‘Plus One’: 20s at The Guild

Consulting Project
Experiential Concept
October - December 2023

How can ‘The Guild’ be used to connect young adults through charity?

The Guild Theater, a nonprofit concert venue established in Menlo Park in 1941, was looking for ways to become a central pillar of the community known for giving back and doing good. I worked alongside three other Stanford students to design ‘Plus One: 20s at the Guild’, an event series where postgraduates can come together, be paired with a stranger, and enjoy a live show. Each event’s cover and drink fee would be donated to a different charity, and would attract a younger crowd to the space than the Guild had historically seen. This also serves as a low-barrier means for getting young people involved in philanthropy.


  • Needfinding Interviews
  • Procreate
  • Video Editing
  • Prototyping



  • Conducted 15 needfinding interviews asking South Bay residents ages 19-55 about their experience with the Guild Theater
  • Most young people had never heard of the Guild, and those who had said the shows felt inaccessible because they were too expensive
  • Young people were unlikely to go out to Guild concerts in downtown Menlo Park due to the lack of night life for young people in the area
  • Parents echoed that they would go to the Guild if they had someone to look after their children

“If the goal is to make the Guild a place of community do-gooding, partner with niches. Target specific populations with tickets, and make them feel special, not called out.”

- Katie Pieschala (Stanford ‘24)

Target Audience



  • Significant amount of post-graduates in Silicon Valley are working in large tech companies like Meta, Google, and Tesla
  • Remote workers struggle to find community when moving to a new area, mostly resort to dating apps
  • Many experiences in the area are catered toward parents and children, while there is a need for young community in the area

“If I didn’t have family in the area, I probably would have gone on dating apps to make friends, to be honest.”

- Phillip Tran (Stanford ‘23)


Parents and Children

  • Feels like the “safe” option, as there are a significant amount of wealthy parents in the area
  • Parents in the area likely have higher income and are more likely to donate to the Guild Theater

Moving Forward

We decided to focus on designing for post-graduates in their twenties because we saw more need within the area. Rather than entering a saturated field of family-based events, we felt that part of “doing good” with the Guild meant bringing in communities that wouldn’t otherwise have access to the space.  In our interviews, we found a growing anxiety around college students and new post-grads around not finding friends when moving from a familiar, structured community into the working world. 



How might we encourage somebody to talk to a stranger? 

  • Went to a popular on-campus trivia night to try and incentivize teams co-mingling
  • Offered to draw a portrait of anybody who found a member of another team with some thing in common (i.e. star sign)
  • Handed out flyers to 6 trivia teams of ~5 people


  • Only two participants tried to meet people on other teams, and were unsuccessful in finding somebody with the commonality
  • “Group-think”: often, either the entire group would buy into the experiment, or the entire group would stare blankly as I explained


  • Rigidly group-structured events like trivia may attract a large group, but makes it difficult to encourage socialization
  • To build community, it’s important that all people entering a space “buy-in” and want to participate for optimal output


Which communications channels do young adults find most compelling?

  • Most people in the needfinding interviews had never heard of The Guild Theater
  • The Guild’s primary advertising channel is their email newsletter, and we wanted to test this against other ad methods to see what the target demographic prefered
  • Presented post-graduates with three channel prototyped: a paper flyer, email, and Instagram ad 


  • Young adults were more likely to find out about a local event on an Instagram ad than as a flyer or email
  • Generally enjoyed tear-away flyers over flay flyers, felt it was more memorable to keep a physical memento from something


  • For a post-grad centered event, the Guild would need to expand its marketing to be more social media-heavy
  • If advertising on company campuses, do so using tearaway flyers so potential patrons have a physical token to remember the event by

Final Pitch

Plus One: 20s at the Guild

Come alone. Leave connected.

  • A monthly themed, philanthropic concert for post-graduates in their 20s to come together and form community
  • Profits of each “Plus One” night go to a “charity of the night”, which rotates every month
  • Patrons pay a $5 cover fee to get into the event, and are given a colored wristband upon entering
  • During a “cocktail hour” before the show starts, people are told to find somebody in the same colored wristband as them to receive a discount on their first drink
  • Younger people are encouraged to participate in philanthropy on a small scale, while also being welcomed into a previously exclusive space, building the Guild Theater’s reputation as a pillar of the community


  • Connect with dating apps like “Thursday” to sponsored certain plus-one nights and hire higher-demand performers
  • Form partnerships with local companies bringing in new cohorts to sponsor Plus One nights, providing a social hub for new hires

Stanford, California