Creating inspired themes for an annual fundraising event to promote seafood industry research.

The Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) is a non-profit organization working at the intersection of science and business. They award grants to individuals and institutions to conduct forward-thinking research in an effort to advance the seafood industry. Since 2013, they have sponsored an annual gala event to raise money for their research goals and grants. D2 has had the privelege of creating memorable event themes, invitations, and other event collateral for the past seven years.

The theme

The benefit soirée is held in a different location every year in mid January and the theme centers around the event location. Invitations are delivered to invitees between Thanksgiving and the holidays and include a themed gift.

We start by exploring different gift options within the budget limitations then build an experience around a central theme. Whether it's a custom 3D-printed globe with the logo suspended in the middle or a box of chocolates, our interpretations are a little “out of the box.”

The 2019 event in San Diego was hosted near the naval air base on Coronado Island. The theme was “Top Gun” and the gift was a pair of imprinted aviator sunglasses. Attendees had fun wearing aviators and taking snaps for social media to share the experience. People feel more comfortable donating when they are engaged and enjoying themselves.

The experience

A well-executed theme is only part of the equation for the occasion. The fundamental purpose of these events is to raise money. There are strategies to help ease the donation process. For the 2020 event in Orlando, the theme was “We're putting skin in the game.” Each guest's table setting included a real fish-skin wallet with a donation pledge card, a pen, with a fish bowl in the center of the tables to conveniently drop your donation card. A few simple cues and donations were up 25% from the previous year.

By making it easier to donate, we realized a jump of 25% over the previous year.

Jenni DavisMarketing Coordinator, Sea Port Products

The history

2018 - "Sirf's Up!" - Miami, FL
2017 - "A night under the stars" - San Francisco, CA
2016 - "A global perspective" - Miami, FL

We continue to support the efforts of SIRF. With their help, maybe we can ensure safe, sustainable aquaculture for our generation and generations that follow us.