Drive-by Birthday Fundraiser
When hosting your annual event isn’t possible due to COVID restrictions, trying something new can be just as successful! Rachel and James Poysky celebrated their son Joel’s 18th birthday with a Coach to Cure MD event like nothing they had done before. They partnered with a local restaurant to drive business their way while raising more than $20,000 for PPMD! Rachel shares her lessons learned:
Q: Tell us a little bit about your event and why you chose to do it.
A: Our usual Coach to Cure MD event at a local brewery wasn’t possible this year because of COVID, but we still wanted to do something to support PPMD. It was also our son Joel’s 18th birthday, and we wanted to celebrate. We did a drive through pop-up event with a local restaurant. We have a large parking lot where I work, so we set up it up there. People pre-ordered a family-style dinner ahead of time through PPMD’s website and then on the day of the event they came to pick it up. People were so excited to get out of the house and have somewhere to go, and we provided a local business with much needed sales at a time when the restaurant industry was struggling. We mostly raised funds through additional donations made via the website when the dinners were ordered, as well as raffles and auction items that we offered in a COVID-safe way.
Q: How did you fundraise?
A: We joined with a local restaurant to host a pop-up dinner event in a large parking lot. We had raffles and auction items as well as little party favors for each family that attended.
Q: How did you adapt your event to make it COVID-safe?
A: We took payment and registration ahead of time through PPMD’s website. The food orders were family style and were prepared following all of the health department guidelines. And the best part, which made it all really safe, is that we were outside and it was basically like a drive by or a tailgate. If someone wanted to stay they could set up shop in their own area with plenty of distance. Other families could just stay in their cars.
Q: Is there anything you would do differently next time?
A: I’ve got tons of ideas for other virtual or COVID safe events. I think it worked because it was a novel idea. I would do the same event, but do it during halftime of one of the big football games for Coach to Cure MD.
Q: What is your advice for someone planning an event in 2021?
A: Always set a goal first. Think outside the box and focus on ideas that resonate with your community and your friends and family. What are people’s patterns? How are they living their lives right now? Then figure out a way to turn that into a fundraising event.
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