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So beloved yet so reviled…

So expensive yet so rewarding…

So much focus on quid pro quo asking (who will buy a table?) – yet so great an opportunity to make your case…

How can we get the most out of the extraordinary energy required to put on a gala? 

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Posted on in Fundraising

The gavel comes down – on every auction-organizer’s nightmare.

An exclusive back-stage tour of Hamilton is going for $500 – and the donor is going to be mad.

Expecting it would raise at least $5,000, the donor is sitting in the back of the room wondering why this jewel, which is clearly worth so much more, is going for so low a price.

The answer is a mismatch between the item and the people in the room. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

25 sign-up sheets, scattered across the room with pens hanging alongside.

Enticing descriptive paragraphs, promising hobbyist skills, relaxing get-a-ways, youthful skin.

Attractive photos, artfully-displayed items, jewelry draped across satin backdrops, gift certificates mounted alluringly on the wall.

And each sign-up sheet with only one bid scrawled across the clipboard.

What’s wrong with this picture? And how come it gets repeated time and time again? 


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Posted on in Fundraising

An article in the Wealth Matters column of the NY Times this past weekend quoted Cause Effective Executive Director Judy Levine on the difficulties inherent in collaborative fundraising events.

[An] event needs to leave donors focused on your cause so they really want to know more,” advised Ms. Levine. But that’s difficult enough when an event springs from one nonprofit alone; it’s almost impossible when there are two – or more – causes competing for donors’ attention. 


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Posted on in Fundraising

Nonprofits all over town are forming post-gala cultivation plans.

The lucky ones have tons of information from their board members about attendees: whose child loves science… who had a formative experience with youth sports in their past… whose mother pushed them into after-school piano lessons, teaching them discipline that followed them into adulthood…

The rest of us have bits and pieces of intelligence gathered from random donor conversations.

Regardless, it’s time to create follow-up plans for attendees we have some reason to think might be receptive.

And the greatest relationship-opener of all? Asking for advice.


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