Rob Stott is a contributing editor to Associations Now.
A first-year talent competition that doubled as a fundraiser helped America's Blood Centers raise over $30,000.
What's the great idea? A talent competition that doubles as a fundraising event
Who's doing it? America's Blood Centers
What's involved? The "ABC's Got Talent" competition was broken into two parts: First, participants submitted YouTube videos showing off their talent. ABC set up an online voting portal where the public could cast a vote for $20.
"Some people voted for everybody, because they felt like they wanted to give them some recognition, and some people voted $100 for one person," says ABC CEO Christine Zambricki.
The top-five vote-getters—which included a bluegrass band, a former Miss America runner-up and belly dancer, a ballroom dancer, and two singers—were then invited to ABC's national convention in Washington, DC, in April to perform live at a social event. The voting was reset and done in person, but the concept remained the same: $20 per vote.
"The person who won sang a beautiful rendition of 'God Bless America' and had a video playing behind her that showed how a blood center saved her life during childbirth," Zambricki says.
In the end, the competition raised over $30,000.
What are people saying? "Everybody had a lot of fun, and people are still talking about it, just what an interesting and great evening it was. People stayed until the very end to hear who won," says Zambricki. "It was a great, low-cost social activity, a chance for members to see their peers performing, and just a fun way to raise money."
Zambricki says ABC will hold a different fundraiser next year, "but this idea definitely got so much positive feedback that I'm sure we'll be doing it again soon."