Steppe Solutions | Event Engineers in Ann Arbor, Michigan | Event and Conference Planning and Management
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Starfish Family Services Great Hearts Gala
Founded in 1963, Starfish Family Services is a nonprofit human services agency, recognized as a champion for children and families across metro Detroit who have limited access to essential resources such as education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Serving over 4,000 children and their families annually, Starfish Family Services provides high-quality programs and support services that focus on early childhood education and development, behavioral health wellness, and empowered families.
Steppe Solutions is beginning our fifth year of partnering with Starfish Family Services to produce their annual fundraising gala. When Steppe Solutions was hired to produce this event, the intent was to grow the event from a smaller annual dinner, to a signature fundraising gala for the organization. In 2019, the event drew more than 500 guests, and raised more than $1,000,000 – a dramatic increase in the guest count (400), and revenue ($250,000) from 2016 when we first began partnering with Starfish Family Services.
Consulting – played an integral role in creating a vision for the event, with short term and long term goals; strategized how to grow the event; implemented structure and process to the planning in order to achieve new, ambitious objectives; provided a comprehensive planning timeline; facilitated all planning meetings.
Budget – built, tracked, and maintained the budget for the event.
Graphic Design – provided an outline of all graphic design needs; secured graphic design services to implement the creation of a new brand for the event; interfaced with the designer and printing company regularly; provided production timelines for an extensive list of collateral materials associated with the event.
Website Design – secured a web designer to create a new web presence for the event, provided a content outline, and production timeline; worked closely with the designer as the pages were being created; assisted with content updates.
Marketing/Communications – strategized with the client to identify all marketing materials needed for the event; and worked in conjunction with the client to create content.
Sponsorship – played an integral role in creating a new sponsorship packet; identified new sponsorship levels and associated benefits; worked in conjunction with the client to create content for the sponsorship packet; acted as the central liaison with all confirmed sponsors to ensure that they received all benefits associated with their sponsorship.
Venue Selection – identified all parameters needed in a venue to create the high-level guest experience that the client envisioned; researched appropriate venues; negotiated contracts.
Logistics – managed all logistical aspects of the event; secured appropriate vendors for services such as catering, rentals, valet, flowers, audiovisual, music, auctioneer, photography, videography, décor, and guest gifts; secured liquor license; created a load-in and load-out schedule of all vendors; worked with venue contacts to seamlessly orchestrate the various components of the event.
Onsite Support – provided comprehensive onsite support including set-up, vendor management, guest packets and registration, auction check-out, and tear down.
Watch the Event Come to Life
Photos From the Gala
"Jean and the Steppe staff make every aspect and component of our event better. They strive and succeed at making our jobs easier. They manage the event and assist us in ways that have certainly exceeded my expectations. The icing on that cake is that they do it with enthusiasm and a generous spirit."
Starfish Family Services