Ginny Loveday is so passionate about the Adventurers League that she’s even the MAYOR of Phlan. You might recognize her now-retired character Chancellor Calypso as an NPC in the beleaguered Moonsea town, after having won an election at Winter Fantasy 2017. Outside the Forgotten Realms, however, Ginny is a former regional coordinator for the Southeast Region and a former local coordinator of Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to being a prolific D&D writer, she also serves on the community committee for the Heralds Guild of Masters.
Ginny also helps organize the Adventurers League for Save Vs Hunger, a weekend-long tabletop gaming event, that benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. Last year, SVH raised $10,000. This year, after one day, they nearly surpassed that goal with $9,600 raised. By the end of the weekend, they had raised $18,015, enough to provide 54,000 meals!
Here are some of Ginny’s tips for organizing a successful charity event:
Choose a Local Cause, Make It Tangible. East Tennessee is very much effected by poverty, Ginny says, so it’s meaningful for the local gaming community to rally around the cause. Since the first event four years ago, SVH also has started emphasizing that a $1 donation buys 3 meals, making every individual donation’s effect easier to grasp. “Gamers like to have that tangible checkmark feeling of completing a quest,” Ginny explains. “It’s easier to persuade people with our high Charisma rolls to open their wallets and be generous when we can explain their $20 of raffle tickets is really 60 meals!”
Location, Location, Location. Ginny says SVH has been very lucky, location-wise. Knoxville is near several other major city hubs, such as Raleigh, Lexington, and Atlanta (whose enthusiastic D&D community was extremely supportive). The organizers were able to host SVH in the food bank itself, saving venue costs, gaining access to an on-site kitchen, and really bringing the charitable cause to the forefront. Having grown and grown over 4 years and 6 events, accommodating 300 players and over 60 DMs this year, SVH’s newest challenge will be looking for a new venue for their next event.
The Top Fundraiser: Concessions. Use of the food bank’s kitchen has been a huge boon to SVH, Ginny says. Their “Food Wizard” Beth plans out a menu with the biggest bang for the buck that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks all day long. The menu takes a lot of planning – including cost analysis spreadsheets, figuring out what ingredients can be multi-taskers, trips to bulk-stores like Sam’s Club and Costco, but Ginny says, if you have access to kitchen, this is a big moneymaker with all proceeds going to the charitable cause.
Courage and Clarity Make for Awesome Raffles. Do not be afraid to ask EVERYONE to contribute to your raffle. Board game companies, publishers, marketing companies, artists, illustrators, writers, accessory makers, etc. Ginny says SVH reached out to 100 companies. Keep it easy and organized with a form email, but ensure you clearly state: what your event is, where it is, when it is, what you’re doing (all the events taking place and why they are relevant), and exactly where the money is going. A lot of people will say no or that it isn’t a good time, but Ginny says she’s been pleasantly surprised by the generosity of this hobby. Don’t forget to thank all your sponsors, she adds, including shouting them out in Facebook posts about your event. Ginny recommends thanking companies both publicly and, individually, privately.
Make it EASY to be Generous. SVH keeps the badge cost low ($25), which makes it easier for attendees to feel generous at the concession stand or raffle. “I went straight hustlin’ raffle tickets,” Ginny added. The SVH crew had a rolling food trolley and brought raffle tickets to gaming tables with enthusiastic, friendly reminders to get “one more chance to win a dragon!” Ginny says this makes it as easy as possible for attendees to support the cause (and playfully pokes at their competitive sides). They don’t even have to get up from the table.
Minimize Costs and Accept In-Kind Donations. Like any event, Ginny says minimizing costs is key to throwing a successful charity event. There are many ways for folks to contribute their generosity beyond raffle prizes. For example, some people might be able to donate special skills – like art. Others might be able to donate merchandise printed at cost – like t-shirts with that art.
Keep Support Going with Charitable CCCs. SVH even features their own Con Created Content (CCC) adventures, and Ginny says they are going to keep the support momentum going as those hit the Dungeon Masters Guild in a couple months. All proceeds will go to the food bank!
The Adventurers League Community Spotlight features members of our community accomplishing cool things and sharing their tips to make your AL experience equally cool. If you know someone who makes your AL community better, e-mail [email protected] to tell us why they should be featured in the next Community Spotlight.