Jackie Blue: Detroit Band's Musical Succeeds in Raising Funds for Charity

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Jackie Blue's "Roaring 20's Masquerade Ball" was a huge success! With any event there's always the opportunity to learn from the good and the bad. With this "final event report" we want to share with you what we learned so that you can incorporate this information into your next event. WeÂ?ll also name the names of the people and organizations that were critical in helping make this event a success.

With the last guests leaving Detroit's Severance Gallery on late Sunday morning (the event started at 7:00pm on Saturday, April 9th), Jackie Blue's "Roaring 20's Masquerade Ball" was a huge success!

With any event there's always the opportunity to learn from the good and the bad. With this "final event report" we want to share with you what we learned so that you can incorporate this information into your next event. We'll also name the names of the people and organizations that were critical in helping make this event a success.

Based on our experience with the Jackie Blue "2004 Halloween Masquerade Ball", we had solid financial figures from which to assemble our event budget (see Table 1 at http://www.jackieblue.com/Roaring_20s_news_release_5.PDF). Through a rigorous cost reduction program, we were able to significantly reduce our total budget. We analyzed each line item to determine its value for our target market. Those items that had little value or were too expensive were eliminated. Frequently we were able to obtain discounts in return for agreeing to a long-term working relationship with trusted partners and vendors.

Sponsorships continue to be an important method for funding a large event. We had 3 levels of sponsorships (see Table 2 at http://www.jackieblue.com/Roaring_20s_news_release_5.PDF). Each sponsorship package was priced to be of high value when compared to other advertising and sales channels. Sponsors had the option of purchasing a sponsorship outright or providing the event with an equivalent value in services or products. Then we went out of our way to promote our sponsors prior to, during, and after the event--going beyond the performance that we had agreed to.

Success with sponsors was measured by:

1)    The amount of business that we generate for them during the 6 months following the event.

2)     An increase in awareness of their business due to our unique events by measuring changes in inquiry rates via the web, E-mail, and telephone.

Our original sponsors have returned and we’re now being contacted by new sponsors for future events.

We're firm believers in taking good notes. Taking a chapter from Detroit's manufacturing heritage, we used an Action Item List that quickly summarized who was required to do what by a specific deadline. The Action Item List was distributed once per week (sometimes more frequently) to each of the team members. By using this technique, it was easy to determine who was keeping up with their workload, who needed additional support, and who needed to be eliminated from the team. The Action Item List was also supported by very detailed notes for reference (35 pages for this event) in case an issue arose at any point in the event planning process.

Event Objectives

1.    Fun: Bring together the art, music, fashion, and business communities of metro-Detroit.

2.    Raise money for charity: Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter

3.    Ambassadors to Detroit: Bring new people into Detroit from the suburbs and provide them with a solid example of a fun, safe evening in our city.

4.    Support our artists: We continue to be a proponent of paying our artists and venues.

How did we do?

The overall impression by many folks who live in the suburbs is that Detroit is dangerous and that the only thing fun to do in the city is attend large sporting events. To overcome this barrier, we continue to plan quarterly mid-size events (100-500 people). During the Roaring 20's Masquerade Ball we passed out event evaluations forms and received comments such as "I was afraid to come to Detroit for the event, but after being here, I felt safe and had a wonderful evening." "I met several people who I expect to do business with in the future." "I loved the combination of music, fashion, and art." "Didn't know that Detroit had anything to offer besides sports." The event demographics speak for themselves:

Jackie Blue's "Roaring 20's Masquerade Ball"    

Event Demographics         


     Male    52%

     Female    48%


     Detroit    8%

     Outside of Detroit    92%

As with the 2004 Halloween Masquerade Ball (benefit for Habitat for Humanity-Detroit), we were again successful in raising funds for our charity. We ask our artist community for a lot during charity events—long hours and challenging working conditions, to name a few. We successfully continued our mission, which we started in 2004 with the Halloween Masquerade ball, of paying artists and the folks that work on charity events a fair wage.

Why do we do this? All of us on this team have volunteered for a variety of local and national not-for-profits over the years. We all struggle to raise the smaller amount of money required to keep a charity’s full-time operations running. The monthly fluctuation in available funds is very stressful for the hardworking staff and also takes time away from their primary goal.

Because we historically ask venues and artists to not only give of their time, but to do so without any monetary compensation, while most venues and artists agree to help, it's not their number one priority since they like to be able to "eat." Therefore they choose to participate in events that pay them first and we end up with only a few fund raising events per year.

