Year in Review – 2014
Hello friends, and a belated Happy New Year! With 2015 already well underway, it’s a bit of a stretch to think back and recap the past year, but here goes…
Last January I was hunkered down and working hard writing my first book, something I’ve always wanted to do. The advice I received from experienced authors was to “write what you know about.” Well that was simple; since 1987 I’ve been conducting fundraising auctions of every size and scope. From little church auctions for small groups to major charity galas attended by thousands, by now I can honestly say, “been there, done that.”
But interestingly, after participating in literally thousands of fundraising auctions and helping raise countless millions of dollars, I was feeling extremely frustrated. All because most charity events are organized by well-meaning volunteers who simply don’t know what they need to know. And that lack of knowledge causes non-profit organizations of every size to lose money, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, at their events. You’d be amazed how much money there is in a room at any given event, and even more amazed to learn how much of that money walks right out the door at the end of the evening. Why? Well, there are dozens of reasons (all discussed in my book) and just as many solutions.
In April we were excited to release ‘EASY MONEY – How to Generate Record Profits at Your Next Fundraising Event,’ and I’m pleased to say that the response to the book has been overwhelming. Now, I’m nowhere near the New York Times Bestseller list (yet), but that’s fine by me. I’m just proud to put this information out there for the benefit of all, the very best of what I’ve learned (and stolen) over the past 28 years.
And what’s even more gratifying since the release of the book is to walk into an event that has been properly organized from start to finish, where every opportunity to extract money during those critical few hours has been explored. Like I say in the book, conducting a fundraising auction is like working an entire year to build a store that is only going to be open for five or six hours before closing…for another entire year! When those doors open, you’d better be well prepared, and that is what reading the book will help ensure.
And in conjunction with the book, we released SYMPHONY CHECKLIST BUILDER, a web-based app that helps non-profit organizations organize and execute a profitable event. For just ninety-nine bucks, the Event Chair can electronically delegate tasks (in the form of easy-to-use pre-populated checklists) to each worker-bee. Once that volunteer has completed a task, they simply check it off on their Smartphone or tablet, and the information feeds back to the boss in real time, making it easy to monitor everyone’s performance. What to do, how to do it, complete accountability – that’s what SYMPHONY CHECKLIST BUILDER is all about. For a FREE demo visit www.symphonychecklistbuilder.com
Following two hugely successful fundraising auction seminars in Edmonton, we then hit the road, conducting free ‘Lunch & Learn’ seminars for charity groups in Saskatoon, Regina, Grande Prairie, Kelowna, and Fort McMurray.
By the time summer rolled around, my sweetheart Brenda and I were ready for a little getaway and made our second trip to Tuscany. Must have been all that fabulous wine, we came home two weeks later…ENGAGED!
As for other highlights in 2014, a few come to mind. For the 21st consecutive year I emceed the mainstage at Canada’s largest outdoor country music festival, Big Valley Jamboree – I’ll write a book about that experience someday, but for now I’m excited about returning this summer – the artist lineup is nothing short of incredible.
We welcomed a whole bunch of new auction clients last year, including Ronald McDonald House, Trout Unlimited Canada, Lexus Canada, BC Cancer Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Boys and Girls Cluf of Leduc, and the Ardrossan Recreational and Agriculture Society.
There were far more memorable moments than I can remember – like selling a luxury dream home on Pender Island with the entire proceeds going to charity! Or that magical night in Westlock, AB, where 56 people joined me by raising their hand and pledging $1,000 apiece during a cash appeal at an event in support of mental health and suicide prevention.
All told, we helped non-profit organizations raise more than $20 million in 2014, and that just feels good.
And of course, as has been our tradition at Danny Hooper Productions since 2000, we wrapped up our business year in festive fashion, hosting our 14th annual Danny Hooper Classic Country Christmas Parties (two weekends, four nights) at Ft. Edmonton Park. They were a ton of fun, and it’s with mixed emotions that we now leave Fort Ed for a spectacular new location, the Enjoy Centre. This venue will provide easier access for our guests and greater capacity, allowing us to scale back to just one weekend – December 4 & 5. As things keep changing, we just keep growing.
Once again, Happy New Year and we look forward to serving the non-profit sector in 2015!