Fun In Fundraising

Fun In Fundraising is a podcast that gives you behind the scenes access to those behind top fundraising galas and cocktail parties. These events raise large sums of money through producing fun, memorable experiences that have guests and attendees coming back year after year. Each episode, host Rob Giardinelli talks with top gala and non-profit fundraising event chairs, honorees, producers and non-profit executives. These conversations highlight how top leaders facilitate raising large sums of money to positively impact their communities in a fun, organic way. Rob Giardinelli is a sales executive turned ”professional guest on duty” through his work at esteemed publications The Society Diaries and Society Texas. During the past 12 years, Giardinelli has attended/chronicled over 2,000 galas, kick-off events and cocktail parties that have raised over $250 million for some of the world’s top nonprofits. To learn more about or work with Rob, visit www.diningfordollars.co

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Episodes

5 days ago


How does a nonprofit successfully incorporate their mission at their annual gala to help major donors connect with the organization?  Today, I talk with Brandon Bell, General Manager and Suzanne Sippel, Director of Invidual Giving at DACAMERA to talk about their signature fundraising event DACAMERA Gala 2024.
DACAMERA provides innovative concert experiences that connect music with literature and the visual arts. Many of the concerts hosted by the organization are held in unique spaces that make each concert performance all the more special. This year's event is made all the more special as it will celebrate Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg's 30th anniversary with the organization.
In this episode, Brandon and Suzanne talk about a wide range of topics including partnering with an event venue to create a memorable menu that ties in with the event theme, tips on offering unique activations that keep donors and guests engaged throughout the event, and how having a fun, unique theme creates buzz and excitement for your annual gala or signature fundraising event.

Thursday Apr 11, 2024


What does it take for a nonprofit to host a top live auction that raises millions for an organization?  On today's special episode, I talk with Heath Hale, owner of Cowboy Auctioneer and the lead auctioneer for Texas' largest annual nonprofit signature fundraising event, Mack, Jack & McConaughey.
Heath and his team of over a dozen auctioneers raised over $50 million through nonprofit live auctions in 2023. The largest of which was a jaw-dropping $8 million at Mack, Jack, & McConaughey with the proceeds benefiting five children's oriented nonprofits.
In this episode, Heath talks about a fun range of topics including tips on establishing a good relationship with an auctioneer, finding the right live auction items that resonate with your audience, and how he creates emotional ties to the cause that compel donors to give more. This is one episode you will not want to miss.

Tuesday Apr 09, 2024


How does a nonprofit raise large sums of money through a signature fundraising event that consists entirely of small, intimate events?  Today, I talk with Cara Abazari, Director of Community Affairs at St. David's Foundation, and Tobie Funte, Chair of the organization's signature fundraising event, Toast of the Town.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Toast of the Town party series is a one-of-a-kind signature fundraiser. Each year, St. David's Foundation hosts 20 bespoke events ranging from 10-50 people in one month that is a mix of experiences, guest speakers, and celebrity guests. The result: an event that raises over $1.5 million each year for the foundation Neal Kocurek Scholarship Fund.
In this episode, Cara and Tobie talk about a wide range of topics including the importance of having a strong relationship between the organization and the event chair, the ways the event has evolved over the past 40 years, and how the team curates the 20 unique party experiences each year. This is one episode you will not want to miss.

The TEX Gala With Karin Morris

Tuesday Apr 02, 2024

Tuesday Apr 02, 2024


How do champions on the field fundraise for their community like champions off (and on) the field?  Today, I talk with Karin Morris, Senior Vice President of Community Impact for the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation to talk about the upcoming The TEX Gala.
Over the past several years, the foundation arm of the reigning World Series champions has hosted a seven-figure fundraising gala held on Globe Life Field that brings together sports enthusiasts, top musical acts, A-list celebrities, and philanthropists to create an unforgettable night benefiting youth, relief, and military/first responders causes in North Texas.
In this episode, Karin provides great insights on a range of topics including how to make a large space feel intimate, the ways the organization partners with nonprofits in their area, and utilizing the Rangers first-ever World Series win to draw more donors.

Tuesday Mar 26, 2024


How does a nonprofit create an event that has its guests highly engaged long before the event begins?  Today, I talk with three special guests to talk about the upcoming Mad Hatter's Luncheon benefitting the Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum: Event Chair, Allison Brodnax, Board President Karen Sargent, and Event Producer Jan Strimple.
Mad Hatter's is one of the most inventive events you will ever go to. All the attendees wear a hat around the theme of the event. This year's theme: Gardens of Greece, will feature hundreds sporting elaborate hats inspired by the beautiful country where attendees can enter their hats into one of six hat-judging categories.
In this episode, husbands Allison, Karen, and Jan provide great insights on a range of topics including the importance of having your chair fully behind the theme of your event, how everyone dressed up in unique attire can help facilitate conversation, and how effectively engage a production partner when producing a fashion show at your event. This is one episode you will not want to miss.

