Monday, April 25, 2011

Hey readers! I need your feedback!

Hello all you thrifty band director followers-all 19 of you that officially follow me and the few hundred of you who read my blogs-thanks!

Now I need your help. We have been collecting ink jet cartridges for recycling but we have not made the money that I had hoped to on it and this is a result of the vendor that we have been using (a local business not to be named). But that's not the point of this blog.

The point is that I need a new vendor for ink jet cartridge and cell phone recycling.

Right now I'm looking at switching to Phoneraiser.

So my question to all of you is that do you do ink jet cartridge recycling or cell phone recycling or both? How do you do it? Do you do it ongoing through the year or dedicated drives (certain times of year) or both? Whose your vendor and the big well have you done?

Thanks and when I get this going don't worry...I will blog about it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Los Gatos High School Crab Feed

Hello All! Well I do apologize on my lack of blogging lately. It sure has been awhile and I do hope that I will not have another extended absence. I have been busy being thrifty and being a band director but there has not been much time for blogging in that. I would like to start getting back to some of my promised blogs and one of them is this one.

I had the pleasure of attending the Los Gatos High School Crab Feed. I will say upfront that I give both this kind of fundraiser and this particular event 5 stars. I think after you read this and see the pictures you will understand why.

The event was a class act. I actually found out about it NOT because I am friends with the band director, Chris Marra, but because I just so happened to be shopping in downtown Los Gatos and saw a very nice poster in a store front that caught my eye. Being someone that enjoys crab feeds (and is always looking for great fundraisers) this got my attention. I also have learned something living in the bay area. If you want to go to an event like a pancake breakfast or a crab feed, often times the best ones are hosted by the slightly more affluent communities (however I will say that not teaching in an affluent community we put on some darn good events so its NOT an always, please don't hate that comment too much).

I promptly purchased a ticket and decided to attend. They had a very helpful website as well, which I think is really important when running an event like this.  I was very impressed when I approached the event and found this great signage at the exit right off the freeway.
For those of you that don't know much about Los Gatos High School it is in beautiful downtown Los Gatos, California, which is a pretty amazing and picturesque place. I also feel like I'm taking a mini-vacation when I am there.
Here's the high school to give you an idea.

And here is the courtyard.
 This is the church where the event was held. I think for a five star event like this that location is key. You have to find a place that is going to work well for the guests and the event (clean, good parking, decorate-able and affordable). Based on the profits earned this location seemed to be a great fit. It was particularly good for the Los Gatos HS Band students because they performed at the event and so moving equipment etc. was snap since the church is next to the school.
 They did a great job decorating for  the event.
 Clearly marked entrances to the event are a plus!
And the students performing was a great touch!

 The entry way for checking in/purchasing tickets was helpful and the parents were very friendly and helpful!
 You could purchase additional cookies & bread which is a great way to get a little extra something to eat and a little extra $$$ for the event.
It's hard to see but inside the lobby that you entered to purchase your tickets etc. you could also purchase tickets for a raffle. Each section created a basket for the raffle and there were members of each section with the basket to describe it. I purchased 20 tickets for $20. I talked with the students who knew a lot about their baskets and were very friendly. I love seeing students actively participating in fundraising events that directly benefit them! The baskets were AWESOME! I fell in love with the flute section's basket and put nearly all my tickets in that one (while giving a few to my fellow percussion section's basket). This raffle is another FANTASTIC way to enhance your event's profits, especially if each section gets most of the items donated.

Inside the hall with the tables set up for dinner there was also an AMAZING silent auction with several outstanding items donated by community members. Here are just a few examples. Regardless of your socio-economic/what you are able to get donated for the event one of the best silent auction items for any event is premium seats for graduation. Its usually free to you as the event AND its one of the most highly bid on items. Great addition LGHS Band!
Every detail of this event was handled and as you can see here is a great menu and the room was very well put together.

Here's a little video from two of the students describing the "dining" portion of the event.

The food was incredible! Here's the appetizer!
The entire meal was fantastic! I personally enjoyed the bib!

 And as you can see Mr. Marra was very excited as well!
 These hats that the students wore were a great touch! Thanks for letting me try one out!
 Here's what clenched the night for me! I WON THE FLUTE SECTION BASKET (that's the one I really wanted). It was the last item they raffled off!
 Check out my sweet loot! This included hot cocoa, chocolate covered pretzels (my fav), an awesome ceramic Starbucks mug, itunes gift card, Starbucks gift card, and why I really wanted the basket? The sweet hand knitted hat!
And here I am with that hat. 

Now when I left the event I had such a positive "taste" in my mouth about the event and still do. I always have to say that I was a little nervous about how much I would like the event because I didn't know very many folks and that they were not serving alcohol. DON'T LET THIS DETER YOU FROM DOING AN EVENT LIKE THIS. Its often really hard to find a venue that will let you serve alcohol, or many folks in your organization may not be comfortable with having alcohol at a school related event. To be honest with you,  I didn't miss it. The event was GREAT without it!
What really put this event for me at 5.5 stars if that's possible was the follow up afterwards. I received this letter and picture a few weeks later. Outstanding job LGHS. I hope to "steal" some of your ideas and will be at your event again next year!

 Great Job Los Gatos HS Music Boosters, Students, & Staff. Excellent event.
Thanks for being my first fundraising event profiled on the blog and your 
thrifty rating is ***** (5 stars).