Eddy and Tina Swinging with the stars

How To Raise $100,000 In One Night 

You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose site of the shore.

Swinging with the stars

I met her a couple years ago, she was an outgoing student with a smile you could pick out a mile away. Kelsey Stewart is an inspiration to me, here’s why. 

Kelsey works at Hope’s Home in Regina. She came to us a few (just 4) months before the big event saying, “I got this idea…”. We instantly loved it. Though a bit courageous trying to pull it all off in such a short time frame. Why not wait till next year and plan out a “proper” event? Kelsey proved you DON’T need years to plan one of these events, you just need, well, Kelsey.

We had worked on Swinging With The Stars in Saskatoon. The firm we worked with spent two years planning their event, Kelsey had four months. FOUR MONTHS!!! The folks in Saskatoon had done it before, Kelsey and the Hope’s Home team have never tried it before. After our first meeting I still remember saying to Brandon that “she’s crazy and that’s definitely not enough time to pull it off!!”. That’s exactly why we wanted to help.

Parkinson’s Law

Nobody knew Kelsey and team put that all together in a short amount of time, she must believe in Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law: states that we complete any task in the time we a lot for it. Remember in University you’d wait till the last moment to write your papers and miraculously in the final 3 hours you bang out some useless jargon that got you an A? The only correction is that is wasn’t “miraculous.” It’s Parkinson’s Law at work.

Kelsey pulled it off because she believed she could. With some amazing partners in the community (ehem, Hillberg & Berk, Justin, Greg) it was easy to create a fever pitch the week of. You HAD to be going to the event because most of your friends were going to be there.

Most nonprofits are naturally risk adverse, they don’t naturally lean towards experimentation and trying new things but this is precisely what they need to do to survive!  

Kelsey did her homework, I don’t know how she got this wonderful group of 8 local celebrities and 8 amazing dancers together but wow! One of those celebrities happened to be Rachel Mielke, founder and CEO of Hillberg & Berk. Out of a tweet from the hosts (Justin and Greg were amazing), they called out Brett Wilson and started a fundraising war for the ages.

Dubbed the magnificent 7 vs 1, the group went back and forth until the night of where the magnificent 7 actually pulled ahead and beat the Hillberg fundraising wrecking ball.

The total raised by the end of the night wad $103,000. Just wow!!!

Why did it do so well?

1. A new fundraising idea in a saturated market

We like what is different. Kelsey and team could have picked a golf tournament, a dinner and speaker, heck they could have just done a Go Fund Me, but instead they chose the risky idea of an “unproven” unique style of fundraiser. Every now and then when you try something new you get surprised with what you find.

2. More people involved = more people that want to come

The amount of dancers and dance partners really helps when you’re trying to sell tickets. I’ve never seen a crowd like that, the youngest at a fundraising event in Regina for sure. You could make a good guess at the average age in the room based on the drink station lineups. They were ridiculous. Of the four places you could get spirits, all were lined up ridiculously long. Why? Have you ever seen anything like it outside of a music festival? I’d never seen anything like it at the Delta. Every young mover and shaker in Regina was there. Once a few people bought tickets it seemed to cool thing to do. That’s how you sell out an event, make sure your event is “cool”.

Having 8 people promote your event is a great idea, having 8 people potentially embarrass themselves on stage is an AMAZING idea!


3. Partners, partners, partners

To those who you collaborate with you owe your success to. Rachel and the Hillberg team deserve a big shoutout. Also I have to give up to Justin and Greg, they had me laughing throughout. They’re the type of hosts you need at an event like this. And how could I forget about the judges; the back and forth between the judges, hosts, and contestants was priceless. You couldn’t have written a better script. Justin and Greg really made for a great pair to keep the crowd entertained; well Justin. Greg’s still working through the whole headband identity thing. 🙂

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