Monday, November 19, 2012
But I've had a fair few prods to the posterior to get back into it, so here I am. And not a moment too soon...
Today's post is directed at benefit event planners, some of whom seem to miss the fact that benefit attendees are giving generously and non obligatorily to their charity. Donors do so because they want to support a given charity but it's an added bonus if they get to enjoy a night out. If they have fun they will come back next time and bring friends. If they do not have fun they will not return, and they will tell friends that the 'do is a don't.
A key to keeping the party buzzing is to avoid devoting any portion of the evening to "educating" the public on your mission if it requires the party to stop. The supporters are already there. They've ponied up for the ticket price, so consider them hooked. Don't pry them away from the bar or their convivial conversation. They will come back next year if they've had a good time. They will not come back if they've had to endure horrors like these, all true, all endured by Grace at recent charity functions:
--At a Hospital benefit, a video was shown detailing the intricacies of bowel disease as dinner was served. Bon appetit!
--At a benefit for a social service agency, a religious leader shared a long story about how the organization helped a family take their grandmother off life support and stayed in the room with them as she died. Seriously, a tale of pulling the plug on Nana. Cheers!
--At another charity 'do, the honoree, who was told he had three minutes to speak, pounded the podium and forcefully asserted strong, polarizing views on the politics of the Middle East who should and shouldn't be allowed to have nuclear weaponry--which he rather archaically called "The Atom Bomb."
--An emcee scolded the audience for continuing dinner conversation while an appallingly bad youth band played in the background.
So cash the checks, write sincere and prompt thank you letters, and strategically and selectively schedule meetings with new donors so you can encourage long term interest and sustained support. Do not preach, lecture, upbraid, offend, or disgust them while they are supposed to be enjoying your hospitality in celebration of your organization.
Posted by Social Grace at 4:27 PM