Putting the fun in fundraising
For many organizations, including the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, fundraising is an important revenue stream to continue providing services, resources, and opportunities to the community. After years of auctions and membership drives, the Edmond Chamber decided to try something new in 2017 and explore alternative ways to engage donors and members, leading to the launch of Edmond’s Dancing with the Stars.
About the event
Instead of the usual audience bidding on the usual auction items, Dancing with the Stars brought a vibrant and engaging opportunity to support the Chamber and have a night full of fun.
Each year, the Chamber picks six local “celebrities” to participate in a dance competition with the help of professional partners from a local dance studio. For weeks, the celebrities perfect their routines and rack up donations through votes for the People’s Choice Award. The dancer with the highest donation total takes the disco ball trophy.
“Dancing with the Stars was a brand new event to our Chamber, so we weren’t sure how successful it would be,” said Edmond Chamber President & CEO Sherry Jordan. “We had full support from our board to try it out, and since its inception, our dancers really give it their all, our donors are extremely generous, and the event has been a huge success for the last four years.”
In September 2021, the Chamber held the fourth annual Dancing with the Stars event and broke fundraising records across the board. Donors participated through votes for the People’s Choice Award winner, wine and gift card pools, centerpiece sales, and silent auction items.
Keeping it interesting
At the end of September, the Chamber created another new event called Edmond’s Longest Table, which brought people together from all over Edmond to sit at a table and enjoy a meal together. More than 100 people gathered to meet each other, play yard games, and enjoy some good old-fashioned barbecue.
The Edmond Chamber also hosts a Cinco De Mayo Golf Tournament and a Sporting Clays Tournament each year to fundraise and provide additional out-of-the-box events for members.
“We are always looking for creative and beneficial ways to engage our members and the community,” said Jordan. “If you can’t get attendees excited about an event, it will be difficult to keep them coming back to support your organization.”
The future of fundraising
The global pandemic forced many companies and organizations to shift and adapt to meet the needs of their consumers and reevaluate their current business models. Without being able to meet in person for months at a time, the Chamber had to be resourceful to continue serving businesses in Edmond.
“Switching to hybrid events and opportunities made a huge difference for our members and staff,” said Jordan. “Our annual banquet, which is another large fundraiser for the Chamber, was available to stream virtually so attendees could still enjoy the event while at home.”
As the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, the Chamber plans to pursue creative fundraising opportunities and events to keep their members engaged.
“We will meet our members wherever they are and continue providing the best services we can,” said Jordan. “While our fundraising methods might evolve over time, focusing on our mission and listening to our members are what help us be successful in our endeavors.”
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About Sherry Jordan
Sherry Jordan is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Edmond Chamber of Commerce. Sherry was promoted to this position in September 2016 and has served in several roles during her 15 years at the Edmond Chamber. Sherry has been the leader for the Chamber’s accreditation process in 2005, 2010 and 2015 which culminated in a 5-star rating. While there are over 8,000 chambers in the US, the Edmond Chamber is one of only 105 chambers to achieve this rating.
Sherry and her husband Brad have been married for 30 years and are parents to two daughters. Taylor is a teacher in Edmond Public Schools and Bailey is currently in medical school at the University of Oklahoma.