2016 Gold Star Gala
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93%
direct mail return rate

situation

Led by a dynamic board of directors—representing more than 50 business and community leaders—the Monroe Community College Foundation (MCCF) connects private and corporate philanthropy with opportunities to support MCC and its students.

 

A major event on the calendar is its annual Gold Star Gala, a black-tie dinner event that raises money specifically to support MCC scholarships.

To help promote the event and sell tickets, the MCCF team enlisted the creative minds at Dixon Schwabl.

Our task: entice the area’s most influential and generous
philanthropists to attend a big-ticket fundraising event.

This audience receives dozens of gala invitations annually, so our save-the-date and invitation packages needed to charm these in-demand folks—and at the same time embody the aura of mystery and danger that’s become the event’s signature. Beyond ticket sales, these tactics serve to solicit sponsorships and corporate donations, increasing the need for heightened creativity and hands-on appeal.

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solution

With a true partnership between DS and MCCF, mutual respect and a spirit of free collaboration fosters everyone’s best thinking. The client suggested an Alice in Wonderland theme in the style of film director Tim Burton. 

As a genuine partner, we listened, then came back with an alternative approach.

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Using Victorian design elements as a point of departure, the DS creative team reimagined the famous children’s story, giving it a more daring and darker tone.

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We also felt certain the target audience—successful Baby Boomers with fond college memories—would appreciate the optical illusions, mind-expanding designs and suggestion of altered consciousness.

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results

MCCF surpassed its attendance goal of 300, with 325 attendees, an impressive 93% return on a mailing to 349 individuals. In addition, the foundation surpassed its 2016 financial goal of $250,000, with net proceeds of $273,831. The additional funds helped create 25 new scholarships for deserving MCC students.

 

Moreover, invitation recipients raved about the unique packaging elements. Many reported that they immediately opened the invitation and thoroughly read (and enjoyed!) all of the interior contents.

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Finally, many first-time ticket buyers mentioned the invitation
as the key reason they chose to attend the event.

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