Takes One to Know One: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
July 10, 2013
Naysayers, Roadblocks, and Ways Forward: Building Consensus Around Your Fundraising Plan
July 24, 2013

Puppy Dogs and Little Ballerinas

puppyHow to design the perfect event?  The one that will attract all your prospects?  The one people will be talking about for years to come?  Let me tell you, it’s not enough to have puppy dogs.  It’s not enough to have little ballerinas.

If you’re going to pull off the event to end all events, you’ll need little ballerinas dancing with the puppy dogs.

All joking aside, I’m sorry to report that there is no magic format for events.  People don’t really come because of the theme.  They come because people they know and like ask them to come.  Furthermore, what attracts one person may repel another.  We’re a pretty diverse bunch, we humans.

At Front Range Source, we offer a training called The Ungala: A workshop for people who want to move beyond the traditional chicken dinner.  It’s one of our most popular educational sessions.

We start the workshop with a little game.  We “invite” the participants to four different events and they have to choose only one.

Which would you choose?

  • Wine tasting! Julie and Joe invite you to join them at their home for a wine tasting to benefit the Green Building Fund.  Featuring a sommelier, select wines and wine auction.  A brief presentation by the Executive Director of this wonderful organization will inspire the bidding.  There is no ticket price, however we will be requesting donations during the evening.
  • Educational tour! The Green Building Fund invites you to spend a weekend afternoon touring the newest LEED Certified buildings in Adams and Jefferson Counties.  Our experts will take you behind the scenes of some of the latest technologies and innovations. Ticket price is $75.
  • A day at the solar races!  Be a part of the Green Building Fund’s third annual walk, run family race.  3K, 5K and 10K options.  Registration fees range from $10 – $50.  All ages welcome for this Sunday morning event.
  • Benefit concert! REM will provide a special benefit concert for the Green Building Fund’s Next Century Initiative. This special session is open only to Green Building Fund’s Millennium Club members which you can join with an annual gift of $1,000.

Every time we do this exercise the result is the same.  A near-even split between the four events.  People don’t all want to drink wine.  They don’t all want to meet a celebrity.  They don’t all love live music.  They don’t all want to participate in a family activity.  You can’t please everyone all the time.  Or even part of the time.

So, what to do?  Leslie wrote a detailed blog a few months back on planning an event from start to finish and our toolbox has a great tool called the “Ten Steps to the Ungala.”

The short answer is this: start with what you’ve got.  If you’ve got a board member who knows Lyle Lovett, put on a concert.  If you’ve got another board member who’s a wine afficianado, let them host a tasting.  If you’ve got amazing discoveries to share or insights to offer, hold an educational event.  And, yes, if you’ve got puppies and ballerinas, show them off!

You’ll get more engaged volunteers if they’re doing what they love to do and they’ll invite more people to something that they’ll genuinely enjoy themselves.

But don’t expect everyone to come.  Unless, of course, you’ve got Lyle Lovett dancing with puppies.  That might work.





1 Comment

  1. Lori Stott says:

    Nice! “Start with what you’ve got”–great advice.

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