My wife and I attended a statewide event planned by a team of staff and volunteers. It was a fundraiser serving the added purpose of recognizing the efforts of volunteers from throughout the state who had hosted fundraising events in their own communities during the preceding year.
At our table was a couple, longtime volunteers for their local event, accompanied by their teenage daughter. Both husband and wife had been chairpersons for their local event committee in past years, but they were there because of their daughter’s achievements.
Helping Mom and Dad plan and hold events from the time she could walk and talk, this young woman had grown up a volunteer for the organization. She had just chaired her first major auction fundraising event and was to receive an award. She was being honored not because she was so young, but because the event she chaired had met high standards and achieved fundraising goals that topped several categories of fundraising in statewide competition with nearly one hundred other events held in the state by more than 70 event committees that year. The committees had raised more than $1 million in the state, which fed into the national parent organization’s mission-related work.
The young woman’s parents were bursting with pride. She was very excited and told us how much she enjoyed being a volunteer and helping the cause. She was about to go off to college where she wanted to host an event on campus to fund-raise for the national organization.
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Efforts by volunteers and staff in planning and holding a fundraising event can be a lot of fun and offer huge advantages to the host organization. Media exposure, attendance by personalities, and the prospect of an event becoming the “must-attend” affair on everyone’s social calendar are enticing to host organizations’ leadership.
For volunteers, lifelong friends are made in the course of planning and holding events. For some members of host organizations, being a volunteer becomes part of how they are seen in the community and how they see themselves helping promote a cause. They take action to make social or environmental change through their work on events that fund a mission.
Volunteerism is often passed on to relatives and children. For many volunteers, working on events truly is a family affair.
Excerpted and adapted from the book, Money for the Cause: A Complete Guide to Event Fundraising by Rudolph Rosen. Texas A&M University Press.
(c) Rudolph A. Rosen, 2011