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EVENT PLANNING 101: When hosting a fundraiser event, make sure your organization feels welcomed, important, and catered to in every way, from start to finish.

When UNLV hosted their Athletics Department fundraiser at Eureka Casino Resort, the Eureka asked me to produce the entire event.

Transform a freeway billboard on the way into town to welcome UNLV – check!

New landscaping and décor at the hotel and poolside welcome cocktail party to match the university’s colors – check!

Creation of a UNLV athletic memorabilia museum – check!

As the President of the university, the athletic director, coaches, staff and over 150 donors gathered for dinner, the UNLV Cheer and dance team kicked off the evening with the fight song, followed by highlight videos of each sport playing on a larger-than-life screen in between the meal’s courses.

The meal – it was amazing, by the way – was served in beautiful choreographed fashion, served by wait staff who wore white “Hey Reb” faux mustaches to show UNLV school spirit!

After a quick set change, the night continued with a UNLV coaches roundtable, highlighting the successes and challenges that each program faces.

Bring in a celebrity guest speaker – in this case Vegas’ own Andre Agassi – to wow the attendees – check!

Agassi was inspiring, recounting how he dropped out of high school in the ninth grade, to pursue his tennis dreams, but how he always valued the importance of education and loved seeing the passion of all coaches and donors in attendance.

The evening was capped off with live music by a renowned guitarist in Seasons Ultra Lounge, where guests were served coffee, cordials, and flaming desserts! After a few cocktails, a bit of socializing, and a little dancing, everyone headed to their rooms. The hotel staff had completed turn-down service that included all the information the guests needed for the big day upcoming.

Plan a golf tournament at a world-class course – in this case, Conestoga Golf Club – and paint the turf on the driving range and the 18th green with an oversized UNLV logo – check!

Who won was unimportant. Players were “wowed” by the experience, which included basketball, football, volleyball, and soccer student athletes at tee boxes throughout the course. The donors enjoyed engaging with these athletes in a unique way and everyone left happy!

The event couldn’t have gone any better; even though I’m a Utah girl, I’m allowed to have some UNLV spirit.