Challenged by their executive director to develop a new fundraiser in a few months, the special events committee of the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale in Montana came up with the concept of a pre-concert New Year’s Eve party at the Great Hall, a beautiful and historic setting at a local college. This 5:00pm-7:30 p.m. event allowed guests to mingle, sip drinks, sample various food stations, and listen to live piano music.

The Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, like many smaller-budget orchestras, has only four paid staff. Therefore, collaboration among board members, staff, and volunteers was key to the success of the event. The special events committee, made up of board members, volunteers, and the executive director, coordinated tasks and responsibilities: board members identified potential sponsors and assisted the executive director in making calls; the executive director created and monitored the budget; a board member with connections to the college worked with the caterer on the event’s menu and floor plan, and met with campus officials on such details as snow removal and security; the marketing director wrote press releases and designed tickets and signage;  and volunteers arranged for a liquor license, the donation of complimentary beverages, and a bakery to donate the dessert.

Beyond meeting their 100-guest goal and netting $6,900 (surpassing their $3,900 goal), members of the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale state that perhaps the biggest benefit of the event was the camaraderie and esprit that came about from staff and volunteers working together.

Posted December 19, 2014