The Fundraising Factory

You can dress me up but do I want to go out?

An annual major fundraising event can be a time when a non profit has a chance to turn attendees into donors and ambassadors for their organization.  I went to two of them last week.  Here’s what happened at one.

The first was a $150 a plate fundraising dinner.  Looking forward all week long to a great evening and a good meal I went shopping for a new dress.

Here’s the shakedown.  The evening  started with a cocktail hour and then a sit down meal.  I chose vegetarian.  It was average at best.  The keynote speaker presented during the meal.  Since I am a speaker at events like this I watched closely and in my book this is a BIG no no.  This causes people in the audience who are trying to eat to have to turn around in their chairs to see the speaker.  It’s uncomfortable for the guests AND it’s rude to the speaker to be honest.  Then, sadly the executive director missed the opportunity to speak passionately and with authenticity about the non profit.  Instead she told us she had adjusted well in her new position as it was her first full year on the job.  Ho hum

The icing on the cake?… and no pun intended here but get this…finally the tiny cupcake wrapped in cellophane that had been sitting on the table in front of me all evening to my astonishment was dessert!   It was donated by a discount wholesale food club and the E.D. thought it worthy enough to be mentioned aloud!  Good Lord who knows how long that thing had been sitting in a warehouse somewhere!

I can live with an average meal, however I would have liked to have been able to respectfully give my full attention to the speaker.  Most importantly,  I wished the ED inspired me to make an effort to become a serious donor.   Come on it was a fundraiser!  Lastly, and I am no snob but seriously  for 150 bucks I expect more than a twinkie.

You can dress me up AND you can take me out but unfortunately next year when this event comes around I’ll enjoy the best part; shopping for the new dress and just skip the rest.


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One Response to “You can dress me up but do I want to go out?”

  1. Jeanne Troy says:

    I agree with all you said and as a professional fundraiser for 15 plus years, it amazes me that the top honchos just don’t get it. The fundraiser is about the org not the ED and how long or not they have been in the job but about the services, program etc. A missed opportunity for sure and they will wonder why it did not raise money or increase donor base. Amazing! You would be doing the org a favor by sharing your thoughts so they can improve for next year.

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