Running a Fundraising Event: Black Tie Muay Thai III – by Claire Martin

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As a full time, Volunteer Office Fellow with Phuket Has Been Good To Us, one of my roles has been managing our next big event, Black Tie Muay Thai III, which takes place on Saturday 3rd December. The event is located at Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, an absolutely beautiful hotel right on an amazing beach; it is stunning! Guests will enjoy Muay Thai fights and demonstrations by well-known personalities on the island and by more experienced fighters. In addition to the fights, the night will also consist of amazing food, lots of drinks, and plenty of dancing! We are incredibly lucky to have Outrigger as such a generous sponsor and host, this event could not happen without them.

This is the third year that PHBGTU is running Black Tie Muay Thai. It was a success in past years so we decided to continue the fundraiser again this year. Having the example of past years and knowing the details of the organisation process has made my job a little easier. That being said, we are always seeking to improve our events by offering guests something new and entertaining each year. This year will definitely not disappoint!

Preparation for the event begins months in advance as we work with Outrigger to come up with the basic plan. Outrigger generously supports us by setting up food and beverage sponsors and producing and printing our event posters and tickets. Each year we must also recruit fighters and organise training and sponsorship. Often a fight has competitors with limited experience who have been training for the night for just a few months. We are lucky to have great support from community members who agree to take part and from Muay Thai gyms including Sumalee Boxing Gym, Sutai Muay Thai, Tiger Muay Thai, Sitsongpeenong Brothers Muay Thai, Cherngtalay Muay Thai, and Pasak Muay Thai!

In the past few months, I have learned a lot about how non-profit charities raise funds. In addition to receiving a portion of the money from ticket sales after costs are covered, we also have a fantastic silent auction, and fun opportunities to try and choose the winning fighter for a donation; if a guest’s prediction is accurate they win a prize! We also have table prizes which guests can enter to win with a donation for tickets. Competition is between the members of the table and a lucky winner is drawn towards the end of the evening. In order to give away great prizes, we first have to rely on kind donors and generous supporters of our foundation who help us by donating these gifts. People from all over Thailand and the world make this event possible by donating things like exclusive hotel stays, fabulous dinners, beautiful pieces of jewellery, yacht trips, and more. While people primarily donate prizes out of the goodness of their hearts, we also do our best to make it beneficial for them as well. We help give them positive exposure by thanking them in our newsletters, on our social media, in our advertisements, and on the night. There are tons of great prizes given away throughout the night with 100% of profits going to PHBGTU.  All of this takes a lot of work behind the scenes in the run-up to the event.

In addition to companies who donate prizes, we receive a lot of support in other ways, such as through advertising. The Phuket News has been one of our longtime supporters and graciously partners with us on all of our major fundraising events. The exposure we generate from their coverage is a major factor in our success!  Other media outlets, schools, and businesses also generously support us by posting our event Posters and assisting with our advertising for free. We also have people that help us considerably on the night. For instance, we have an amazing MC, Jason Wilder from Live 89.5 who helps make the event a lot of fun. Our photographer, Gina Smith, is also volunteering her time and skills to give us amazing pictures and coverage of the night.

Before the event happens there is a ton of work to do. From marketing to booking seats, securing payment and delivering tickets. From drawing up the floor plan to creating run sheets that outline the timing of the night. There is also a lot of coordinating to do between the staff at Outrigger, our fighters, the gyms training the fighters, all of our donors (which can number over 100), and everyone else who helps make the night possible.

The night of the event is a lot of fun, but in even the morning before there is a lot of setup and preparation that is a huge group effort. After the event, we like to thank our sponsors and our guests. We also must complete budgeting, post pictures from the evening and have a post-event meeting to discuss how the event went and ways we can improve next time. It takes a surprising amount of work, and the generous support of so many people, to make this event a success.

Last year we raised over 900,000 THB, enough to fund two English teachers for a year! As a registered non-profit here in Thailand, all the money we raise goes towards covering our operating costs, paying our teachers, and helping the children. This can quickly add up to sizeable costs. Big events like Black Tie Muay Thai III are a huge part of our fundraising strategy and make our mission to provide quality English education a reality.

The effort it takes is definitely worth it. Every day at our afterschool programme, Coconut Club, we get to see firsthand the impact we are having in these childrens’ lives. It is an incredible feeling to know we are helping to make a difference! As the days speed by and the countdown to Black Tie Muay Thai III continues, I get more and more excited.  We are all looking forward to a fantastic night and hope for another great turnout!


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