Now in its fourth year, Art of the Gala is a full-day conference to help Austin fundraisers host better, more effective fundraising events.
Created by GivingCity Austin and St. David’s Foundation in collaboration with Austin Social Planner, the first Art of the Gala was a surprise success. “There was not really another learning event like this before,” said Monica Maldonado Williams, founder of GivingCity Austin. “But we knew we were onto something when people were excited just to hear about it.”
The first event sold out at 100 people and was generously hosted by the Four Seasons, who saw a great opportunity to host fundraising event planners. The unique educational structure of inviting event experts to host a round table of 10 on different topics was the key to its success.
Attendees raved about the event.
“A wealth of information, connecting with people and resources, and a place to ask good questions. Helpful to hear the stories of others experiences, too.”
“I am on the board of YNPN and we had our meeting right after Art of the Gala. I came back and told every single person that they need to keep an eye out for next year’s event. This was absolutely amazing and I learned so much!”
In its next year, Art of the Gala had to expand. In 2017, it was held at the Hyatt and sold out at 150 guests, all with similar experiences. For 2018, it was time to expand again.
Last year, GivingCity collaborated with JHL Company, one of Austin’s biggest event planning organizations, to scale Art of the Gala even bigger. JHL helped Art of the Gala become a full-day event, with more speakers, more content, and more attendees. Almost 300 people filled the ballroom at the JW Marriott, learning from each other and more than 30 speakers.
“We knew there was a need for this kind of educational and networking event,” said Williams. “We’re so appreciative of all the speakers, sponsors, and attendees for coming together around this topic.
“In the end, the ticket price is well worth it,” she continued, “because we can almost guarantee they’ll learn something at Art of the Gala that will help them earn or save 10 times the cost of the ticket. The content really is that good!”