Outsiders Ball

My baby, deserving of its own entry in the compendium

An annual party to support programs that introduce kids to the outdoors. With a focus on active fundraising, Outsiders Ball balanced messaging and mingling and provided fun ways to engage with and support the mission.
Guests were challenged to pedal a pair of stationary bikes 100 miles during the three-hour event, motivated by a $15,000 sponsor pledge, raffle tickets and a grand prize. It was a pretty awesome moment — and great sponsor recognition — when the goal was reached.

With a minimal budget — and an event being held in another city — we managed to create an intimate conversation space within the wide open event site. Patio furniture from big box stores (locally available, so no shipping expenses) provided the seating. Outdoorsy touches came from potted plants (rented), piles of river rock (cheap) and patio lights (returnable)  strung from birch poles (reusable). For the centerpieces, we placed flickering LED lights inside punched aluminum utensil holders from IKEA.

Above: For Outsiders Ball 2014, we needed to find a way to display information about 100 youth engagement projects. (That’s a lot to read at a party!) Our solution used printed fabric columns lit from within. In additional to successfully displaying all the text in a browsable format, we created a visually enchanting space — nicknamed the “Forest of Worthy Causes” — that drew guests in.

Below: In 2015, we edited the storytelling down from 100 to nine projects and displayed them as oversized graphic panels. With a reduced event footprint to work within, and a goal to add color and branding to the Ball, we lashed the panels to three-sided frames, lighted them from within and strategically placed them throughout the site.
Several interactions invited guests to contribute their thoughts and opinions. A huge graphic wall displayed client accomplishments in such a vibrant way that it ended up being used as a photo backdrop.
To help the client gather nominees for their Outdoor Inspiration Awards, we invited guests to add sticky-notes under various categories. And we attached fat Sharpies to another wall where guests could respond to the statement “The best way to preserve what we love is to share it.”
In 2015, we put a greater emphasis on active, participatory elements at Outsiders Ball, also knowing that guests primarily want to reconnect and share a beer with their industry colleagues. So it was a bit of a gamble, but we set up a slack line right in the center of the event space and hired professional slack liner performers to encourage guest participation.

It was a huge hit.

As an incentive to participate, we defined five silly challenges (ie: balance a ping pong ball on a spoon in your mouth) that earned guests raffle tickets. Plus, everybody went home with swag: aluminum camp cups and custom embroidered PrAna trucker caps.
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