. The teams that modify their formula, even if ever so slightly each year, generate new and better results.
This brings me to my new favorite expression when it comes to keeping our events fresh yet sustainable:
Don’t reinvent the wheel – REDESIGN it!