12/04/2016 - 05:30

Gareffa goes big, goes home

12/04/2016 - 05:30


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Charities in WA will need more fundraising champions like Vince Gareffa as traditional events prove harder to sell.

SUCCESS: Vince Gareffa (below) hosted 300 paying guests in his backyard for this year’s brunch.

Charities in WA will need more fundraising champions like Vince Gareffa as traditional events prove harder to sell.

High-profile butcher Vince Gareffa broke the mould when he hosted a brunch for 300 people in the backyard of his Mt Lawley home last month.

With guests paying up to $2,500 a ticket and spending big on auction items, the event raised $517,000 for Lifeline WA and other charities.

In contrast to the success of Mr Gareffa’s novel approach to fundraising, Anglicare WA has cancelled its signature fundraising event, the annual Op Shop Ball, for the first time since it started 2007.

Another charity making changes is the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, which has dropped its Bear by Night Ball after 16 years, opting instead to hold a smaller, gala event that takes advantage of the opening of the Perth Children’s Hospital.

These developments come at a time when most Western Australian charities are finding it tougher to raise money, due to the slowdown in the resources sector and uncertain economic outlook.

Anglicare’s executive general manager marketing and partnerships, Carrick Robinson, said ticket sales for the Op Shop Ball, which was due to be held on April 16, had been steady but the group could not justify the risk.

“Our concern was getting pre-commitments for the major auction items; that’s where a lot of the funds come from,” he said.

“That was nowhere near the levels we would normally expect.”

“We discussed it with our sponsor and decided it was best to look to next year.”

The Op Shop Ball, which is sponsored by property group Peet, peaked in 2012 when it attracted 850 people and raised $300,000 after expenses.

In recent years it raised about $250,000.

The cancelling of this year’s Op Shop Ball was after Anglicare’s Bright Lives Black & White Ball came to the end of its five-year run in 2014.

Mr Robinson said that event, which was organised by a group of volunteers, including Despene Keightley, Denise Satterley and Libby Youd, was always meant to run for a limited time.

“Our intention is to have a Bright Lives event in 2016, with a new group of people.”

Mr Robinson said Anglicare was likely to have more breakfasts and lunches, rather than black tie dinners and balls.

“The approach will be scaled down to suit the times.”

PMH Foundation head of marketing Janmarie Michie said the group was aiming to raise up to $14 million this financial year, after raising $14.7 million in 2014-15.

“We are noticing that things are tougher,” Ms Michie said.

“We are definitely having to work a lot harder.”

Of last year’s total, 9 per cent came from events, including the Bear by Night Ball, sponsored by Technip Oceania, John Hughes Big Walk, and Abseil for PMH.

Ms Michie said there was growing interest in experiential events, such as this year’s sold-out abseil, which will be held at the QV.1 Tower.

Although a little less daring than abseiling, she said the gala event scheduled for July at Perth Children’s Hospital was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use that building.

The venue meant attendance would be limited to 350, compared with 550 at last year’s ball, but she remained confident it would be a successful fundraiser.

Brunch at mine

Mr Gareffa and his wife, Anne, bring a unique personal touch to their annual brunch, which raised $4,000 when it started 20 years ago.

“We had no idea what it could grow to,” Mr Gareffa told Business News. “I don’t know anything like it, it’s very personal.

“It’s in the backyard of a private home, and we donate everything.

“It’s 100 cents in every dollar going to help people.”

Mr Gareffa said top chefs, wineries and entertainers were queuing up to participate, with volunteers from the International Wine and Food Society also pitching in.

“Without their support, we couldn’t pull this off,” he said.

The brunch raised more than $160,000 from 300 ticket sales.

The auction proceeds included $5,000 for boxes of tomato cooking sauce, and $11,000 for chef Neil Jackson to cook a dinner for 10 people in the winning bidder’s home.

Mr Gareffa said he was disappointed when he saw how much money other charities chewed up in overheads.

“We might lift the bar for other charities, and get them to tighten their overheads,” he said.


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