ASAE set an ambitious new fundraising goal for its community-service effort in the weeks leading up to its 2012 Annual Meeting. Here’s how members and attendees stepped up.
hile planning a Dallas media tour for ASAE President & CEO John Graham, CAE, in
July — right before ASAE’s 2012 Annual Meeting & Exposition came to town on Aug. 11–14 — Priscilla Hagstrom saw a hole in his schedule. Wanting to take full advantage of Graham’s time in Dallas, Hagstrom, vice president of communications for the Dallas Con- vention & Visitors Bureau, decided to take Graham to the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), so he could see firsthand where ASAE’s Community Connection — its community-service project for the Annual Meeting — would take place. The plan was for ASAE’s attendee
volunteers to sort and box donated goods at the Food Bank during the meeting to benefit its Food 4 Kids backpack program, which provides 330 participating schools with enough nutritious, kid-friendly, self-serve food to fill a backpack and feed a child over the weekend during the school year. ASAE’s community-service project would be particularly timely, as the Dallas school year was about to begin. At the time of Graham’s visit, the Dal- las CVB had committed to donating $15,000 to the Food 4 Kids program in lieu of an attendee-welcome amenity, and the ASAE Foundation was going to match that donation. But that changed once Graham
toured the North Texas Food Bank. “He fell in love with [the Food 4 Kids program],” Hagstrom said. “I think from that moment forward, it really bolstered ASAE’s community-service program. By the time we left, he said, ‘Oh, we’re not going to match it. We’re going to increase it.’ And by the end of
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Foodstuff ASAE Annual Meeting volunteers at the North Texas Food Bank.
that day, he had committed to $50,000.” Back at ASAE’s headquarters in
Washington, D.C., Sabrina Kidwai, ASAE’s senior manager of public rela- tions, swung into action. She sent out a press release announcing the new fun- draising goal, which Graham said would “help 10,000 kids in the Dallas commu- nity stay healthy and focus on learning.” To open the campaign to ASAE
members who wouldn’t be attending the Annual Meeting, Renee McKenney, CMP, CTA, the Dallas CVB’s director of industry relations, worked with the NTFB to create a virtual food bank– shopping site (see Breakout, p. 42). The press release included a link to the site, where ASAE members could make a direct contribution. In addition, Kidwai said, “We tweeted about it, posted it on Facebook, and encouraged people to donate virtually. [We said:] ‘Even if you can’t come to Dallas, you can still
help out the Dallas community.’ Part of the message was that for $5, you could help a kid have four meals for over the weekend. I think that resonated with our community.”
BOOTS ON THE GROUND Once the 6,000-plus ASAE Annual Meeting attendees arrived in Dallas, they received a letter in their hotel room from the Dallas CVB — in lieu of an in-room amenity — explaining the CVB’s commitment to benefit the Food 4 Kids program. The letter let attendees know that they could “feel confident that [their] gift is being leveraged to reach many hungry kids across North Texas. Ninety-four cents out of every dollar donated goes directly to feeding families and children in need.” During the Opening General Ses-
sion, Graham kicked off the campaign by announcing — and encouraging