Night of 1,000 Dinners: Tips for a Top UNA Event from University of Iowa and Iowa UNA

When you’re a non-profit with limited resources, no matter how many years in a row you’ve held an event, it’s never really a finished product. University of Iowa and Iowa UNA have been holding Night of 1,000 Dinners for the past fourteen years now, and every year, we’re still making changes. It gets easier with time! Night of 1,000 Dinners has become the largest Women’s Day celebration in our state. In recent years, it has consistently brought in 200 guests and $2500—all in a single night!

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Events, like stories or art pieces, benefit from being workshopped. We are happy to share with you the process behind the creation of Night of 1,000 Dinners. We hope that it will be helpful to other UNAs, and that it might inspire you to share the processes behind your events as well. We can only get better and better!

Here are some of the principles underlying the organization of our large events:

Pay it forward: People are attracted to an event that makes them feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves. We truly do celebrate Women’s Day at our event. Of what’s left over from the costs of the event, half goes to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Guests know that their attendance is important—they have a direct impact.

Work together: We always seek about fifteen or more cosponsors, which serves to unite and showcase local businesses and organizations working together for women’s rights.

Scrounge with style. Take advantage of as many free resources as possible! The event features dinner from dozens of restaurants in our area, served buffet-style. If we didn’t scrounge, we could never afford to provide food to 200! The trick is to act official. We go to restaurants with solicitation letters, printed on our fancy letterhead, to encourage them to donate a dish to our event.

Shake it up. Besides just dinner, we always feature a keynote speaker, and we recruit world musicians and dance troupes to entertain. Diversifying an event will always bring in more people, and can also create new arenas for fundraising. We have a silent auction of art pieces, books, and gift items—all donated to us by individuals or local businesses—that is both fun and profitable!

Name it well. “Night of 1,000 Dinners” is both intriguing and informative. It was originally the name for an anti-landmine program that we used to feature here in Iowa. When that campaign ended, we adopted the name, because it already had recognition. Now, if you mention Night of 1,000 Dinners to community members, they know what you’re talking about. Yes!

Publicize, publicize. Two points: One, we issue press releases about all our events, and for really big events, we try to publish an interesting, persuasive Op-Ed in local newspapers. Two, we spread eye-catching, smart-looking posters and flyers everywhere, including online.

And lastly, spread the joy. Any model for any event can be exported, with modifications. This same event is held elsewhere in Iowa on a smaller scale within a few days of ours. You could easily adopt the Night of 1,000 Dinners model—or we could adopt the model of one of your events! When we’re all ready to help each other, the sky’s the limit. Just start something and go with it!     

In the Daily Iowan:http://www.dailyiowan.com/2014/03/07/Metro/36994.html

Find an example op-ed here:http://littlevillagemag.com/letter-to-the-editor-women-of-the-world-our-shame-and-pride

Find an old Night of 1,000 Dinners webpage here:http://iowauna.org/register/n1kd/

Cora Metrick-Chen, UNA Iowa

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  • commented 2014-12-04 21:09:42 -0500
    NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER

    ONLY RELIABLE STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT and REAL INNOVATIONS are CAPABLE
    To DEVELOP ECONOMY of ALL COUNTRIES of the WORLD, to LEAD THEM TO PROSPERITY, to MAKE the WORLD COMFORTABLE, ABSOLUTELY STABLE and SECURE.
    THE FUTURE В ЧИСТОМ GLOBAL WORLD!
    Alexey PAVLOV

    H.E. Ban Ki-Moon
    Secretary-General
    United Nations
    New York, NY 10017
    USA

    Dear Mr. Secretary General, Dear Partners and Friends!
    I suggest you to begin independent control of activity and quality of work of representatives of the SPECIAL SERVICES in Russia and the CIS.

    The PIONEER charity fund is ready assistance in monitoring and quality and control of programs of realized UN AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS in the Russian Federation and CIS countries, together with you to develop and hold other events and programs which will positively influence World level of your and our global partners.

    Joint development and advance of ecological tourism in especially protected natural territories first of all on Lake Baikal and peninsulas of Crimea by means of the PIONEER charity fund and our partners IN ANY REGIONS in the Russian Federation.

    Whenever possible you’re personal interested participation and representatives your global partners in development and carrying out actions are desirable.

    WE WILL HELP YOU TO OPEN NEW OFFICE IN RUSSIA AND THE CIS.

    WE CAN ORGANIZE in advance ANY INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP TRIPS ON ALL TERRITORY OF RUSSIA AND THE CIS, WITH STOPS IN INTERESTING REGIONS, HOLDING NECESSARY MEETINGS, PHOTO, SHOOTING VIDEO AND ACTIONS.
    MAINTENANCE AND SAFETY IS CARRIED OUT ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL NORMS AND LAWS.

    PIONEER charity foundation these are 15 years of the modern, timely, advanced decisions in questions of public, legal, political and other character. We are always open for new offers, cooperation and global partnership.

    Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation the certificate No. 2495 of November 17, 1999.

    Sincerely yours, President of
    PIONEER Charity foundation Alexey Gennadevich PAVLOV

    25.11.2014
    OUR JOINT CONTROL AND GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP

    The perspective project and the offer are in the attached file.

