OICA Press Release
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is the winner of a national award for Virtual Presentations for its 2020 Heroes Ball, OICA’s annual awards and fundraising banquet.
The COVID-19 pandemic canceled countless events during 2020, including many nonprofit organizations’ fundraising events. As these cancellations reached epidemic proportions, OICA’s Board of Directors and staff realized their own annual event – the Heroes Ball – was at risk.
The Heroes Ball normally hosts about 400 child advocates, state leaders, and award honorees in a traditional banquet hall. Proceeds from the event comprise almost one-quarter of OICA’s annual budget for child advocacy. The challenge was to find a way to properly honor the state’s outstanding child advocates and generate the revenue from the event on which the organization depends.
“Had we been forced to cancel the Heroes Ball, not only would our advocacy efforts be put at risk, OICA’s entire existence would have become uncertain,” said Joe Dorman, OICA chief executive officer. “The show, as they say, had to go on, even if it had to go on in a different way than we had ever done it before.”
The decision was made to make the event virtual, in essence, an online awards show and presentation. As the event was slated for July 31, it was among the first such award presentations to adopt the virtual format.
“We were breaking new ground,” said Mitchell Rozin, OICA’s 2020 Board President. “Not only were we designing a new way to honor our state’s outstanding child advocates, but we had to do it on an extraordinarily compressed schedule. We had to pivot from planning our traditional in-person event to thinking outside the box on how to present the event virtually and doing it all on the fly.”
The event was broadcast on Zoom from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (which was the planned site for the original, live event). using their in-house Audio/Visual crew with pre-recorded speeches and spliced in live with hosts and an auction. In addition, the organization provided banquet meals through a sponsorship from Postmates to do $25 gift cards to attendees who chose a meal option. Not only did the Heroes Ball maintain all their previous sponsor from the previous year’s event, the revenue and ticket sales exceeded the past year’s totals.
The effort did not escape national notice. Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc. is a leader in training for professionals in corporate communications, public relations, social media, and management. Ragan also sponsors a series of public relations awards, including its Video, Visual & Virtual Awards, or “V3.”
In the category of “Virtual Presentation,” OICA’s Virtual Heroes Ball won Ragan’s V3 award for Best Virtual Presentation.
OICA joins a host of winners in other categories that include national brands such as Microsoft, IT provider Citrix, Johns Manville, University of California Davis Health, and The Kroger Co. grocery chain. Organizations receiving honorable mention in OICA’s category include ReSource Pro for its U.S. team meeting; ServiceNow, a Silicon Valley IT workflow company that was a winner in several other categories; and Superior Essex, a communications technology company.
“We are very proud of our staff and their hard work in making the 2020 Virtual Heroes Ball such a great success,” said Bruce Schultz, 2021 OICA Board President. “Not only are they charged with executing an aggressive advocacy plan, but we also ask them to develop the program to fund the efforts. This award is evidence of the team’s dedication to Oklahoma’s children, and the entire Board of Directors is proud of their work.”
Dorman noted the event was a team effort, which was recognized by Ragan’s “V3” award committee. The award presentation extended congratulations to Dorman; Peyton Stacy, OICA Director of Policy & Grant Administration; Jay Gumm, OICA Director of Communications and Public Relations; Miranda Hines, OICA Program Director; and Fundraising Consultant Sarah Baker; and previous staff and interns who were on the team at the time of this event.
“We have a great team in place,” Dorman concluded. “These are the right people to continue fighting for Oklahoma’s children, and I am proud of each of them and the tremendous work they do.”
About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”