Rocky Mountain Section IFT
Question & Answer with Ron Jackson, Chair
Can you describe your December event?
Our December event theme was "In the Spirit of Giving" and it truly was all about giving (and also a little bit about spirits). The idea started in our Executive Committee (EC) meeting when reviewing our financials. We found we had done such a good job of managing the funds from our Supplier's Night, Golf Outing, and scholarship fund raising event that we had too much money to carry over. We are already doing quite a bit in the scholarship area. We started "brainstorming" on how we could give back to the active RMIFT membership and how we could give back to the community. This event evolved from having a festive holiday celebration that would attract members and allow them to bring a spouse or guest. We were immediately "giving back" to them by giving them a significant discount in the cost of their dinner. We went farther saying if they were willing to bring a gift off the Children's Hospital Colorado "Wish List" worth $20 or more to "give" to one of the patients, we would pay for their entire dinner. This opportunity was only given to RMIFT members and their guest; non-members were required to pay the full price of $35. This also became a recruiting tool for RMIFT, with six new and renewing members paying their section dues at the door. Throughout the event we were "giving" out door prizes "given" to the RMIFT by some of our generous suppliers. Some suppliers also chose to donate gifts off the "Wish List" directly for Children's Hospital Colorado (CHC) which increased significantly the amount that we were able to "give" to them the day after the event.
How did your members respond to the event and what feedback did you get?
Our members responded in a very positive fashion, with many members who were traveling and could not attend, expressing their disappointment and support. We had 48 actual attendees but we officially took 130 gifts with a conservative estimated worth of $1,950 to CHC the next day. Our members felt very good about the RMIFT giving back to the community and those in need. There have already been several requests to do it again next year. The EC feels that the event was a total success, accomplishing everything that we had originally intended. We have already started planning a similar event for 2013.
From the donation recipients?
Children's Hospital Colorado was really appreciative and wonderful to work with before and after the event. They communicated with us as needed and allowed us to use their logo for publicity for the event. They provided us a valid receipt for tax purposes showing that our donation was more than the amount that we actually spent on the event. This was so much more valuable than just making a direct donation to a charity.
Have you done the event this way in the past?
We have never had an event like this before. A major difference was that it was really designed to be a socializing, networking, fun event celebrating the holidays together as a RMIFT group. The only business that we took care of during the event was "giving" the awards to the people who have "given" so much to the RMIFT.
What else is the Rocky Mountain Section doing that demonstrates out of the box thinking?
We had another great event last year. We held a joint event with the Regional RCA to raise money for our scholarship fund. Being a small section, the interface with another professional group in our area was very beneficial. We learned a lot and enjoyed the growth in our relationship. We had a local craft beer brewery, Odell's, provide the beers & ales for a beer tasting event with the verbal presentation and description of the beers by Master Brewer & Owner, Doug Odell.
The RCA chefs provided elegant food pairings with each beer and described the food pairing. The event was a total success. We cleared over $2,000 which was split equally between the scholarship funds of the two groups.