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Community, Galas and the Coronavirus?

As we spiral more and more downward toward a society of isolation, I can’t help but wonder what is next. Over the past few years, we have seen mothers searching for their “villageand communities looking for their “tribe.” People are finding their identities in political parties. Everyone seems so torn apart, lost, and lonely. Over the past few weeks, a virus has swept the world and put a freeze on community gatherings. This has me thinking: What now? If we stop uniting in spaces of common belief, what will that look like? Will we become fearful of each other? We will be able to join like minds together to help with the world’s needs? Will the isolation stamp out the last bit of unity we have left?

In the fundraising world, I loved looking forward to the galas. Once I had an emcee introduce an event by saying it was like a spa day at the gala, because for the first time in weeks she knew she was in a place where everyone was there for the same goal! Everyone agreed, smiling as they took a breath and relaxed in a safe common space. At that gala we were working to help the sick and elderly in New York City homes get care. Everyone in the room was able to unify for a paddle raise and create a fund mission moment where we could all really come together. I am also reminded of the time I was told during an AFP conference that “all nonprofits started the same way; at a kitchen table, likeminded people gathered and agreed that something had to be fixed about the thing they cared about, and so they formed a group to spread the message and find the aid.”

So here we are today. Gala number 7 has been postponed/canceled, and we are starting to feel a heavy depression. How will these communities of needed do-gooders find their common space? How will their souls feel fulfilled? How will we get the funds to fix the problems? How will our community grow?

There are many views of galas. One is that its all about the money; another is that its all about new donors. For me, it’s something more. It’s a type of magic that our society needs. It’s a place of safe community where you can believe whatever it is you believe and spread its real message to your friends and colleagues. It’s a space where you can show up and put your hand up in support. It’s a place of optimism and hope. It’s community and growth. We talk about the mission and unify within it. At Inspire Hearts, we love missionfunding programs to their core during the galas, because that is why we are there. Not to spread people out, not to put people down, not to pit them against each other but, in fact, to do the opposite of all of that: unite in a common theme of belief.

So what happens if your gala is lost this year during a freeze of isolation? What is that doing to our community? Then there’s a much bigger question for me: What will be left if we dont have our tribe, village, community, or gala to look forward to? What will happen if we dont unite to do good? Whats next then?

View our COVID-19 Nonprofit Events Resource https://inspireheartsfundraising.com/2020/03/12/covid-19-nonprofit-events-resource/

-Erin Ward

Fundraising Ambassador, Benefit Auctioneer, Event Strategist

@galaauctioneer

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