07/10/2013 - 12:13

Top charity ball rolls into 20th year

07/10/2013 - 12:13

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Numerous charity groups hold annual fund-raising balls, but few if any can match the longevity and success of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Ball.

Top charity ball rolls into 20th year
Ronald McDonald House Charities Ball committee chairman Rod Sinclair leads the event into its 20th year. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Numerous charity groups hold annual fund-raising balls, but few if any can match the longevity and success of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Ball. 

McDonald’s licensee Rod Sinclair says it is the support from sponsors and volunteers that has enabled the Perth event to run for 20 years.

A focus on sourcing unique items for the charity auction has also played a big part in the Perth ball’s success.

The Western Australian event competes for attention and dollars against many other worthy charity events.

But it is also ranked against the fundraising success of Ronald McDonald House Charities balls in every other state, and on that measure the WA event has been recognised as the most successful in Australasia.

Mr Sinclair has been involved in the Perth event since its inception and has volunteered for the charity ball committee for the past eight years, spending the past two in the role of chairman.

He said continued enthusiasm for the event stemmed mainly from affection for the Ronald McDonald House and knowledge that 100 per cent of the funds raised would be committed to the cause.

The first house was opened in Sydney in 1981 in order to provide a living space for the families of severely ill children.

The houses mostly target families living in regional areas, offering them accommodation close to hospitals and other amenities. 

Mr Sinclair said the priority of the committee was to encourage people to return to the event each year by producing a superior event each time.

“We always try and outdo ourselves each year, and that’s difficult, but I think it’s something that’s important, because if I can’t make people come back and have fun that makes it even more difficult for us to be able to raise the money,” Mr Sinclair told Business News.

The main source of funds comes from the items available for auction at the event, with the last event raising $700,000.

“We try and stand out from the other balls by offering items that you can’t get anywhere else,” Mr Sinclair said.

Over the years the ball has strived to auction off unique items such as possessions of its patron, former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist.

This year, a Mercedes-Benz e250 and a 2.3-carat diamond courtesy of Rosendorff’s are among the items available for auction.

Due to its heavy reliance on corporate support, each year the event has been affected significantly by the state of the market.

“It always comes down to the business conditions,” Mr Sinclair said.

“If things are looking tight, organising a ball is harder because people don’t have as much money to spare.”

The voluntary committee responsible for organising the ball is comprised of other McDonald’s licensees, as well as members from all spectrums of the business community, including Concept Marketing director Mark Da Silva and WA Rugby League CEO John Sackson.

This year the Perth ball is hosting its first international guest, Heather Small, the front woman for 1990s pop group M-People.

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