Gift Bags Can Tell Your Story

Gift Bags Can Tell Your Story

I want to expand on Greg’s gift bag blog and offer another perspective. One of the cornerstones of our approach to creating a successful fundraising auction is Laser Beam Your Message. If you meet or speak with any of us at R & B, you know it is the first gospel we preach.

Quite simply, it is defining why you are raising money and (more importantly) what are the consequences of not raising the money. What programs will end, what equipment will not be purchased, who will be excluded from services, etc. In short, it is essential to be clear about what the monies raised actually accomplish.

This photo of the Rwanda women who made the gift bags accompanied each gift bag at the 2012 Columbus Zoo gala.

Since 2009, we have been privileged to work with the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. The event is called Wine for Wildlife and helps fund the Zoo’s remarkable conservation efforts that range from central Ohio to the African nations of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One of the lessons we learned from the Zoo’s extraordinary Becky Rose is that when you help with animal conservation, you also help the surrounding communities by providing economic opportunities, education, health care and a long list of services that improve the quality of life in the community. In short, conservation efforts embrace both man and beast.

So, getting back to the gift bags. As each guest found their seat last October, they also discovered a bright, beautiful hand-made cotton tote hanging on the back of their chair. Among the items inside was this photo of the village women in Rwanda who had made the bags, proudly displaying them for the world to see.

What better way to covey the message of the Zoo’s work in Africa than such a personal and thoughtful gift? It is also a great conservation reminder every time I grab it to head out on an errand. And, by including the photos, they put a human face to the message of the evening and touched the hearts of all attending.

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