Day One Gala

Elevates Organization’s Mission on 20th Anniversary



  • Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Day One
  • Expand understanding of and engagement with the organization by key audiences
  • Leverage a milestone anniversary to increase fundraising


  • Event management
  • Fundraising strategy
  • Increased board participation and revenue generation through coaching and support
  • Narrative and messaging development and dynamic event tie-in


  • Exceeded fundraising goal with 37% increase over the previous year
  • Elevated board’s fundraising skills
  • Engaged audiences with nuanced narrative and messaging
  • Expanded stakeholder engagement

Day One works to bring into the open the realities of intimate partner violence and dating abuse to provide comprehensive education, therapy and legal support to young people, so they can live their best lives beyond violence in a world where love is safe. Prevention and intervention are its two pillars—a unique and highly effective combination of services that only Day One offers in New York. Its programs include:

  • Training social workers who are embedded in high schools
  • Individual and group counseling of young people
  • Centering and building up students as leaders in the anti-violence movement
  • Providing legal advocacy and services to end intimate partner violence and dating abuse to highschool students

Day One— a nonprofit organization that addresses intimate partner violence and dating abuse among New York City youth— has reached over 250,000 people, trained 2,500 professionals and dramatically increased awareness of the realities of dating violence.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Day One held its “Voices Against Violence Gala” at Capitale NYC. The Wakeman Agency first worked with Day One in 2005 to produce a small gala as the organization was beginning to amplify its mission in New York. Almost two decades later, Day One retained Wakeman to produce their 20th anniversary gala – their biggest and most successful fundraising event to date.

Highlighting the organization’s impressive history and impact over the space of a three-hour event was no small feat. We wanted to create an event experience that spoke to the realities of dating violence for young people while underscoring Day One’s long-standing commitment to education and safety.

The event included a reception, silent and live auction and award ceremony dinner.

As a strategic communications firm, we relied heavily on the narrative and messaging to communicate with the audience. We saw the event as an opportunity to both cultivate and strengthen relationships with attendees. This included:

  • Developing a series of powerful audio messages from Day One survivors and youth trainers who spoke to the transformative elements of the program
  • A highlight video reel of the evening’s festivities which was shared with guests at the program’s conclusion
  • Honoring the life of Tina Turner and her courageous life as a survivor
  • Visual timelines in the event reception space where people could congregate and reflect on meaningful moments
  • Crafting an event script to create an emotional connection with the audience

Beyond an elegant and traditional gala evening, The Wakeman Agency created an experience that offered greater understanding of the human impact and importance of Day One’s mission, and a deeper commitment to supporting the organization’s work.

The event experience was so powerful that people were moved to share their personal experiences, emphasizing the concrete presence of voices against violence filling the space.

The silent auction saw high engagement thanks to a diverse group of carefully curated items ranging from recreational experiences to coveted jewelry and apparel. The introduction of a brief live auction featuring luxury travel energized the audience leading to a record-breaking paddle raise. Participants particularly appreciated visual details such as the brightly colored individualized heart-shaped auction paddles, which complemented the tasteful vibrant floral arrangements tying the event design together.

Through coaching and administrative support by The Wakeman Agency team, the board members exhibited greater confidence in their fundraising efforts. We also worked closely with Day One’s leadership and development team to closely monitor fundraising outcomes. Using historical data from based fundraising events we were able to identify patterns in giving that allowed us to create monthly fundraising goals to build toward our event goal. This proved to be a highly successful tactic in understanding donor behaviors and opportunities as well as shared motivation among board members.

From long-standing stakeholders to new supporters, all felt it was a memorable and inspiring evening. The overall experience proved highly successful, as the event’s revenue increased by 37% over the previous year.

Through these interconnected pieces, each attendee became more keenly aware of Day One’s mission, growth and importance–and the participants’ motivation to provide sustained support was greatly impacted.

At The Wakeman Agency, we reflect on the Day One 20th anniversary gala, as it coincided with our own celebration of two decades of working toward systemic change through communications. Events like this one highlight the intricately related work of fundraising, effective event production and execution and the construction of compelling narratives to bring important causes alive in the minds of participants and funders. We look forward to continuing to stand behind the organizations and leaders who are driving social change—amplifying their missions and messages by creatively planning every detail of catalyzing events.

Schedule a confidential consultation to learn how our strategic communications offerings can elevate your organization’s impact.