New Day Foundation for Families relies on fundraising events every year to support their mission. The critical work of the nonprofit organization reduces the catastrophic effects of financial toxicity for families faced with a cancer diagnosis. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, canceling their annual fundraiser, the Hope Shines gala, was not an option. With less than two months until event day, New Day Foundation partnered with Special D Events to reimagine their program virtually and create the Hope Shines No Show Glow gala.
Host an entertaining event that effectively communicates the mission of the New Day Foundation for Families, while raising vital funds to support the cancer community.
The planning team met regularly to strategically design a program that was uplifting, impactful and fun. New Day Foundation was fortunate to have a great deal of video content, paired with a wide network of both celebrity and community voices to participate. The real challenge was to create a program that not only captured, but maintained, the shortened attention span of a virtual audience. The team was charged with pivoting from a three-hour live event to a one-hour virtual program, with hundreds of attendees and donors.
Special D Events worked with New Day Foundation to create a production show flow that integrated with their auction website, ClickBid. The team brought in a production partner that featured several studios, allowing the event to feature different scenarios throughout the evening. The end result featured 11 prerecorded videos, two stages, one emcee, two musicians, two presenters, a live cocktail-making segment, one Livestream phone-in guest and a silent auction.
In addition, the Special D Events team ensured rigorous safety protocols were in effect on rehearsal and event day, including temperature checks, masks and, of course, social distancing for the limited, in-person gala presenters.
The event raised more than $23,000 in direct donations and attracted more than 500 users on the auction website, about 100 more people than the number of attendees at past live events. New Day staff described the virtual event as “our best yet in terms of net total!”