Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities Case Study
Donor Gift Boxes: Creating a Community Around a Cause
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Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities
Handbag HULLABALOO!™ Fundraising Event
Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a home away from home for families of sick and injured children who receive care at local hospitals. The organization empowers families to access specialized medical treatment for children, while also providing a place to stay at little-to-no cost. Atlanta RMHC’s mission is to nurture the health and well-being of children and families by giving them the care and resources they need to stay close to one other.
|79%||Percentage of families who cannot afford to contribute toward their stay during treatments|
|2,863||Families served by Atlanta RMHC in 2020|
|$2.6 Million||Saved by families staying within a Ronald McDonald facility or partner hotel|
Source: Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities Impact Report (2020)
In April 2021, Atlanta RMHC held its fourth annual Handbag HULLABALOO!™ event, hosted by radio personality Jenn Hobby of Star 94.1 FM.
“Every spring, Handbag HULLABALOO!™ brings together a bingo-like game, raffle, philanthropy, and designer handbags as prizes to support Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities,” says Stephanie Block, Senior Director of Special Events and Community Engagement. “It’s a unique fundraising event that provides guests near and far with a fun night of companionship and philanthropy.”
Since 2018, Block says the Handbag HULLABALOO!™ has been a signature event for the Atlanta chapter, drawing an increasing number of attendees each year. She says more than 350 guests across the United States signed up to participate in the 2021 event.
“Participants receive a purse-shaped game booklet,” Block says. “Each page of the booklet is a game round with unique handbag images filled with different words. If they hear a word spoken by Jenn Hobby, they can color in that word. The first three people to yell HULLABALOO! after their purses are completely colored in are entered into a raffle. The first name called receives a consolation handbag, the next name called receives a runner-up bag, and the final name called receives the HULLABALOO bag valued at $1,000 or more.”
Challenges to Overcome
After hosting the event in person for two years, the Atlanta RMHC team made the decision to take the 2020 and 2021 Handbag HULLABALOO!™ events online due to COVID-19 related concerns. Block says this transition caused a change in strategy with a real opportunity to expand the charity’s reach and to decrease overhead event costs.
“Normally, the in-person Handbag HULLABALOO!™ is all about fundraising and networking,” Block explains. “While our virtual events still accomplish these goals, we had new challenges to consider. For example, how would we provide that same exciting experience online that we’d normally provide in person? How would we convince people to once again participate in our event after being maxed out on video calls and virtual parties throughout the last year? Donor engagement was a big concern for us.”
Block said that her team’s main goal in 2021 was to bring awareness to the charity and maintain engagement among sponsors and event attendees. The team began to brainstorm how to provide an enjoyable online experience that would get donors excited to support the organization’s cause.
“An in-person event certainly brings a level of human connectivity we are all still learning how to emulate in virtual events and programs,” Block explains. “It was important that these excitement and anticipation factors carried over into our virtual handbag event. It was a top priority for our team to sell the virtual event to long-standing event attendees and supporters, as well as new donors and friends.”
Block says she needed a strategy to convince supporters to buy a ticket to a virtual fundraising event in the midst of many other virtual offerings. “The charity discovered pc/nametag in the preceding year, so we knew that creating a customized attendee gift box was the perfect solution,” she says.
“Working with pc/nametag for this event was the clear solution,” Block says. “Back in December 2020, we used its gift box service for another virtual event which drew CEOs from Ronald McDonald chapters nationwide. The pc/nametag team was easy to work with, so we knew we could rely on its team to help us with our Handbag HULLABALOO!™ event.”
When asked what set pc/nametag apart from other gift box assembly companies, Block says that pc/nametag’s fulfillment service was one of the greatest perks.
“With this service, we were able to send sponsored and donated items straight to the pc/nametag facility for packing and shipping,” she says. “We liked that we were able to include our own items that we provided. This was a great benefit over other companies, many of which do not offer this service option.”
Generating Excitement Among Donors and Sponsors
Block said she hoped that creating curated gift boxes for Handbag HULLABALOO!™ would generate excitement and anticipation among attendees.
“At live events, you can feel the energy in the room,” Block says. “We recognize that sometimes, virtual events just aren’t as engaging. Many attendees were looking forward to having dinner and networking in person. We worked extra hard to create that same excitement around the event, even if the event had to take place online.”
Block says the team of staff and host committee members got straight to work coordinating sponsored items that could be featured in the boxes. Anyone who donated $500 or more to Atlanta RMHC would receive a gift box with their ticket. All other attendees would receive an envelope in the mail containing a gameboard.”
“In a way, we used the boxes as an incentive to increase giving and ticket sales,” Block says.
According to Block, high-level sponsors were given the option to include an item of their choosing.
Turnkey Ordering Process
According to Block, the best part of working with pc/nametag was the level of detail and customer service they brought to the project. She says the ordering process was an all-around positive experience.
Block says she also appreciated that her customer service representative was easy to contact.
“Our team didn’t necessarily have extra time to be placed on hold or wait days for an email response,” Block says. “Not only did we receive timely assistance, but we also received a list of deadlines which not all vendors are willing to provide.”
Block says the organization decided to order 20 extra boxes to have on hand. She says they ended up using 17 spares, which came in handy.
Block says the gift boxes were highly successful and well-received by recipients. Many attendees reported that they had never received such a unique set of gifts from a non-profit event. From a book written by the event’s keynote speaker, to drink tumblers popcorn, recipe cards, coupons and more, Block says the boxes featured many unique items from sponsors and donors to elevate the event experience.
What was even greater than the boxes, Block says, was the positive impact the event had on raising money for Atlanta RMHC. In the end, Atlanta RMHC was able to raise a total of $106,523 for families in need.
Block says she knows the gift boxes added a memorable element to the 2021 Handbag HULLABALOO!™ She hopes the experience will play a part in building and maintaining Atlanta RMHC’s donor base.
“These gift boxes were a testament to how we’ve persevered through one of our hardest years yet,” Block says. “Despite the hardships we faced from COVID-19, we were still able to raise an incredible amount of money for our cause.”
Block says she felt that the gift boxes were the perfect way to add “a little extra love” from Atlanta RMHC to its sponsors.
“This event wasn’t about the game or the prizes,” Block said. “It was about creating a community around a cause. We wanted our attendees to feel connected in a world where people felt isolated behind their computer screens, and we feel the gift boxes helped us accomplish this. They were the ‘glue’ that helped us bring people back together in a time when people had to be apart. It created community and carried us through a difficult time when we had to go virtual.”
Empowering Non-profits to Make an Impact
When asked what advice she’d give to other event planning teams interested in sending event boxes to attendees, Block recommends including a variety of branded items.
“I highly recommend pc/nametag,” Stephanie says. “Our team is always exploring ways to keep costs low, so the non-profit discount they were able to provide to us was beyond helpful. You will also receive great customer service from a team that genuinely cares about helping you accomplish your goals.”
Create Custom Donor Gift Boxes with pc/nametag
pc/nametag is dedicated to helping your non-profit create a lasting impression on donors and sponsors, no matter the occasion. With hundreds of customizable gifts to choose from, we work with you to design curated gift boxes that can be mailed to your recipients’ homes or offices. We can even help you include your organization’s logo or branding for an added touch of personalization.
Curated Gift Boxes