The 2020 Seeds of Hope Gala was going to be a grand event. The fundraiser, originally scheduled for March 20th, would be celebrating its tenth anniversary. This year also marks the 225th anniversary of the founding of Newport, KY. Mentoring Plus, headquartered in Newport, was hosting the event in Newport’s legendary Syndicate, and was honoring one of Newport’s most popular citizens, city manager, Tom Fromme. Registrations were beginning to pour in. The stage was set for a spectacular night of fundraising and celebration.
Then the COVID-19 virus struck.
What does a non-profit do when its largest annual fundraiser gets shut down?
That question is just the tip of the iceberg. It opens a pandora’s box of follow-up questions for us about how our program will operate on a restricted budget, or what new fundraising efforts can be made to replace the event, and how can the star of the show, in this case Tom Fromme, still be honored and celebrated? Not all of these questions can be answered quickly, as circumstances are constantly changing. But Mentoring Plus is moving forward as much as possible.
Above all else, M+ is focused on the kids and families that we serve. We’ve adapted our programming and outreach to accommodate the new environment. But without funding, the program can only survive so long. Finding a substantial replacement for the Seeds Gala became the next major priority.
First, #GivingTuesday jumped up in the calendar. Upon seeing so many organizations with an urgent need for funds, the annual day of giving was moved from Thanksgiving up to this coming Tuesday! May 5th is #GivingTuesdayNow, and should act as a catalyst for many contributors around the world.
Similarly, Kentucky’s annual day of giving has seen a record engagement in the wake of the health crisis. Kentucky’s countdown will also begin on May 5th, with #KYGives culminating on May 12th.
In the meantime, Mentoring Plus leaders spent the end of April reaching out to past major donors, raising nearly $20,000 as of this writing. Additionally, some M+ supporters hosted online fundraisers that brought in several hundred dollars for the organization.
Finally, as we head into May, we are seeking to pull all of this positive momentum together into one focused effort. We launched a major campaign on GoFundMe, the world’s largest and most trusted fundraising platform. The goal is to raise an additional $35,000 by the end of May. We are hopeful that this campaign will be promoted far and wide by all of our supporters, gaining contributions from a large number of people. $5 here, $20 there, and maybe a few $500 donations sprinkled in…
So what about the Seeds of Hope? As of this writing, the timeline of returning to normalcy is still uncertain. We have tentatively postponed the event until June 26th, and hope we can pull together an event worthy of our guest of honor, Tom Fromme. Anyone who purchased tickets or contributed as a sponsor will have the opportunity to attend the rescheduled event, as all purchases will transfer to the new date. Given the circumstances, we anticipate a smaller, more intimate event. With all of the fundraising activities we’ve got lined up, we’ll be able to place a greater focus on celebrating Mr. Fromme and M+ youth rather than fundraising.
The fundraising efforts start now. With your help, we’re confident that M+ will reach its $35,000 goal, power through the summer, and survive to the next fundraiser in September. Please donate today.