7 Sep 13

Heading into our Fourth Annual Peak Potential Dinner & Charity Auction, we are very excited to have three of our top sponsorship slots filled already. Joining us are Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) as our Platinum Sponsor; and Bank of New Hampshire and Fairway Independent Mortgage as our Gold Sponsors. (Check out our sponsor page for more on what those levels mean.) As we celebrate these new partnerships, I’m reflecting on where we started and how we’ve grown.

When I first proposed the idea of a charity dinner to the 2020 Vision Quest staff, it was met with trepidation: Is it the right kind of event for our newly founded organization? Is it too high a ticket price? Do we risk losing money instead of raising it? Will our (then small but growing) audience appreciate this kind of event? How could we possibly put it together with our tiny volunteer staff? After much discussion we decided to plunge in.

Our first year’s challenges were what you might expect: Deciding on a budget that we could “risk” if it didn’t go well. Finding a hall that was right and within our price point (i.e., as close to nothing as we could get, while still providing an appropriate level of quality for the event we envisioned). Coming up with auction items. Scheduling where we were least likely to conflict with attendees’ other commitments. Getting people to buy tickets. Oh, and Randy and Tracy getting married a few weeks before the event! Sponsorships were just a dream.

For the hall, we lucked out by finding The Derryfield in Manchester. They have great food, a beautiful space, and supportive staff.

Friends of 2020 and local businesses rallied to provide an eclectic array of auction items, targeting an audience whose makeup was as yet unknown. Gradually, ticket sales crept up, a table here, a couple there.

A few weeks before that first event, I was gleefully able to tell everyone we were in the black! Every penny raised from then on would be direct to the charity instead of covering event costs. I let out a breath I hadn’t known I was holding.

By the end of that first Peak Potential dinner, we knew we had a success on our hands. People were telling us how much fun they had, how great the food was, how impressed they were by Randy’s presentation. We could feel it in our hearts–it was the right way to celebrate the year’s accomplishments with our friends and supporters of 2020 Vision Quest’s goals. It was a personal and fiscal success.

Year two ran even more smoothly and Laconia Savings (now Bank of New Hampshire) jump-started our sponsorships. We got to thank members of their team personally when they attended the dinner. But each year, we still have that holding-our-breath time as we wait to cross the threshold into actual fundraising.

Last year, year three, we had a new and exciting challenge: What happens if we sell out the event? This year, it’s a sure bet we’ll be full to capacity.

Our expenses are kept as minimal as possible: PR, credit card fees for registration, the hall rental, and our biggest one, the food itself. Planning and implementation of the event is done entirely by volunteers, and each year we’ve set our fundraising goals higher as teamwork improves.

The devotion of our volunteers and the enthusiasm and giving nature of our attendees is what makes our sponsors so important. Our goal is to put every penny possible back into 2020 and our education programs, allowing more schools to include Randy’s presentations about achieving through adversity in their curriculum. Sponsorships allow us to do just that. Subsequently, we support New Hampshire Association for the Blind and Guiding Eyes for the Blind as they drive someone to a much needed doctor’s visit, or help that person learn to walk with a cane, or provide them with a life-changing guide dog.

Each Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze sponsorship we receive is one more success for the amazing group of people working so hard to help others.

Sponsorship also spread awareness of 2020 Vision Quest’s mission to people who may not yet have heard of us, and in the process, makes our supporters aware of the good work our sponsors do for their community. It’s community supporting businesses supporting community. A win all around.

Thanks again to DCU, Bank of New Hampshire, and Fairway Independent Mortgage, our Platinum and Gold sponsors for this year’s Peak Potential. We still have opportunities available–won’t you consider sponsoring this year?

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