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Enrollment Marketing for Higher Education

The Challenge

To garner donor enthusiasm, donor engagement is required. Gratz College called on PS&L to execute a special anniversary gala traditionally held in-person for the virtual space with the goal of growing attendance worldwide and donations through an exceptional experience.

gratz laptop full

Previously, under 300 guests attended Gratz’s in-person gala. This year’s virtual gala engaged over 1,000 attendees for over an hour from all over the world, including across the U.S., Canada, France, China, Israel, Panama, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, and the U.K.

“Kudos on last night’s Gala!  It was a class act from start to finish.  Every detail was attended to, it was done in a professional manner, and yet, it seemed very personal, too.  This event was truly a testament to Gratz’s greatness, and I hope future generations will get to celebrate the next 125 years!
–  One of many positive comments from donors

The Solution

Produced by top talent, the Gratz virtual gala combined our broadcast technology background, live experience event capabilities, and brand strategy solutions for a flawless viewer experience.

  • in-house control room
  • show runner guidance
  • tech crew
  • live feeds from various locations
  • three in-studio live cameras
  • moderators
  • prerecorded exclusive video content
  • live-operated slide decks
  • full program of contingency content
banner tv studio

The Results

Gratz believes the virtual gala was a great success and will incorporate an online component to all future in-person events to sustain global audience participation.

  • Increase in donors. The virtual gala engaged 175 donors compared to 65 in 2018.
  • Increase in attendance. The virtual gala welcomed 1,164 unique attendees compared to 279 in 2018.
  • Increase in reach. International attendees could be part of this year’s gala, where past in-person attendees were local to Philadelphia.
  • Increase in engagement. Donors and attendees included many who were new to Gratz and alumni who had never before participated in a Gratz event.
  • Increase in positive feedback. Dozens of attendees shared their enjoyable experience during and after the event.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID, we were able to pivot from an in-person Gala scheduled for May 2020 to a successful online event in December 2020. It is worth noting that this was Gratz’s FIRST time hosting a fully online gala.

Naomi G. Housman, Ed.M. Director, Institutional Advancement, Gratz College

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