University of Texas at Austin (Benefit Luncheon)

Most Outstanding Philanthropic Program: University of Texas at Austin VSA – Benefit Luncheon

Provide a detailed description of the philanthropic program and the population it served. Details MUST include: date of event, number of participants, program purpose (goals, objectives, etc.), use of resources (finances, community support, etc.), marketing techniques and evaluation processes.

Benefit Luncheon is an opportunity for Texas VSA to raise money for our CPP. This year, our CPP was Pacific Links Foundation, which serves to empower youth to end human trafficking. Pacific Links Foundation works in Vietnam towards human trafficking prevention and survivor rehabilitation. The Foundation primarily supports women and children affected by or in danger of human trafficking. Benefit Luncheon was on March 25, 2018 and had approximately 55 participants. Our audience consisted of college students from our university, the University of Texas at Austin, and the majority of them were VSA members. The purpose of this program was to bring together our student community in an exciting, fun, and engaging manner to raise awareness of our philanthropy and to also fundraise money for Pacific Links Foundation. Our goal was to successfully host and run a Benefit Luncheon where we provided the participants with a gourmet, home-cooked three course meal cooked by the officers. Each ticket to our Benefit Luncheon was $12 pre-sale for VSA members and $15 for non-members or purchased on the day of the event. We also sold raffle tickets at 2 for $1. Our overall fundraising goal was to raise $500 for Pacific Links Foundation. We were successful in meeting this goal and were also praised by our members for the spectacular Benefit Luncheon that we hosted. For our marketing techniques, we announced our event to our members a month in advance via our weekly newsletters, VSA Facebook page, Facebook event page, and general meetings. Each officer also publicized the event by using their personal Facebook page and posting a customized profile picture shot specifically for the purpose of publicizing the event. The process used to evaluate our event included recording all ticket and raffle sale transactions and also keeping a strict spreadsheet documenting all expenses and profits.

What motivated the organization to host the philanthropic program? What efforts were used to motivate and involve the organization’s members?

Our main motivation to host Benefit Luncheon stems from our long tradition of hosting a luncheon for charity each year. As the name suggests, the purpose of Benefit Luncheon is to host a luncheon wherein 100% of proceeds go towards a selected charity. Texas VSA has hosted a Benefit Luncheon for over 10 years and it remains an integral part of our annual calendar. In addition to fulfilling our tradition, Texas VSA is motivated to host an annual Benefit Luncheon simply because we love giving back to our members and to our community. Our members enjoy dressing up and dining for charity and enjoy even more our fantastic raffle prizes. Benefit Luncheon is a great opportunity for our VSA organization to raise money for our CPP, Pacific Links Foundation. We care very deeply for this cause of fighting human trafficking in Vietnam and are committed to helping the at-risk population in Vietnam to the best of our ability. We had the resources to host this event and were armed with a plethora of information from previous years’ Benefit Luncheons to end up with the most successful Luncheon possible.

An integral portion of Benefit Luncheon includes raffle prizes! What better way to motivate members to purchase Benefit Luncheon tickets than prizes? We received approximately $600 worth of raffle prize donations from local businesses for the purposes of raffling off to our participants and to incentivize VSA members to purchase tickets to participate in Benefit Luncheon. These raffle prizes included day passes to a popular local rock climbing club, two pieces of Kendra Scott jewelry, drink coupons and gift cards to a local boba shop, Uchi gift cards, and many more! We also publicized the event to our members on numerous occasions. We encouraged our members to purchase tickets to the event at our VSA table, at general meetings, on Facebook, and in our weekly newsletters. We recorded a publicity video for the event and debuted it at the general meeting preceding Benefit Luncheon in order to hype our members up. We worked tirelessly towards messaging our members and encouraging them to purchase a ticket to support the cause. We kept Pacific Links at the forefront of our minds during this time and continuously reminded our members about this special opportunity to contribute directly towards fighting human trafficking.

How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program? What was the outcome of the program in terms of goals met, successes, and failures?

In putting on this event, our organization was met with the challenge of cooking and providing a 3 course meal to our 55 guests. We had to purchase all prep ingredients days before the event and it was difficult to accurately estimate exactly how many people to cook and plan for because many people did not sign up to attend the event until the day right before. We also had several vegetarians sign up for the event, but this was easily remedied by creating a vegetarian menu from the beginning. We were able to overcome the challenge of figuring out how much food to cook by basing our calculations off the patterns of those who RSVP’d to the event beforehand. A challenge that arose on the day of the event involved our inability to access our event hall at the time we planned to arrive for set-up. Our failure to check what time the facility would be opened resulted in us losing valuable preparation and set up time. We really relied on each other the morning of Benefit Luncheon and all 16 of us were able to successfully prep the event room and all the food because we worked as a team and listened to one another. We helped each other out when we saw that another officer needed help and every was prepared to give their 110% that day.

Benefit Luncheon was a huge success this year! We were able to raise over $500 from this event through ticket and raffle sales. This year, our raffles were a huge success and accounted for a large portion of our profits. We met our event goal of serving over 50 people and also our financial goal! With the help of Benefit Luncheon, Texas VSA was able to donate $2,500 to Pacific Links Foundation!

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