Fundraisers can help an organization do more than just raise money–they can be fun and social events that help raise awareness about a cause and help build support. This blog post will tell the tale of how the Framingham Downtown Renaissance held a fun and memorable event that brought the local community together, while simultaneously advancing their goal of turning their downtown into a regional destination.
The Framingham Downtown Renaissance
The Framingham Downtown Renaissance (FDR) is an organization dedicated to making Downtown Framingham prosper through action-oriented initiatives that enhance business development, public health, green space usage, and sustainability. Their mission is to make the Downtown a walkable urban core and a great meeting spot for both locals and visitors. Basically, they are trying to make the town that they love the place for people to visit and to live.
Beyond the town
When it comes to choosing a venue, the closest restaurant to the organization seems to make a lot of sense. However, FDR chose to hold the fundraiser at Skybokx 109 in Natick, Massachusetts, a neighboring town, to spread their message beyond Framingham itself. The people of Framingham already know how awesome their town is–now they want to share that with the outside world.
“We chose this restaurant for our GroupRaise because we are going on ‘tour’ to promote the wonderful amenities and people of downtown Framingham,” said Courtney Thraen, executive director of the FDR.
The event served as both a fundraiser and an opportunity to engage local and outside communities, by having them participate in the organization’s mission.
“So many wonderful people attended our event, and it was great to update everyone on current affairs in Downtown Framingham” said Thraen. She also shared how she created an environment where people could share their own ideas. ”Our presentation included two tri-fold boards that depicted testimonials, the Downtown Framingham Business Coalition, along with public policies on parking, waste management, and sidewalk usage. We also had presentations on planning for placemaking and series programming for 2018 and upcoming events. As patrons dined, we solicited their vision for downtown Framingham using simple stickers.”
FDR hosted a staggering 200 people with great success. Not only did they raise money for their cause, they also extended the effects of the fundraiser by making a Facebook live video, posting on their website, and sending a newsletter to all their supporters telling them about this wonderful occasion.
200 people and a night to remember
The FDR pulled out an impressive plan to make this fundraiser unique, knowing that every single detail counts. “At the event, everyone earned t-shirts, small shopping bags, and coasters,” said Thraen.
Speaking about how thrilled she was with the results, she added, “We interacted with more than 200 people, and through these interactions, we were reassured that our non-profit organization was truly making a difference to improve the economic climate and public health in our transit-oriented development zone. We spoke with people who were visiting the MetroWest on business, and we gave out coupons to our downtown restaurants to four gentlemen from Tennessee. It was great to promote Downtown Framingham to those who were traveling through the area; these patrons were thrilled to get small business souvenirs and further support our local economy”.
Because of this fundraiser, the Framingham Downtown Renaissance was able to promote the amenities of its downtown, its local businesses and community efforts, have fun and–let’s not forget–raise funds to cover the expenses of the amazing work that they do. Excited after a great fundraiser, Thraen told us: “We’re excited to continue promoting downtown Framingham in our greater region and throughout the state of Massachusetts through the GroupRaise platform.”