Case Study: Children’s Hospital “Play Date”

By August 24, 2016 November 9th, 2022 Event Trend, Evntiv., Sam Foxman

In our industry, it’s common to forget that events are a part of an organization’s marketing and communications strategy. They are more than just booking venues, ordering linens and getting a great band. Events are a great opportunity to communicate in real time, and can be a very effective tool in the arsenal of any good marketer to change the hearts and minds of its constituents.

At Evntiv, we recognize this opportunity and rather than first discussing “venues and menus,” we focus on what the organization is trying to achieve with its event. In other words, at the end of the event, our goal is to have influenced what the attendees say, do, think and feel about the organization. Events are an opportunity to create a powerful and emotional call to action that can’t be achieved with the digital communications of the modern world.

In order to capitalize on what is often a missed opportunity, Evntiv has developed a proprietary method for facilitating the true objectives and outcomes that our clients want to achieve. This process is called the Core Mission Objectives (CMO). Through a series of exercises, we are able to discover what the organization wants to achieve from the event for it to be truly considered a success. Oftentimes, our clients themselves don’t even know what they are trying to achieve and through our CMO process, can discover for themselves why they may be doing an event in the first place.

One of our long-standing clients came to us with a problem… their event just wasn’t working anymore. We brought them through our CMO exercise and determined what was really important.

CHALLENGE: St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation hosted an annual gala event that was dwindling in attendance and had plateaued in fundraising. The event’s brand had nothing to do with what the organization was doing to help children and no longer attracted new supporters for the organization.

SOLUTION: Align the brand of the event with the mission and practice of the organization. Evntiv hosted a discovery session with key stakeholders including the President of the foundation. The hospital’s key to success was understanding how kids view the hospital environment and the staff at Children’s Hospital transform fear, anxiety and worry into a calm and playful atmosphere. We took the same approach when designing the event. In creating PLAY DATE, we proved what would happen if adults got to act like kids for one night and saw the world in a very whimsical way. Guests slid into the party on an inflatable slide, played giant Jenga, drank cartoon-inspired cocktails, played vintage arcade games and decorated custom cupcakes. The dinner began with dessert first and featured tables that guests could draw on or customize. The back wall fell away to reveal a roller skating after-party. Every gala should be this fun! The Evntiv team worked closely with Cheree Berry Paper to design the logo, identity and print materials.

RESULTS: The gala changed the perception of the foundation from stale and stodgy to the hottest, most innovative fundraising event in the city. The foundation grew attendance by 30% in the first year and surpassed the fundraising goal set by the administration by $20,000. Most importantly, the foundation attracted a new, younger demographic that they were able to convert to future patrons and donors.