By Kristen Briggs and Katie Camarena, Inspired Adventures team members
On Saturday 5 May 2012, around 500 people attended a Masquerade Ball in Ulladulla, NSW. The ball raised over $60,000 for 25 year-old Turia Pitt who sustained severe burns while running an ultramarathon in Western Australia last year. Using fundraising techniques such as ‘Virtual Guests’, online ticket sales and an online fundraising page, the organisers of the Ball enhanced their success and maximised the dollars raised for Turia. This month we look at the Masquerade Ball and speak to Kristen who was a key mover and shaker.
What inspired you to raise funds for Turia?
Turia and I grew up together. I decided to fundraise for her because she is one of my best friends and I know that if I was in her position she would do the same for me. Turia has given so much to help others not only in Australia, but around the world. She has volunteered and built houses in Mongolia and she and I participated in an Inspired Adventure and raised funds to help build a school in Cambodia. We fundraised as a team so it was bizarre fundraising for her rather than with her.
Why a masquerade ball and not a movie night?
I held a Masquerade Ball because Turia has to wear a compression mask for the next two years; I wanted her to feel comfortable at the Ball.
Did the community support your endeavours? In what way?
The Ulladulla community really got behind us; I constantly had different business’s contacting me and offering me donations and prizes to auction and raffle off. The event was a sellout we sold just over 500 tickets a $60 each!
What jobs did you delegate?
Once I worked out what needed to be done in order for the night to be a success, (ie; catering, alcohol, decorations, lighting, sound, entertainment, raffle and auction prizes), I contacted all of my friends that I knew could help or at least point me in the right direction of someone that could.
One of my friends is a chef and he organised the catering; another friend’s dad owns a bottle shop so he organised the alcohol and then I got the girls who live in Ulladulla to organize the decorations.
How did you organise the liquor license at your event?
In order for me to be issued with liquor license, I first had to be issued with an Authority to Fundraise from a registered charity. I contacted the Fire Foundation, a charity for fire and burns victims throughout Australia. They were extremely helpful and issued us with an Authority to Fundraise on behalf of Turia. I then applied to the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing for a 24-hour liquor license, which then had to be approved by the local police station. I had to ensure that people running food or serving alcohol on the night had their Responsible Services of Alcohol (RSA) certificate.
How did you maximise your fundraising during the event?
I maximised my fundraising by setting up an online ticket site through www.trybooking.com. That way people who didn’t live in Ulladulla could purchase tickets online. I also gave people the option of purchasing a ‘Virtual Ticket’ at a reduced price. That gave them an option of attending in the form of a photograph of themselves hanging from a balloon rather than being there in person. I then organised a photo booth where I charged people $5 per photo (two photos where issued; one was pasted into a memory book for Turia, the other was given to the Ball-goer). Raffle tickets were sold at $5 each or 3 for $10 and we had about 10 silent auctions and 3 live auctions on the night. The highlight of the live auctions was a beautiful diamond donated by Rio Tinto that had come from the mine site where Turia had been working. One of my friends who works at Macquarie Bank sent a request to the Macquarie Foundation who match funds raised by their employees ‘dollar for dollar’. As there were three names on the Authority to Fundraise, only one of them was an employee. That meant they were only able to match one third of the $60,000 total raised on the night. Regardless, it was a huge contribution and we were grateful for the extra $20,000 received from our friends at the Macquarie Foundation.
Tell us more about these ‘virtual’ tickets.
Virtual tickets are for people that can’t make it on the night but still want to contribute in some way. Tickets were sold at $40 each (as opposed to the $60 charged for physical attendance). Those who bought virtual tickets were instructed to send a photo of themselves to the organisers of the event. Those photographs were then printed out and put on a balloon, which were part of the decorations on the night. Photographs were taken of each virtual guest and sent to them so that they could see what a great night their virtual self had.
How about the raffle; what permissions did you need to obtain?
We checked with NSW Department of Liquor, Gaming and Racing to see what permissions were required to hold a raffle in NSW. Thankfully none of the items were valued at over $5000 so no permits were required. There are different rules in each State so this is something that should be looked at when organizing any raffle.
What advice would you give anyone organizing a fundraising event?
- Time: give yourself a few months to plan and promote the event.
- Team: make sure you have a fundraising team to help you.
- Delegate: palm off what you can so you don’t get too stressed out.
- Re-group: have monthly meetings to make sure you are on top of everything.
- Promote: let people know that it is a charity event and try to get as much stuff for free as possible.
- Contact: send a press release to your local media. Send letters to local businesses.
Costs vs. donations-in-kind:
|Sound engineer||$500||Food||Virtual Guests||$4,000|
|Cleaning||$1,000||Raffle prizes||Silent auctions||$6,000|
|Photo Booth||$1,500||Auction prizes||Raffle||$5,000|
|Linen/chair covers||$655||Corporate dollar matching||$20,000|
Background on Turia:
Turia grew up in the Milton-Ulladulla area; she gained excellent results in the HSC and, after relocating to Sydney, enrolled at the University of NSW to study a double degree in Environmental Science and Mining Engineering. Turia graduated with 1st Class Honours and accepted a position to work as a Graduate Mining Engineer for Rio Tinto at the Argyle Diamond Mine in Kununurra, WA.
On the 5th of September 2011, Turia participated in Racing the Planet’s Kimberley Ultra Marathon. During the early stages of this race, Turia and four other runners became trapped in a gorge when a bushfire that was burning out of control in the El Questro Wilderness Park engulfed Turia and her fellow competitors.
Turia suffered horrendous burns to 60% of her body, sustaining the worst burns on her arms, hands and legs. Her face and neck were also burned. As a result, Turia will have to wear a full body compression suit for the next two years and will not be allowed in the sun without her body being totally covered until 2014.
Background on Kristen:
Fundraising Coordinator Kristen joined the Inspired Adventures team in 2011 after participating in an Inspired Adventure in 2009 (with Turia by her side). Kristen cycled through Cambodia and raised funds to build a school. A keen explorer, Kristen has travelled to some of the world’s most remote locations and has even worked as a mountain bike instructor. She has already planned the next 10 years of adventures based on her love of scuba diving, hiking and animals.
RESOURCES AND LINKS:
- Raffle permits (NSW)
- Liquor License permit (NSW)
- Online Ticket Sales: www.trybooking.com
- Guide to Fundraising: Movie Night
- Guide to Fundraising: Fundraising Outside of your Networks
- Turia & Kristen fundraising together (2009): Surf Comp a Hit
- News: Ball to raise $50,000 for race burns victim Turia Pitt
- Turia Pitt on 60 Minutes: The Longest Run
- Turia’s online fundraising page
- The Fire Foundation
- Turia & Kristen fundraising for ChildFund