Non-Profit Gala Case Study

July 24, 2021 Synergetic Case Study

Ronald McDonald 45th Anniversary Reception


The Ronald McDonald House is a non-profit organization that helps create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and wellness of children who are facing serious medical illnesses or injuries. To celebrate stories of comfort and hope, the Ronald McDonald Philadelphia House celebrated their 45th Anniversary with a in-person reception for surviving children, family members, and board members.

T H E   C H A L L E N G E S

This event is only held every 5 years, so there is not much prior knowledge or experience to compare from the years prior.

They also selected a large indoor youth tennis court as their venue for the reception, this proposed many obstacles including,

  • Limited load-in and set-up times
  • Challenging spatial layout
  • No air conditioning
  • Not enough existing power infrastructure to support the program
  • Limited venue space to support both the guest tables and stage
  • Not enough distance for projection to screen
  • Creating a space that looked upscale, but different from any of their previous anniversary events
  • Limited sight lines



T H E   S O L U T I O N

To combat each obstacle, we needed to think outside of the normal way of planning to execute this unique type of reception.

  • With limed load-in and set-up times, staffing properly was paramount. We secured the proper, skillful technicians at staggered times so milestones for rehearsals could be met.
  • The layout was challenging due to the skywalk in the middle of the venue. This allowed for a cocktail space on one side of the skywalk that looked completely different then the event side of the skywalk. In order to keep them separate, each space was divided by walls of pipe and drape.
  • Having no AC available meant the doors had to be kept open, and large industrial fans were running constantly. This posed problems with the audio and temperature. We staffed someone at the fan controls to be able to turn certain ones on when programming wasn’t happening to keep airflow circulating and guests comfortable.
  • Power had to be brought in via multiple generators and distributed both inside for production, as well as outside for the catering tent since the venue had no internal kitchen.
  • The space was just big enough to fit the guests and tables, but still be able to provide a large enough stage. We utilized what is called a runway or ego stage. There was an upstage and downstage area connected by a runway stage in the middle. This made the stage feel grander and more like one you would see at an award ceremony. However, this also proposed some technical issues with stairs and main podium being positioned in front of the PA.  We utilized a specialty microphone to accommodate the podium to overcome this obstacle. We used special, low profile stair rails so they would not be an obstruction or eye sore. These stairs also provided backstage accessibility to enter the stage from behind the curtain.
  • The two ultra large dually blended 40’ wide rear-projection screens had only 25’ from the wall. Because of their size, we only had the very minimum depth needed to blend them properly. Utilizing the proper lenses and an excellent projectionist and video technician was integral in our ability to create the two 40’ wide screens with ultra-short throw right angle lenses.
  • Due to the space constraints and limited sight lines, we had to utilize large TVs and timers on the skywalk to be able to cue and prompt the people on stage.  We also used mounted Go Pros in the venue so the backstage producers and next-up presenters could still watch the show unfold.
  • Our client wanted something that was grand in scale and would look different than anything they’d done before. They wanted to create a certain type of atmosphere, so we got creative with the stage layout, lighting throughout the entire space, and eye-catching, textured backdrops.


T H E   R E S U L T

Our creativity and solutions to overcoming the venue’s obstacles ensured we were able to turn the bland tennis center into a high-profile gala venue. We solidified our relationship with the main point of contact for the organization. Future 2020 and 2021 events are in the planning process with volunteer opportunities as well.




Synergetic has been our preferred production services at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia Region for several years.  They have collaborated with us on many successful fundraising events, including our Plane Pull, Hit ‘Em for the House Golf Outing, Premiere Corporate Partner Breakfast, Grand Opening of our new Jill and Alan B. Miller Tower, as well as last year’s 45th Anniversary Gala which raised $1.2 million to support the families of serious ill children.  Jason Weldon and his incredible team are passionate about what they do and it is proven with every level of service they provide.  Our organization looks forward to many more unique events with our partnership with Synergetic.

RMHC Philadelphia Region

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