This new fund raising model has been proven to be successful. We continue to focus on producing regular fund raising events throughout North America for worthwhile charities. This will go a long way to giving charities a regular source of money for their ongoing operations.

Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter-We're approached by many charities asking for our help. The vast majority of them have worthwhile missions. When we select a charity, we look for a mission that we believe in and people associated with the charity who are willing to give of their time to make the fund raising event a success. Elaine Greene and her team at Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter are a good example of a proactive charity. Contact them at http://www.dearborn-animals.com

CatharticMedia LLC—Josefine and Mathew Martin epitomize the "can do" spirit. These are some of the hardest working folks we've had the pleasure of working with and we plan to produce future events with them. It's a tribute to their talent and work ethic that the Roaring 20's Masquerade Ball was such a success. Contact them at http://www.CatharticMedia.com

John Cowley & Sons—Fine food, friendly service and flexibility is what you get from Matt Goyette and his team. Check out their website for fun new events at their Farmington, Michigan pub: http://www.johncowleys.com

Splash Media Group—Brian Heath and his team are the perfect example of professionalism. They do quality video and photography at reasonable prices. Most importantly, they understand the "big picture" of what you're trying to achieve and they also sweat the details. To retain them for your next event: http://www.ispgroupinc.com

31 Seconds—Having met Aaron, (A.C.), Dan, Aaron (Al), and John several years ago in Brooklyn, Michigan, Jackie Blue has had the opportunity to hear these guys grow musically. Not only does their music rock but these gentlemen are some of the kindest folks you'll meet. Check out their awesome new song "Fine By Myself" from their new CD "31 Seconds" by E-mailing them at [email protected] And yes, Aaron does have the coolest bass guitar.

Fashion designers—with the success of the television show "Project Runway" designing clothes now looks easy. The reality: Combine deadlines and last minute changes, with the need for fresh ideas, and only the best survive. Special thanks to Susan Libertiny (E-mail: [email protected]), Sew (E-mail: [email protected]), Shampoo (E-mail: [email protected]), Rachel (E-mail: [email protected]), and DelonDetroit (http://www.delondetroit.com) for their amazing take on 1920's fashion.

Hair & makeup—how do you prepare 20 models for the runway in a very short amount of time? Bring in the best. Thank you to Shannon @ Onesistah (http://www.musecube.com/onesistah), Bocci Salon (Phone: 586-254-4343), and Marcia Dionne (http://www.musecube.com/beautybydionne)

Fashion models—The Beach Boys were wrong. We wish they could all be Michigan girls. The Roaring 20's Masquerade Ball proved that beyond a doubt. Check out some of their photos at http://www.JackieBlue.com and click on "Photos."

ASME Southeastern Michigan—in the motor city, this is a solid engineering society. With over 2,000 members in Southeastern Michigan and 100,000+ throughout the world, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers is the premier engineering society. Website: http://sems.asme.org

MichiganBands.com, MidwestBands.com, and Tribe.net—Without these three websites, the Roaring 20's Masquerade Ball wouldn't have happened. The folks from Jackie Blue and CatharticMedia first met by using these online communities.

Rick, the webmaster of MichiganBands.com is the ideal person for bouncing ideas off of and he has an endless supply of energy. http://www.MichiganBands.com. Jen & Mark Lush are the dynamic duo who run MidwestBands.com. They are extremely supportive of local music and have helped us in more ways than you can be imagined. http://www.MidewestBands.com

Darien Patchin is the marketing guru at Tribe.net in San Francisco. His positive attitude and support of Tribe's 80,000+ grassroot members speaks volumes about the importance of this global network. Join tribe for free at http://www.Tribe.net

Michael R. Meike—tying together the entire event with the story of Nick Fudrich was our narrator, Mike Meike. Mike has been performing improvisational theatre for the past 10 years and it shows. His ability to effortlessly roll with the invariable last minute changes of a live production were very welcome. Check out his work at Brainstormers http://www.brainstormersfun.com

Jackie Blue—Finally, very special thanks to my musical family: Carrie Firth, Chris Mick, and David Dupuie. Without your friendship, talent, hard work and dedication, none of this would have been possible. Our music is available at http://www.JackieBlue.com and David's artwork is available at http://www.DavidDupuie.com


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