Fashion Parade Fundraiser

Here at the Fundraising Directory, we love to showcase real life stories. When we came across the Gumdale Fashion Parade Fundraiser, we knew straight away that many of our readers would be very keen to learn more. We sent the assignment to one of our freelance writers, Richa Joshi, to profile the fundraiser with her usual, wonderful enthusiasm. Here it is:

Gumdale Fashion Parade

Fashion Parade Fundraiser

I had an amazing time speaking with the event organiser at this school of 900 students. The school is located about 14-15 kms outside of Brisbane in the acreage heavy town of Gumdale.

Gumdale State School P&C is fortunate to have a very active Fundraising team that organises many events throughout the year to raise funds for their school. They do a lot of the same fundraisers as other schools do – however, their annual fundraiser is the one we are going to focus on today.

This fundraiser “smashes through all of our fundraising goals” as shared with me by past organiser Renee Northcoot (now Vice President of the P&C association). This is a fundraiser that the P&C has run for a while, but which they had stopped for some time due to lack of volunteers to run it. However, in the last 4 years this Fundraiser has gone from strength to strength, and has “become an iconic event in the community calendar”.

It’s the annual “Fashion Parade” Fundraising event run by a very organised, handover friendly, extremely hard working group of parents (yes, both mums & dads !!). Renee told me that the first time she had heard of the fundraiser, she had enjoyed it as an attendee as a newbie preppy mum!

The first year Renee and her team did this Fashion parade there were 100 guests, and a total of $13,000 funds raised. And in 2016 their Fashion show had over 255 guests with over $23,000 raised!

Astounded at the level of success; I knew I had to talk with her for a while (during her break ; yes, yes she has a day job!) and this is what I learnt:

Gumdale Fashion ParadeWhen and Where is this Fashion Parade Fundraiser being held ?

This year (2017 in case the aliens of the future are wondering!), the Fashion show is being held on the 20th of May, in the school hall. The school hall has a bigger capacity for larger crowds, the hall has helped keep the event local, has eliminated the ‘hiring of venue costs’ for the event; and best of all a lot of many guests can walk to the school instead of worrying about driving/taxis.

What is this Fashion Parade exactly?

The main focus, is of course, the Fashion Parade with a strong subfocus being a “mums night out”. Our guests come from the school community, as well as any friends (mothers/grandmothers/aunts etc) they may invite to come with them.

The P&C contacts the local fashion boutiques to bring in their racks of clothes, which can be bought right after by the attendees see them walking down the catwalk ! {The sales are high because the guests have just seen them ‘worn’ by a model, which is an incentive for the boutiques to showcase their wares}

There is a high level of sponsorship from the local businesses, many of them keep coming back each year and have been awarded “Platinum” sponsors’ monikers. At the same time, the P&C secures a courtesy bus that drops guests after the event (& this is where the Dads come into play, they drive the bus! *TIP ALERT*)

Tickets are $50/pp – which gets them a hot & cold platter at the table. If a full table is booked, 2 bottles are champagne are free for that table. Renee admits that a lot of the funds come from the licensed bar (again run by Dads; *SCHOOL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ALERT!*); and that they pre-sell “Drink Cards” which have 5 drinks on them, with a 6th free. She also shared that not all 5 or even 6 drinks are consumed – the idea is for mums get a night out and enjoy themselves! The courtesy bus then delivers them safely to their homes, in case of inebriation. The “Drink cards” minimise cash handling (*TIP ALERT!*)

What are the tips & tricks you would give another P&C wanting to do a Fashion Parade Fundraiser?

  • Plan, plan, plan and plan some more.
  • Document each and everything, every procedure that was undertaken for any part of the Fundraiser.
  • Keep ‘sponsors’ happy, by going above and beyond whatever promises you make to them.
  • Use social media marketing for advertising, marketing, linking sponsors to the page.
  • Have detailed notes, which are then made part of handover notes for next committee members.
  • Keep the planning committee meetings a ‘safe place’ to discuss any and every idea.

One thing I did keep hearing from Renee was the fact that handover notes are very important. She also mentioned the benefit in having past organisers available (email/phone/in person ) for the new committee members to clarify doubts and bounce around ideas. She qualified this with saying how important it was that the past organisers keep an open mind while supporting the event but in turn that the new committee being open to feedback – both constructive and negative – from the past organisers.

My personal take was that while there is a huge amount of work involved with this fundraiser, it was a ‘fun’ fundraiser to organise, and to be a part of. Because of the high amount of funds raised, because of it getting so much active support from not just the school body, but also the school community – this is a great ‘community engagement’ event, that earns the much needed $$’s and also involves both mums and dads.

Look up “Gumdale State School Fundraising “ on Facebook, and be inspired for your next Fashion Parade Fundraiser !

Richa Joshi- Freelance Writer for the Fundraising Directory

Originally published 4 May, 2017

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