Grief’s Journey (formerly known as Ted E. Bear Hollow) is a nonprofit organization in Omaha, Nebraska, that provides a safe and loving environment where grieving children and their families can recognize and cope with their feelings of loss and grief through support and education. As a nonprofit organization, donations are the main source of funding, and an annual event called the Comfort Food Classic – where Omaha chefs donate their time to compete in a cook-off judged by attendees – is the primary source of funding for the organization. To help Grief’s Journey reach its goal of increasing its net income from the previous year by 30 percent through an increase in event registrations, we were tasked with creating multiple marketing materials to promote ticket sales for the Comfort Food Classic that focused on the public’s opportunity to sample cooking from Omaha’s top chefs.
We carefully researched and selected the top 100 Omaha area corporations that had food-related businesses, relationships with board members or previous involvement with the event to receive the direct mail. We then developed and sent a corporate mailer using a box, miniature teddy bear, brochure and personal letter from the event chairman asking for the company’s support by purchasing a table.
Additional materials – such as full-color posters, digital billboards, in-house produced TV spots and a media press kit – were created while ad placement was donated by local media outlets. This helped secure an appearance by a competing chef on a local morning talk show to promote the event live.
Total ticket sales increased by 43.63 percent, and for the first time in the event’s eight-year history, tickets were sold out more than a week in advance. Net proceeds also increased by 89.47 percent while the event exceeded its fundraising goal by nearly 50 percent.