The Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) star-studded fundraising gala dinner, an annual fixture for London’s top hedge fund managers and celebrities which raises all of the charity's funding in a single night, will not take place this year as ARK moves to a more intimate strategy to engage donors.
The ARK (www.arkonline.org) gala dinner, which began in 2002, had cost as much as £10,000 a ticket, raised £14.5m last year, slightly down on £17.2m in 2011. But this year, the charity has decided not to hold the dinner as it moves to smaller events to meet the demands of donors who want to engage more personally with charities.
Lesley Smith, ARK spokeswoman, said: “We have grown as an organisation and it is very difficult to tell our donors the breadth of what we do in one single night. The dinner was a great ‘big bang’ event, but didn’t allow for the kind of conversations our donors want with the charities they support. Our supporters now want to know more about the detail and impact of what we do and smaller events will allow them to discover that.”
The charity had hosted a champagne reception in January attended by London Mayor Boris Johnson and plans similar events going forward. The charity may hold another gala dinner in the future..
ARK an international organisation whose purpose is to transform children's lives was set up by Arpad Busson, who founded hedge fund investor EIM in the 1990s. It delivers high social returns on its philanthropy, leveraging intellectual, financial and political investment. Headquartered in the UK and our work focuses on health, education and child protection around the globe.
In the last 10 years ARK has raised £180m and more than 430,000 children have benefitted from its programmes that focus on education, health and child protection . Its fundraising gala dinners have attracted world leaders and royalty including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and The Duke and Duchess of York.