A Gala Night of Hope
“Albanians don’t give!”
A phrase I’m all too familiar with as a fundraiser here in Albania, and a phrase that I could not disagree with more, especially after the success of our First Gala Night in December 2018.
Throughout our preparation and work leading up to the Gala, we had to make a lot of asks;
“Would you like to buy a ticket to attend our Gala?”
“Would you consider buying a table for you and your friends to attend our Gala?”
“Would you be interested in donating an item to our Auction?”
My favorite part about my job was all the excitement and eagerness to help that we received back. In-Kind donations alone accounted for 23% of the costs of the event.
The Gala Night was the first of its kind for us at MWL and it was truly one to remember.
One of the highlights of the evening was the electric Live Auction. As guests arrived, they passed a Christmas Tree that featured our () Auction Items, generously donated by our sponsors and items directly from our projects and beneficiaries. The auction item I was personally looking most forward to was a model wooden ship that had an incredible story. As the items were presented, Alfred Matoshi, our Men’s Project Manager told the story of a man in prison who is a part of our Prison Project, where we have regularly meeting groups to build community and inspire hope even within the walls of prison.
He built this ship by hand from thousands of small pieces of wood, carefully and meticulously. The different shades of the pieces of wood were achieved by soaking the pieces in water for different amounts of time. This man donated this incredible ship to our Gala Night, in hopes that he could “give back to an organization that has given him so much.”
When the auction floor was opened for the ship, it was like witnessing a horse race. The bidding went from one end of the ballroom to the other, echoing shouts of excitement and support. The bidding eventually came down to 2 men, an American and an Albanian.
“250 Euros! 300 Euros! 325 Euros!”
This ship raised a total of 375 Euros for Mary Ward Loreto Foundation and gave everyone in attendance an experience they will always remember, where Albanians and internationals competed to support Albania.
The 10 Auction Items donated raised over 950 Euros for our Anti-trafficking work.
In total, the Gala Night raised 1,312.90 Euros for Mary Ward Loreto Foundation.
This first event has been a springboard for connections, initiatives, and the opening of doors. Gala Night 2018 has already proven its worth through the development of partnerships for Hotel Staff Anti-Trafficking Trainings, In-Kind Donations for the Youth Project, and the addition to our overall reputation in Albania as the Mission Against Human Trafficking.
One of the tools we are using to organize this work and expansion is a Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM). We have been discerning our digital expansion for the past months and are now growing into this incredible tool that will help expand our reach, organize our fundraising campaigns, and build the relationships and networks that will help us better fight human trafficking in Albania.
We are so proud of what we have accomplished together, including the Gala. We can’t be successful in this work alone.
On behalf of all of the staff of MWL, I want to thank all who attended and supported us in this new endeavor. We could not have accomplished it without you.
Gala Night 2019 is just around the corner and we can’t wait to share more with you in the coming months.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can support our work and get involved, I would love to talk with you more. This is going to be an exciting year for Mary Ward Loreto and we would love for you to be a part of it.
Patty Stein – Development Officer