How a Gala Supporting NICU Families Increased Donations and Shared its Cause

In 2015, Rachel Lee and her husband, Andy, welcomed their third child and first daughter, Madelyn, into their family. Born at 37 weeks, she was immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to breathing complications. After eight days in the NICU, Rachel and Andy faced their worst nightmare – Madelyn passed away.

Their own family’s tragic loss inspired Rachel and Andy to create Madelyn’s Fund in 2016. Madelyn’s Fund helps families with costs related to a NICU stay and funeral expenses for those who have experienced infant loss. Their goal is to reduce the emotional and financial stressors of having a medically fragile baby.

Madelyn’s Fund’s Pink Bow Gala is an annual event which helps raise funds for the organization’s financial programs to support affected families, raise awareness of the cause, and celebrate and share the positive impact Madelyn’s Fund has made for thousands of families.

In 2023, Rachel entered AlphaGraphics’ Make It Happen Event Makeover contest in hopes of winning a $20,000 makeover for the 6th annual Pink Bow Gala. Out of more than 700 entries, Madelyn’s Fund was selected as one of three winners!

Watch to see the transformation of the Pink Bow Gala.

The Opportunity

The Pink Bow Gala is the largest fundraising event of the year for Madelyn’s Fund, so raising more funds to help more families was the primary goal for the event. While the gala has seen success in years past, Rachel and her team wanted to communicate their mission more clearly with attendees to remind guests of the purpose behind the party and encourage more donations.

They also wanted to better recognize the Pink Bow Gala sponsors, so they know their support is appreciated and continue to sponsor the gala year after year. Madelyn’s Fund needed creative solutions to make the cause clear and show thanks to the sponsors. All of this would help increase donations and continued sponsorship, in turn allowing Madelyn’s Fund to alleviate the financial and emotional burden for families during their most difficult times. Finally, Rachel wanted to make the event a fun celebration! She hoped her guests would have a great time while coming away knowing more about Madelyn’s Fund and feeling good about supporting the cause.

The Strategy

With $20,000 of signage work to donate, AlphaGraphics quickly got to work with the Madelyn's Fund team to strategize about transforming the gala and achieving the goal of raising more donations for families.

Communicate the Cause

To remind people of the cause they’re supporting when they donate to Madelyn’s Fund, AlphaGraphics incorporated signage and print materials that detailed the needs of families and the success Madelyn’s fund has had in assisting these families, with statistics and individual stories. These were always tied with materials that made it easy to donate.

These cubes were stacked throughout the event, displaying facts about families in need and the impact Madelyn’s Fund has had.

Table tents and other print materials showed Madelyn’s Fund’s impact.

Signage shared testimonials from families who have received assistance from Madelyn’s Fund.

Encourage Donations

Madelyn’s Fund wanted to inspire guests to donate at the event while they were immersed in the cause and the life-changing stories from families. By using print materials and signage with QR codes and creating other donation opportunities, Madelyn’s Fund could encourage additional donations and help even more families.

This bow wall allowed attendees to purchase a bow in honor of a loved one and donate to Madelyn’s Fund. By creating a physical experience for attendees and a way to connect with loved ones, the bow wall made for an engaging donation opportunity.

A live auction with physical and experiential gifts depicted through signage created another opportunity for continued donations.

Print and signage materials displayed the many ways to support Madelyn’s Fund while at the event.

Increase Awareness

To increase overall awareness about Madelyn’s Fund and make the event more memorable for guests, structures, signage and promotional items were used to create “Instagrammable” or shareable moments.

This “Barbie Box” created an on-trend photo opportunity.

This “Drink Pink” display held pink champagne and provided a photo-worthy toasting experience.

Guests received custom tumblers that they can use time and time again to help increase brand recognition for Madelyn’s Fund.

Recognize Sponsors

With their logos displayed on signs and print materials, plus a special check-in table, sponsors were properly recognized for their generosity in supporting the event.

Prominent sponsor signage was placed throughout the event.

The Results

Rachel Lee, founder of Madelyn’s Fund, said it best:

“We are so grateful to AlphaGraphics for everything they did to uplevel our event. Not only was the event beautiful, but there was so much more awareness, recognition for our sponsors, and special touches that elevated the night," said Rachel.

Not only that, but Madelyn’s Fund surpassed their fundraising goal by 8%, making the 6th annual Pink Bow Gala a record-breaking event!

AlphaGraphics was grateful to provide signage and print support for Madelyn’s Fund at their Pink Bow Gala and honored to contribute to a worthy cause. Above all, the support Madelyn’s Fund provides for families struggling through unthinkable stress and loss is something we will always stand behind.

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