crafting story-driven events
Lollypop Farm provides life-changing services for both pets and people in our community. When it comes to annual fundraising galas, they had years of experience and knew what they liked — events with colorful creativity. We approached them in 2015 recommending they build in a clear connection to the pets they help, as well as storytelling throughout the event experience. Now into our fourth year of partnership, we continue to deliver mission-driven crowd pleasers, raising more funds for pets in need and spreading community awareness about the organization’s programs.
Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, is committed to building lifelong bonds between people and animals through education, community outreach programs, and the prevention of cruelty. We first collaborated on their 2016 gala, providing recommendations to increase their fundraising by putting more emphasis on the stories that make their organization so special.
Our first year, we concepted a gala based on the nostalgic Wizard of Oz, "There's No Place Like Home,” which tied back to their mission and told a heartfelt story of pet adoption. Hand-drawn animals brought the beloved characters to life, and guests loved the yellow brick road and event backdrops of the Emerald City, Dorothy's House, and the haunted forest. The next year, our team kept the enchantment going with the "Fairytail Ball," capturing the journey to find fairytale endings for pets. We featured real animals from Lollypop Farm in all marketing materials and took event décor to new heights with a castle stage overlooking a “courtyard,” a horse-drawn carriage made of balloons, and a life-sized, hand-painted unicorn borrowed from the local artist responsible for "Horses On Parade.”
Last year’s gala, “The Beauty Within,” also pulled on heartstrings and put the spotlight on real pet stories, reminding guests that inner beauty is what matters most. We transformed the Hyatt Regency into a rainforest oasis and created an unforgettable experience with surprises around every corner, including an enormous tree creature and functional waterfall.
Return on investment from the 2016 gala — our first event together — was 53% higher than the previous year. Attendance continues to grow year over year, and the most recent gala (2018) was the largest to date. The event was a huge success — one we look forward to topping with an upcoming gala in 2019, “The Legends of Lollypop,” all about the heroic deeds of pet rescuers and the heros that live in every one of us.