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Canceled To $1 Million Virtual Gala

Testimonial by BRC's Chief Development Officer, Shira Fisher.

The Problem:

Due to COVID-19, all in-person events have been canceled.

One of the nonprofits that I've been working with, BRC, was planning to throw their annual fundraising gala as they do every year; however this year they were considering canceling the event as a whole.

BRC stands for Bowery Residents' Committee. They are a nonprofit in New York City that provides housing and services to our city's most vulnerable population, the homeless.

How can this nonprofit continue to fundraise in order to help the community that they serve?

The Solution:

I've helped live stream and VJed a 13-hour fundraiser with 13 DJs and helped fundraised $13,000+ for the New York-Presbyterian hospital during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so I knew that I could do the same for this event.

It was absolutely new territory, but I assured them that while technology can be finicky at times, there are ways to minimize the errors that may occur. One of those ways was to pre-record as much as possible.

A gala has a program including speakers, testimonials, video presentations, performances, and the ask. It was a matter of creating the content and presenting it to their audience in a professional way.

But isn't live-streaming suppose to be live?

Sure, but it can depend.

Yes, in the sense that you can present whatever you want to live, within any given time frame, and have the ability to chat with your audience live.

In a live stream you can present:

  • Videos

  • Musical performances

  • PowerPoint presentations

  • Zoom conversation/webinar

  • Live camera feeds from multiple different locations

  • Pretty much anything that you can do or watch on a screen.

No, as I mentioned before because you can pre-record everything and live-stream that.

The question was "What are the benefits of all of our content actually being broadcasted from a live feed?" The answer was not much.

We're trying to fundraise for a cause, which means delivering the message directly and effectively. Being "live" was gimmicky (in this particular case).

Since I'm a branding guy, making the show look as official as possible while delivering the appropriate message was my highest priority. Delivering a broadcast show package and live streaming it for them was the solution.


• Invitation

• Marketing Graphics

• Virtual Gala Website

• Program and Sponsors Booklet

• Show Production

• Live Stream Production

Invitation Sketches:

The team decided to go with a very humble-looking invitation, especially because of the whole COVID-19 pandemic that we were in the middle of. They did not want to "show-off" during this time.

Cohesive event branding:

Sponsorship packages and alternate flyers.

Email Marketing:

Going off of the invitation flyer and sponsorship package design, they were able to do cohesive email marketing (promote the people that they honored for their event).

Virtual Gala Website:

The website needed to help promote the event, be able to capture attendee's names and emails, and house (pun intended) the gala's live stream that we produced for them. It also included all of their staff's stories and a virtual program & sponsors booklet. You can view the live website at (just enter your name and email to enter).

Program and Sponsors Booklet:

The program booklet is usually a nice way to get companies and individuals to donate to your event. Since we were going virtual, we made the booklet available to flip through virtually on the website (and we naturally saved trees by not printing it).

Flip through the booklet below:

Show Production:

We made the live stream look like a cohesive, well branded, show with animated graphics that included:

  1. Countdown to the live stream

  2. Animated show logo

  3. Transitions

  4. Titles

  5. Lower Thirds

  6. Video Frames (for special guests)

  7. Up Next Graphics

  8. Call To Actions/Donate

  9. Credits/Sponsors

  10. Stream cover and ending graphics

Live Stream Production:

This is a shortened version of the whole live stream which you can replay. We live-streamed to YouTube using OBS Stream Labs.


BRC fundraised a total of $1,100,000 dollars during the campaign with $30,000 of that during the night of the actual live-stream!

I'd say that was an incredible success!

One donor commented:

"I already made a donation before the fundraiser. I am donating more when this video made me realize that BRC heroes have been doing their work in the subway system. That hit home to me. It is truly heroic."

And that's what it is about! Delivering your nonprofits' message directly and effectively so that you can continue to serve and help the community that you love!

You can watch the full replay of the show on the website we created (just enter your name and email to watch) go to:

Do you need help live-streaming your canceled event?

Schedule a time to chat with my team and let's get those funds raised!


Steve Lucin

I am a creative entrepreneur who helps passionate visionaries grow their businesses and nonprofits through proper branding, marketing, and creativity. And I VJ.

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