Tuesday Mar 19, 2024

How does a small community effectively draw donors from around the area to their gala or signature fundraising event?  Today, I talk with Reenie Harwood Collins and Linda Plant, who are the co-chairs for the upcoming Round Top Festival Institute Gala.
The smallest incorporated town in Texas, Round Top is a town of approximately 90 residents known primarily as a destination for quality antiques. The town also features the Round Top Festival Institute, a grand performance concert venue founded by James Dick that hosts top musical prodigies from around the world each year for their annual Summer program. Completed in 2007, the space crafted entirely by hand (yes you read that correctly) rivals any 19th Century Viennese Opera House in terms of quality and acoustics.
In this episode, Reenie and Linda provide great insights on a range of topics including how to galvanize your entire community to be a part of your gala, how event chairs successfully collaborate with the founder of an organization, and the concept of creating a "non-gala, gala". 

Tuesday Mar 12, 2024

How does an organization create a signature fundraising event that is one of the hottest tickets in town year after year?  Today, I talk with Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfield, who are the co-chairs for the upcoming Art Ball 2024 benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is one of the world's premier art museums featuring works from Monet, Van Gough, Matisse and more. Each Spring, DMA hosts its annual Art Ball, which has drawn top art patrons from around the world since its first ball in 1962.
In this episode, husbands Andy and Paul provide great insights on a range of topics including the importance of having a fun theme that draws patrons to your event, tips on successfully co-chairing a gala with your spouse, and creating an epic after-party that has guests staying at your signature fundraising event well into the night. This is one episode you will not want to miss.

Tuesday Mar 05, 2024

How does an organization successfully host an event that provides funds to multiple nonprofits to maximizes a positive impact on their community?
Today, I talk with THE BIG GOOD co-founder Kelsey Patterson about their upcoming annual flagship fundraising event THE BIG GOOD, which benefits three organizations in North Texas: The Tarrant To & Through Partnership, United Community Centers, and UpSpire.
THE BIG GOOD, is an organization founded by Gary and Kelsey Patterson & Leon Bridges that assesses key need gaps in the North Texas community. The organization works with select nonprofit partners in the area through three-year partnerships to provide maximum community impact.
In this episode, Kelsey provides great insights on a range of topics including effectively engaging celebrities for your gala, how combining sport and music at your event enhances the guest experience for your donors, and ways that a comfortable, casual-chic vibe entices donors to give more generously.

Tuesday Feb 27, 2024

How does an organization successfully attract a wide range of people throughout the donor community to a signature fundraising event? Today, I talk with Scotty Sayers and Two-Time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw about the upcoming Imagine Muny Gala benefitting The Muny Conservancy.
The Muny Conservancy is an organization seeking to preserve Lions Municipal Golf Course, a 141-acre greenspace just west of downtown Austin. The organization's first gala in 2022, was a million-dollar night that brought an incredible mix of people from throughout the Austin community including art patrons, merchants, sports fans, musicians, politicians, nature lovers, and many more.
In this episode, Ben and Scotty provide great insights on a range of topics including the importance of preserving historical green spaces, what goes into creating a lightning-in-a-bottle inaugural event, and utilizing a historic space in new and unique ways.

Tuesday Feb 20, 2024

How does an organization successfully raise $10 million online in 24 hours to benefit the entire community? Today, I talk with Piper Stege Nelson, CEO of I Live Here I Give Here to talk about Amplify Austin Day.
Amplify Austin is a platform of over 700 nonprofits from seven counties in Central Texas. Over 24 hours each March, tens of thousands in the Austin area give small and large dollar contributions with the net result being over $10 million raised for these nonprofits in the Central Texas region.
In this episode, Piper provides great insights on a range of topics including tips on obtaining matching grants for your event, the importance of encouraging and engaging young people to give back at an early age, and how to look at nonprofits as an interconnected network to help maximize fundraising. This is one episode you will not want to miss.

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About Fun In Fundraising

Fun In Fundraising is a podcast that gives you behind the scenes access to those behind top fundraising galas and cocktail parties. These events raise large sums of money through producing fun, memorable experiences that have guests and attendees coming back year after year.

Each episode, host Rob Giardinelli talks with top gala and non-profit fundraising event chairs, honorees, producers and non-profit executives. These conversations highlight how top leaders raise large sums of money to positively impact their communities in a fun, organic way.

Rob Giardinelli is a sales executive turned ”professional guest on duty” through his work at esteemed publications The Society Diaries and Society Texas. During the past 12 years, Giardinelli has attended/chronicled over 2,000 galas, kick-off events and cocktail parties that have raised over $250 million for some of the world’s top non profits.

To learn more about or work with Rob, visit www.godiningfordollars.com.

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