Here at Viva HQ we love working with and engaging with the local community. And supporting a fundraising event for The Isabel Hospice is not only a charity close to our hearts but one that we are very proud to have worked with.
The event was “Music for a Summer Evening” and was held at a private estate in Hertfordshire. The hosts had held a family celebration in a hired marquee and offered the Isabel Hospice the use of it for a fundraising event, before the marquee was taken down. It was a fully serviced marquee with lighting, loos, staging and furniture. The grounds had been set up for a party, so the parking arrangements were already arranged.
As with all fundraising events, the aim is to raise as much as possible and to reduce costs. Of course getting the balance between creating a wonderful experience for guests who wish to support the charity and raising funds is a crucial one, and The Isabel Hospice is blessed to have an amazing lady who leads the event planning. With her experience, expertise and contacts, she was able to do this AND MORE.
The venue was essentially free! Tickets were sold for the event, and didn’t include catering, although there was a drinks reception prior to the evening. So guests brought their own picnics, decorated their own tables and either brought their own wine or purchased high quality wine from a wine merchant who donated a percentage of his profits to the charity.
The sound was provided by a local gentleman who works for the local theatre. He brought all his (excellent) equipment and worked tirelessly throughout the afternoon to provide an outstanding quality of sound enhancement for the singers. In my next life I’ll be a sound engineer: and manage the musicians in my own special way…. (Switching off their microphones if they’re naughty).
There was a competition and prize for the best decorated table – with candelabra allowed! The guests went to town on the decorating with amazing results.
There was also a raffle with amazing, high quality prizes. The above: Fortnum and Mason Champagne and chocolates is now on my Christmas list…. Instead of having people selling tickets around tables, there was an announcement during the welcome speech. Tickets had been put on the tables in large envelopes and guests were invited to buy tickets and put the money in the envelope. Classy!
The Viva Live Music team comprised of 4 singers and pianist as well as myself event managing. Their fees were sponsored by a supporter of the charity. One note on charity events: we have at least one call a week asking for entertainment for free “Because it is a charity”. If you are paying for the catering, production etc, the entertainment should also be budgeted and paid for. We don’t send out musicians ‘for free’ although we have charity rates.
The singers performed on the stage which had some excellent lighting, but for specific numbers they interacted with the audience.
The two gentlemen warmed hearts with the Pearlfishers Duet and also serenading guests. The tenor, Neil Simon had his aria “Nessun Dorma” auctioned for £500 and he serenaded a table with this iconic aria.
Our soprano also interacted with the audience.
At the end of the evening, the singers were warmly applauded by the audience. The feedback the charity received from the evening was brilliant and they raised a significant amount of money. So why was it so successful?
- The venue with the beautiful location was donated
- The ticket prices were very reasonable (£35) and as a result, guests felt they had a wonderful evening and donated more.
- The charity budgeted for good quality entertainment. The International opera singers at the event were outstanding and the audience recognised this.
- The quality of the table decorating and catering was amazing. The ticket prices would have been very high, had this included in the event, so this was a way of keeping the ticket prices down.
- The marquee had furniture and lighting as well as the staging. This also kept prices down.
- The sound engineer/producer also donated his equipment and time.
- The guests didn’t feel they were constantly being asked for money (long auction, raffle). This was done very subtly and only twice.
- It was an excellent event. Very high end; luxurious. The guests felt they had had a fabulous evening and as a result, they donated more.
I am so pleased it was a success.