A piece of my heart will always live in Fort Worth, Texas — more specifically, at the Buc-ee’s in Fort Worth. Now, I’m not just saying that because I ate one of the best pulled pork sandwiches of my life there (though the sandwich certainly helped). I’m saying so because I had one of my most fulfilling experiences as a professional event emcee and auctioneer right here in Fort Worth.
On Saturday evening, I had the honor of serving as the professional event emcee at the 11th Annual Champions for Children Gala presented by Independent Financial, benefiting Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas. This nonprofit event had everything you needed to leave with a full heart, including an incredibly moving cause, clients who became friends, and a genuine donor base.
Take a look at the factors that made Saturday’s event one of my favorite nonprofit fundraisers in recent history, and why I was grateful to be the professional event emcee (and professional auctioneer!) who was at the heart of it all.
1. Moving Cause Worthy of Attention
The heart of nonprofit fundraising always boils down to the cause — the people whose lives we can change if we work together. On Saturday night, we focused on the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, a group that brings hope and healing to children victimized by abuse. They have been changing lives since 1997; however, the events of the pandemic dramatically increased the number of kids needing their services.
To mark the gravity of the current situation, the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas placed blue and white candles across donors’ tables. There were hundreds of white candles to represent the brave children who came forward to tell their story of abuse this year alone. There were also 14 blue candles to represent the child fatalities that have occurred in 2021… 14 too many.
The candles provided a powerful visual of why we all had gathered there that evening. We arrived at Texas Motor Speedway not to mingle or network, but to actively fight against child abuse in Denton County, North Texas, and the country as a whole. It was truly an honor to play any part in such a momentous cause, let alone the auctioneer who helped raise funds for these children.
2. Clients Who Become Friends
What’s better than raising money to protect children? Becoming friends with the amazing people who show up to work each day to directly protect those children! The wonderful folks at the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, as well as the event planners for the 11th Annual Champions for Children Gala, were clients that quickly became friends.
It all started back in 2019, when I was the professional event emcee for one of the last in-person Children’s Advocacy Center events pre-pandemic. In 2020, the team brought me in for a virtual touch-base with their donor base as the pandemic raged on. This year, once the team felt safe enough to meet in person, they worked with me to find the perfect date for the event.
In fact, we’re already planning what we’ll do next year for the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas 25th anniversary… but we couldn’t hop into planning with a trip to Buc-ee’s, of course! After learning I had never been to the Southern home base of delicious snacks and “the world’s cleanest bathrooms,” the whole gang drove over to Buc-ee’s for a pulled pork sammie.
Between the wonderful company and the tasty grub, I’ll definitely be back soon!
3. Genuine Audience and Donor Base
Though I’ve spoken a good deal about that pulled pork sandwich (Buc-ee’s fans, can you blame me?), one of the true highlights of this recent professional event emcee and auctioneer gig was the audience in attendance. As a professional emcee, it’s truly magical when you form a relationship with not only your clients but the donor base as well.
I’ve been working with the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas since 2019, so many historical donors have become familiar with me. It’s now become an ongoing tradition where we all — event planners, event entertainers, and event attendees — look forward to seeing one another year after year. And this year was no exception!
As we all settled into a groove and began to raise funds for the children, the crowd came alive. By our tentative calculations, we raised more than $600,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas! Those funds will be allocated to therapy sessions, forensic interviews, family advocate services, and educational opportunities for kids and adults.
“We haven’t had an event in-person since spring of 2019. Our gala raises funds for child abuse victims so the stakes were very high. But, unfortunately, the rust was showing at our venue. Jeff took a lead role in working with our A/V vendor to ‘speak his language’ and get control of the situation.
Jeff rolled with the mistakes and never missed a beat. I honestly have to credit Jeff with our highest netting gala ever. He truly saved the day, he’s easy to work with and a joy to have around. We can’t thank you enough, Jeff! Looking at 2022 dates!”
— Amy Ferdinando, Development Director, Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas
Why I’m Grateful to Be a Professional Event Emcee and Auctioneer
I’ve always loved to entertain, but there’s something special about being a professional event emcee that allows me to connect with the crowd on a deeper level. With my nonprofit experience with my own charity, Win-Win Entertainment, I’ve quickly grown to appreciate the level of effort and care put into fundraising for amazing causes, like the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas.
I’ve learned to honor that people want to come together for such momentous occasions; however, I’ve also learned to not focus on the negative. Instead, I focus on hope and healing. With more than 18 years of experience, I’ve become adept at embracing the natural arcs of energy within an event to respect the severity of a cause and still celebrate those we attend to make a difference.
With that being said, I’ve also loved being able to reimagine a traditional auctioneer role. As a professional event emcee and auctioneer, I have the ability to read the room to connect with donors as best as possible and still drive fundraising for a great cause. Combined, these factors make me beyond grateful to serve as both a professional emcee and professional auctioneer.
Let’s Fundraise for a Fantastic Cause Together!
I left Fort Worth, Texas with a full heart. Now, I can’t wait to help another fantastic organization raise funds for another incredible cause. Whether you’re looking for a professional event emcee, a professional auctioneer, or an experienced performer who can excel at both roles, I’m your man for the job. Contact me today to learn how we can knock your fundraising out of the park this year!