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Fundraising in an Election Year (2020)

It is a year of history.   At a gala recently the emcee announced she felt like she was the most relaxed she had been in months. “It is so refreshing to be in a room full of people that care about the same thing at the same time.  Here we all are together caring for this organization and coming together, I feel like I’m in a spa”

How many of us will be up against those challenges in the next year?   Organizations that depend on their donors support will need to vie against political donations as well as emotional decisions.  Scarier yet is the massive transfer of wealth that is happening and the children of major donors are making the decisions of where the money will be going.  This decision this year may cause giant waves. Families across the country are preparing to sit down for holiday meals. In my family that means our therapists are scheduled for the week before and the week after. It also means I will be in yoga and meditating a lot and wondering if I will taste the turkey through the mouthful of blood from biting my tongue.  Yet how does that affect our donors? Our gala guests? Our support? 

After every gala we do we make time to debrief from the gala and plan for the future, yet the 2020 gala seems different in so many ways.  When we first realized we were approaching the 2020 season we were so excited for the amount of roaring 20s gala but now we are holding our breaths as if the 1920’s will actually repeat themselves and leave a scary 2030.  

My best advice to ALL NONPROFITS is to stay true to who you are.  Your guest’s love you and a sense of community and belonging is important.  If you are a donor, then know how important your support is now more than ever.  Please attempt to leave politics at the door and bring humanity in. As an auctioneer, emcee and stage fundraiser it is important to practice togetherness. EVERY speech needs to be vetted (no ti raids) and every person should know your mission inside and out.  

Let’s face it, as the world evolves (specially NYers) we are lonelier and lonelier.  We are all looking for our tribe and this election season we instead are clearly defining our enemies vs our friends.  I have never used my unfriend button so much in my life but now it is a way of keeping safe. I need to protect my heart and stay true to my drive and my mission.  

As you approach your galas this year look closely at EVERY single person and thing involved and make sure they fit your message and your mission.  It has never been so important to show unity in your organization and cohesion in your gala. Show your strength and show your impact. Your donors believe in you so make them proud.  (****this includes emcees, auctioneers, venues, food, thank you’s, etc)

Happy Fundraising!

Erin

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