    NON-GOVERNMENTAL OGRANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER
    Russian Federation, 690090, Vladivostok, p.o. box 90-360. +79242656383;
    Web site: http://pioner.dv-baza.ru/ http://vk.com/fundpioneer https://twitter.com/FundPioneer
    E-mail: specpioneer@gmail.com
  • commented 2014-12-04 21:09:24 -0500
    NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER

    ONLY RELIABLE STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT and REAL INNOVATIONS are CAPABLE
    To DEVELOP ECONOMY of ALL COUNTRIES of the WORLD, to LEAD THEM TO PROSPERITY, to MAKE the WORLD COMFORTABLE, ABSOLUTELY STABLE and SECURE.
    THE FUTURE В ЧИСТОМ GLOBAL WORLD!
    Alexey PAVLOV
    690090 ПК, г. Владивосток, а/я 90-360.
    +79242656383; +7(423) 274-67-32. 16.09.2014

    H.E. Ban Ki-Moon
    Secretary-General
    United Nations
    New York, NY 10017
    USA
    Dear Mr. Secretary General, Dear Partners and Friends!
    THERE IS NO HELPTHOUSANDS THROWN CHILDREN IN RUSSIA!!!
    The PIONEER charity foundation offers you and to your collective to join carrying out mass charitable actions in all territory of Russia “We will make the childhood comfortable!” with involvement of labor, creative and student’s collectives.
    Purpose of actions: assistance and attraction of public attention to problems of children being in children’s hospitals which since the birth parents refused. We will carry out repair work of chambers and the equipment of newborns where there are thrown children.
    The material and technical equipment of chambers for such children leaves much to be desired. The thrown children, unfortunately, except the medical personnel of hospitals while have no other family. Therefore the Fund made the decision to improve financially – technical providing chambers for newborns in whom except the thrown children there are also all sick newborn children.
    We suggest you to discuss at meeting of labor collective a question of transfer to the special settlement account, or in cash desk of the direct contractor of the East Guarantor Company, one-day earnings of wished to participate in this charitable event, and also from other possible sources within this agreement, or to help necessary construction materials or the equipment for newborns.
    In return the PIONEER Charity foundation is ready to develop with you other joint actions which carrying out will positively influence the all-Russian and world level.
    Your personal interested participation in the organization and carrying out actions is desirable.

    WE CAN ORGANIZE ANY INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP TRIPS ON ALL TERRITORY OF RUSSIA, WITH STOPS IN INTERESTING REGIONS, HOLDING NECESSARY MEETINGS AND ACTIONS INCLUDING LAKE BAIKAL, AND ALSO WE WILL HELP TO OPEN OFFICE IN RUSSIA.
    MAINTENANCE AND SAFETY IS CARRIED OUT ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL NORMS AND LAWS.
    PIONEER charity foundation these are 15 years of the modern, timely, advanced decisions in questions of public, legal, political and other character. We are always open for new offers, cooperation and global partnership.
    Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation the certificate No. 2495 of November 17, 1999.

    Bank details for a transfer in Russia.
    ООО компания «Восток Гарант», ИНН 2507229970, КПП 250701001, ОГРН 1092507000145
    Банк получателя: «АЗИАТСКО-ТИХООКЕАНСКИЙ БАНК» (ОАО) в г. Благовещенск
    Расчетный счет: № 40702810000510000019; Кор.счет: 30101810300000000765
    БИК 041012765, ИНН 2801023444, КПП 250732001
    Назначение платежа: ремонтные работы «СДЕЛАЕМ ДЕТСТВО КОМФОРТНЫМ!».

    Details on the Internet on demand: “We will make the Childhood Comfortable!” – in Russian: «Сделаем детство комфортным!» or on our website, if it isn’t blocked by special services of Russia!
    Sincerely yours, President of
    PIONEER Charity foundation
    Alexey Gennadevich PAVLOV

    The perspective project and the offer are in the attached file.

    NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER
    Russian Federation, 690090, Vladivostok, p.o. box 90-360. +79242656383;
    Web site: http://pioner.dv-baza.ru/ http://vk.com/fundpioneer https://twitter.com/FundPioneer
    E-mail: specpioneer@gmail.com

    WELCOME TO RUSSIA !
    Public relations, mass media, legislative and executive power of the Russian Federation.
    International activity.
    Ecology, sports, tourism.
    RALLY RAIDS
    Diversification and development.
    Organization of mass actions.
    CARRYING OUT ELECTION CAMPAIGNS.
    Advertizing DEVELOPMENT.
    State registration.
    Carrying out lotteries and auctions.
    Social and economic INNOVATIONS.
    Design and design decisions.
    Legal support.
    PR – ADVANCE.
    Consulting researches.
    CRISIS MANAGEMENT.

    We will be glad to you to help!
    Sincerely yours, President of
    PIONEER Charity foundation

    Alexey PAVLOV

    OUR JOINT CONTROL AND GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP

    NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
    CHARITY FUND
    PIONEER
    Russian Federation, 690090, Vladivostok, p.o. box 90-360. +79242656383;
    Web site: http://pioner.dv-baza.ru/
    http://vk.com/fundpioneer
    https://twitter.com/FundPioneer
    E-mail: specpioneer@gmail.com