18,000 Meals for Kansas City Hungry

Every year Mid-America Association of Real Estate Investors holds an Annual Vendor Night to benefit a local charity.  In July of 2014 the charity chosen was Harvester’s Community Food Bank, the Kansas City Metro’s only Foodbank that serves the greater metropolitan area.

Our goal for 2014 was to donate 10,000 meals and with the help of our event Sponsors, Vendors, Attendees and a corporate match from two of Harvester’s corporate sponsors we were able to far exceed that goal.  Overall, we were able to donate $2,594 plus our $1,000 in corporate match plus 38 pounds of food for just shy of 18,000 meals.

First we collected Sponsor Fees from MAREI Business Members:  Accurate Title Company, KC Invest, Kansas City Investor Funding, Choice Cabinets and Great Plains Funding.  We had 10 other Vendors as well who also reserved space to network with attendees.  This generated $675 overall, plus each Vendor and Sponsor donated a small door prize or in the case of ShowHomesKC which is owned by Former Chiefs Defensive Tackle and Super Bowl Winner Ed Lothamer, two Chiefs Photos signed by the players in the photo.

Second, all Guest Fees were dropped for this evening so everyone could attend for no charge, although all guest were encouraged to donate at minimum $5 to Harvesters at the door, which gave them raffle tickets for the door prizes.  Plus members purchased other raffle tickets to raise $520.

Third, we asked all members, vendors and sponsors to help us market this even by forwarding emails we had sent and sharing and liking social media posts on our Facebook Page, Facebook Group, LinkedIn Group and Google Plus Community.  We even attempted to tweet it with #MAREIVendorExpo.

Half way through our marketing campaign for this even our founder Kim Tucker, heard a news story about Warren Buffet auctioning off a dinner with him for several million dollars, so a new way to raise funds was born.  We contacted 6 of our expert real estate investor members and asked them to donate their expertise and a few hours of their time to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Fourth, we held an expert auction and our experts:  Brian Winberry, Michelle Winberry, Andrew Syrios, Don Tucker and Kim Tucker were all set to be auctioned and a late comer who is ever popular with the members volunteered at the last minute.  Our last minute volunteer is creative buying and selling expert Debra Felderhoff who was auctioned off initially for $220 and she dropped her price for the highest bidder to get the 2nd highest bidder to also buy 3 hours of her time, generating two sales at $210 each  and before the night was over, generating a 3rd sale.  We also had a high bidder Steve Summers who bid $250 for Brian Winberry and then write out a check for an even $300.  Over all the expert auction generated $1,485.

One of the Keys to Success of the auction was our live auctioneer Mike Cantrell from Cates Auction who was an expert in working the crowd and pulled bids out of a very shy audience.

The vendors also had a very successful evening with approximately 100 people coming in and visiting with many new faces that had never attended a meeting or who had not attended a meeting in several years.

Over all it was a very successful night and we are looking forward to next year.  We hope to add an online aspect to our fund raising next year so we have a way for non attendees to donated as we had several people want to donate with out attending.