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Fashioning a New Fundraiser

The Newport Harbor (Calif.) High School Girls' Volleyball Booster Club recently held a fundraiser that showcased its members in a unique way--as fashion models. The event brought in a profit of $3,500, which went directly back to the team. 

In the summer of 2012, members of the Newport Harbor (Calif.) High School Girls' Volleyball Booster Club came up with an idea for a fashion show to support the team and turn some heads. The show was held at a clothing boutique that is new to the area, with junior and senior team members modeling the clothes. 

"We had never done something like this before," says Fashion Show Chair Evelyn Yardley. "It took a lot of legwork and a lot of personal attention to our community--we went door-to-door asking for everything that we needed--but we were able to get almost everything donated for the event and pull it together in about 60 days."

Leading up to the show, the booster club sent invitations to the team members' mothers, as well as local businesses that sponsored the event by donating products or services. The club also sold tickets to the community members for $50 general admission and $25 for students. The three-hour event included refreshments, the fashion show, a silent auction that featured several items and gift certificates from local businesses.

The boutique's owner had been looking for a way to drum up new business, so arranging the venue was a win-win situation. "Some of the designers brought in new items from their lines, just for the show," Yardley says. "And the boutique's owner gave us 10 percent of her profit for everything sold that day. It worked out well for everyone--we raised money for the team, while she drew attention to her business and got some new customers."

To complement the boutique's clothing, a local shoe store brought in footwear to be worn in the show and a local jewelry designer offered some of her pieces, as well. Likewise, makeup artists and a hairstylist volunteered their services. "Everyone was really generous, and they all worked together to help us put together a great show," Yardley says. "The team members who served as models had a great day of pampering--and they got to wear something they may not have otherwise tried. It was a lot of fun."

Yardley worked with a graphic designer who volunteered to design the invitations, program, and tickets, while a local Whole Foods store supplied refreshments. "The chairs, tables, glassware, and silverware were the only items we rented," she says. "We wanted it to be a nice event, so that's where we spent some money--although we were given a discount on the rate."

Setting up for the show took some time, as it was held in the boutique's back room--which meant moving the clothing and fixtures that were stored there. "We did that the night before," says Yardley. "Believe it or not, the shop was still open to the public for most of the day. Just before 4:00, the owner put up a sign saying that a private event was being held, so that's when we set up the chairs and did our finishing touches."
Once it was time to begin, the event started off with refreshments and Yardley's opening remarks, which included thanking the businesses that had helped with the show. Next, a CD started playing and the show got started. Rather than introducing the models as they walked onto the runway, their names and the clothing's information was printed on an insert in the program. Afterward, the silent auction concluded, and dessert was served.
The show had a full house with approximately 110 attendees. "Originally, we thought we would have about 150 there," Yardley says. "But we couldn't have fit that many, so it worked out perfectly. We wanted to invite the mothers to come so they would have a fun mother-daughter type of memory.

"The team's juniors and seniors were our models," she continues. "Then we had the sophomores and freshmen helping out where they were needed. We're planning on making it an annual event, so they'll get to be in the limelight for future shows."
For next year's event, Yardley is planning on expanding the invitation list. "We had a lot of feedback from the team members' dads saying they would like to come, so we're going to invite them next year," she says. "I'm also hoping to get our program's two Olympians--Misty May-Treanor and April Ross--at the event. They've both always been very supportive of us, so we're hoping they can be a part of it next year, as well." is brought to you by a recognized and established name in the school athletics arena, MomentumMedia—publisher of Athletic Management, Coaching Management and Training & Conditioning magazines.