Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina: How the OneCause Fundraising Platform Elevated Their Signature Event



For over 35 years, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina has helped grant life-changing wishes for children with critical illness in the 49-county chapter area east of the Orange/Alamance County line. Since its founding in 1986, the organization has granted more than 4,232 wishes at zero cost to the families they serve.

To support their wish granting mission, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina hosts their annual Wish Ball event, bringing together supporters for an evening of a live and silent auction, dinner, and fun.



Coming into their annual Wish Ball, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina faced two challenges: hosting at a new venue, and organizing the event in a shorter than usual time frame. Despite the uncertainty of these challenges, the Make-A-Wish team set their revenue goals high. As the big day approached, the Make-A-Wish team knew they needed a fundraising partner that could support their success, but also make the execution of their event as seamless as possible.



Leveraging the OneCause Fundraising Platform, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina had their biggest fundraising year ever. A few key elements to their success included:

  • Online Ticketing and Express Check-In
  • Innovative Silent Auction Bidding
  • Sleek and Customized Branding
  • Flexible Table and Guest Management
  • Insightful Consultation and On-Site Support

Online Ticketing and Express Check-In

Event registration can be tedious for both donors and nonprofit staff alike. A disorganized process can cause potential attendees to abandon the form and cause headaches for nonprofit professionals planning their event based on the responses. But with the OneCause Fundraising Platform, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina provided guests with a seamless registration process.

Getting attendees into the venue was a breeze. Attendees were sent an automated text message before the event to check themselves in. Then, at the door, all that was required was a quick QR code scan of their ticket before they were in the event and ready to support the Make-A-Wish® mission.

“When I did my first event with someone who was using OneCause, it was like my eyes were opened to a whole new world. It made it so much more efficient from that host perspective and from the event execution perspective,” said Jackie Jordan Welker, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.

Innovative Silent Auction Bidding

In the past, the Wish Ball’s silent auction was run with table tents and manual organization. Preparing and organizing this took hours of the team’s time. Thanks to the virtual flexibility of the OneCause Mobile Bidding Software, the Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina team utilized QR codes to support streamlined and agile bidding.

“Being able to take individual items, package them together, and have everything you need come together into one auction lot made it really functional,” Jackie Jordan Welker said.

This helped provide donors with a way that was easy for them to give. The simple and smooth virtual bidding helped the silent auction bring in 96% of the total revenue goal!

Sleek and Customized Branding

In the past, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina was limited by their previous fundraising software solution and couldn’t get as creative in their branding. Using the OneCause Fundraising Platform, the team let their creativity shine not only on their website and digital invitations, but during the event as well.

“Branding drives our fundraising. Having a dedicated brand – knowing and sharing the message that we’re conveying – helps us be clear in what we’re asking people for in that moment,” explained Jackie Jordan Welker.

Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina used a live scoreboard during their direct appeal, allowing the attendees to see their names on the screen as donations were made in real time. Donors were listed by donation level tiers, calling out their level of support and creating an intimate moment of seeing just how their dollars would benefit the organization.

“We saw tremendous success and lots of in-the-moment energy being executed. Often times as an event manager, someone asks you ‘can I do this?’ We didn’t have to ask, they were there and in the moment,” Welker said.

Sponsors were impressed, too! At the bottom of the scoreboard, sponsors’ names were displayed in a customized scrolling effect, calling attention to their donation and support. This created an impactful moment across the evening for supporters and sponsors alike, encouraging and motivating them to give.

Flexible Table and Guest Management

Previous Wish Balls sold tables exclusively to sponsors. This year, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina wanted to try something new: selling individual tickets and opening up table purchases to donors. Because the OneCause Fundraising Platform supports unique ticketing tiers, selling these at different price points made it easy for the Make-A-Wish® team to manage guests as they purchased tickets.

These options provided an opportunity for higher levels of engagement for different kinds of donors and supporters. Once attendees were engaged, it caused a ripple effect of giving throughout the evening as donors inspired their friends and colleagues to give. Just as individual supporters could now purchase tickets, businesses and corporations were still given an exclusive table sponsorship option.

As a result, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina saw 120+ individual tickets and 180+ table tickets sold, boosting their overall revenue for the evening.

Insightful Consultation and On-Site Support

Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina implemented a number of new fundraising strategies for their event, thanks to the confidence they received by working with the OneCause team. Before their event, they worked with their OneCause consultant to see how to get the most out of the software. Through this valuable pre-event consultation, they were more than prepared for their event, even on their shortened timeline.

But the OneCause support didn’t stop there. During the Wish Ball, the OneCause representatives who were onsite acted quickly to troubleshoot issues with the venue’s Wi-Fi so every guest would have what they needed to make a donation. This problem-solving helped keep the evening running smoothly without the Make-A-Wish® staff raising a finger.

“It felt like we had additional staff on our team helping us make the best choices with informed advice. All this experience coming to your event helps you put your best foot forward at a crucial time. You have this one moment to connect with your donors, and this software helps get you there,” Jackie Jordan Welker said.



Thanks to the power and flexibility of the OneCause Fundraising Platform, Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina saw results that blew them away:

  • Hit 108% of the overall revenue goal.
  • Raised over $540k for their mission.
  • Hit 120% of live auction goal.
  • Sold 310+ tickets.

Connect with a Cause

To learn more about Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina, please visit their website.

Wrapping Up!

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