Equal Justice Works (EJW) is a nonprofit dedicated to creating more opportunities for law students and lawyers to serve in the public interest. Equal Justice Works holds an Annual Dinner, its signature event, to build community, celebrate its achievements, and raise funds to help underwrite its programs and activities. The 2017 event was held on November 1st at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. Acclaimed leader and businessman, Kenneth C. Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., was honored at the dinner, which was attended by over 1200 people.
Fundraising in conjunction with the dinner was driven by a 63-person Steering Committee made up of General Counsels and additional champions of the EJW’s mission. In the past, the function of working with this Committee to coordinate outreach to their prospect lists had been managed in-house. In 2017, EJW sought for the first time to outsource this role.
Orr Group provided a team to fill the role of Equal Justice Works’ Senior Manager of Events. The team comprised a senior leader, supported by two experienced event professionals, for the early months of the project, increasing to a total of four professionals for the final push leading up to the event. The team worked with the Steering Committee to ensure an efficient solicitation process, manage prospect lists, and maintain a revenue dashboard to keep EJW constantly updated on the status of event outreach and progress toward fundraising goals. Orr Group also supported event execution, including managing registration, seating, and sponsor-related benefit fulfillment.
The Orr Group team brought consistency and leadership to the fundraising process, allowing Equal Justice Works’ senior staff to focus on priority prospects. We also worked closely with the Steering Committee to secure sponsorship commitments. The initial fundraising goal of $3.1 million was achieved two weeks out from the event, and with the bar set even higher, the additional night-of donations pushed the final total to $3.3 million.
Based on the success of the 2017 event, Orr Group was again hired in 2018 to manage Steering Committee recruitment, event fundraising, as well as seating and registration for Equal Justice Works’ Annual Dinner. Throughout the process, with efficient systems and good data already in place, fundraising tracked ahead of 2017, allowing for more strategic Steering Committee and sponsorship cultivation and stewardship and streamlined sponsorship benefit fulfillment. On November 8, 2018, Orr Group lead registration and seating for about 1,100 guests and announced a total of $3.15 million raised for Equal Justice Works.
Orr Group provided fundraising support for Equal Justice Works’ Annual Dinners in 2017 and 2018, registering and seating over 1100 guests at each event and shattering previous fundraising records.