Immanuel Lutheran School 2020 Virtual Fundraiser
"Brett was such a pleasure to work with right from the start. We quickly went from planning an in-person gala to transitioning for a virtual event. During a period of time where things were changing quickly and everything seemed new, Brett helped us with our event planning, outline, and video production. From the beginning, Brett worked with us in understanding that our first goal was to build community and grow a positive culture and our second goal was to raise funds for family and school financial issues arising due to the pandemic. The success we had with both of our goals at the 2020 Immanuel Lutheran Gala was beyond what we thought it was going to be! We are so grateful for Brett's partnership guidance." - Principal John Meulendyke, Immanuel Lutheran School
Elmhurst Art Museum 2020 Virtual Fundraiser
"Our organization, like so many others, had to cancel our Spring fundraiser due to COVID-19. As a non-profit that relies on the funds from this major fundraising event, the cancellation left us with a shortfall in our budget. We pivoted to a virtual Fall fundraiser and had a great registration response from our supporters. During the planning, it became clear to us that we needed a strong host/emcee that could "carry" the program. We needed wit, humor, charm, quick thinking, adaptability, and an enthusiasm for fundraising! Enter Brett Walkow to save the day! Brett was all of these things and so much MORE! He pre-recorded some segments for the event and was also live the evening of. He took our script and really brought it to life. We received RAVE reviews and not only exceeded but DOUBLED our fundraising goal! We are so thrilled to have worked with Brett and his partner Elizabeth - and I know you will be too!"
- Jenn Guistolise, Manager Community Outreach & Special Events, Elmhurst Art Museum
Crystal Lake School 2020 Virtual Fundraiser
"We cannot say enough about Brett and his team. Like so many others this spring, we moved our spring gala on-line at the last minute. Brett helped us every step of the way. His advice, support and encouragement led us to create a memorable evening full of fun, laughter and a few tears that brought our school community together. We are so thankful for the time he spent with us and look forward to working with Brett (in person!) in the future." - Jen Weichle, Crystal Lake
St. Joseph Grade School Auction
"Brett has truly found his calling. He was professional and yet loose enough to keep people relaxed. He brought excitement to casual silent auction bidding and during the live auction his easy going banter kept people laughing and eager to participate. From start to finish Brett was exceptional. He brought our auction to the next level and if all the fantastic feedback we have received thus far from attendees is true, our auction will be the “do not miss” event going forward.
So, if you’re looking for that “perfect” person to energize your group, someone who will leave them laughing and feeling great about giving, look no further. Brett is your guy! Thanks Brett for making our auction one for the record books!
Petra Farrell | Auction Chair
Brett did a great job for our gala! He was able to help us meet our goal in the text-to-pledge segment of the evening, which was an increase over the previous year. He was polite, genuine, and seemed to be having fun as well. It was clear that he wanted to do the best job possible for us - and he did! Great guy, big heart, big TALENT!
Pamela Aliabadi | Director of Development For Chicago Voyagers
Pan African Association
Brett recently served as the emcee for Pan African Association’s annual benefit, Fashion Without Borders. Brett was a delight to work with, responsive to our needs, and supportive of our mission. He spoke with us a week or so before the event, having prepared himself by reviewing our website, as well as the material we sent him. He asked detailed questions and made good suggestions. At the event itself, he arrived early and was well prepared. He was a terrific host, and really put his heart into it. No one would know he had a script to follow; he really made it seem his own. His gentle humor and upbeat personality were well received and made the event both fun and meaningful. I would definitely recommend him.
Debbie Behrman, Board Chair |
Pan African Association
Our organization hired Brett for a 200 guest fundraising event. He took our organizations purpose very seriously, And HE WAS VERY VERY FUNNY!!!! He even incorporated the audience into the show. We loved it and had many compliments from our guests. I would recommend Brett in a heartbeat. Look no further…. Don’t miss this guy!
Duayne Beggs, President
Wendy Seerup Vice President, Ski Broncs
Homewood Cancer Center
Brett was wonderful!!! The audience were cancer survivors / patients and he certainly got their mind off what they were dealing with. One person said the key to getting through what they are dealing with is laughter and Brett certainly delivered that!! Brett was very accommodating to all of our requests. -
Clare P, Homewood, IL
I want to let you know why Brett Walkow should be your “go-to guy” for your next nonprofit fundraising event.
As background, I have worked in fundraising for the past 12 years and have been involved with planning and executing a gala event each of those years. In every case, the primary challenge is how to maximize revenue at the event, particularly through live auction items and the important cause appeal. This important job is entrusted to an auctioneer, most times someone who is trained, but not familiar with your organization. You try to find the best professional you can within your budget and do your best to educate the auctioneer about your organization, the event, and the attendees. When the live auction comes, you take a deep breath and hope and pray that all goes well.
This year our organization had the good fortunate to find Brett Walkow. We had phone interviews with three professionals and he was the stand-out. I did the final phone screening and knew immediately that Brett was a perfect fit. As a comedian, I knew he would be funny. But unlike other individuals we had spoken with, Brett was a good listener and was keenly interested in learning about our organization, which provides services and supports to individuals of all ages with special needs and their families. Brett had worked as a volunteer with children and adults with special needs and understood our mission. So in addition to the humor, there was kindness, compassion, and a true desire to help.
Fast forward to the night of our gala. Brett arrived early to familiarize himself with the venue, participate in our event run-through, and mix and mingle with guests during our VIP reception and cocktail hour. When it came time for the live auction, Brett had met many of our event attendees, including some of the individuals we serve. From the moment he stood on the podium and grabbed the microphone, Brett had everyone’s attention…and kept it for the next 30 minutes. For the live auction items, Brett knew how to keep the energy in the room alive and understood the nuances of timing. A live auction can be painful for those not bidding, but Brett kept everyone’s interest. There was laughter and excitement and record bids. Our target revenue for the auction items was $20,000 and Brett helped us raise just shy of $32,000.
But it wasn’t time to breathe a sigh of relief yet, there was the cause appeal which would make or break our event. During the previous year, our organization had a post-2008 record high cause appeal of $95,000. Brett helped us shatter that number. After the bid paddle flurry was over, we had raised over $168,000 during the cause appeal. What followed that evening and in the days ahead was equally amazing. No auctioneer complaints, only Board requests to bring Brett back next year…which is what we plan to do! I can’t thank Brett enough for making what is usually the most stressful part of a fundraising event, lively, engaging, and tremendously successful.
Nancy Heller, Abilis