A few weeks ago, a dear friend asked me if we’d like to attend a fundraising event being put on by her brother. He’s a super guy and is the manager of a local pharmacy. All the staff at his store decided to join in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. To raise money for the event, they held a fundraising dinner at a local pub. We bought tickets to the event and my friend, who has just started a business producing her own all natural beauty products donated items to their silent auction. I followed suit, and donated a coaching session on social media marketing for small business.
The event was brilliant! Over 80 people attended, over 30 silent auction items were donated (including one each from my friend and I) and there were over 25 door prizes. The energy in the room was incredible.
What struck me was that people were there mostly to have a good time and to socialize. Every single person there seemed to have someone else that they were cheering for. Good work is important, but it take good people, with good intentions to do that work.
It takes many hours to put together a fundraising event, especially when the people doing it aren’t fundraisers. But they were organized, energized, dedicated and sincerely committed to their work. Their passion was both effervescent and contagious. They use their personal leadership skills and collaborative teamwork to reach their goal. Personally, I much prefer fundraisers like that, where people are driven by their desire to come to together and fill a room with sincere enthusiasm, rather than those events where you stand around awkwardly with a glass of no-name chardonnay in one hand while you try to avoid noticing the cubes of cheese that are silently sweating on the plate in your other hand.
You don’t have to put on a big gala to raise money. A small group of people who are wildly enthusiastic, mobilized and organized can work wonders in garnering support of all kinds for their work.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.