Author: Peter Cantelon, Executive Director
Have you ever been invited to a wedding or birthday and found yourself in a circumstance where the best you could do is send a gift?
We’ve all been there to one degree or another and typically we don’t feel great about it. Sometimes life and circumstance get in the way and we cannot be everywhere at once.
Still, we feel bad because the events signify a connection with someone you have invested in and have, in return, been invested in through friendship. You want to be there as they celebrate these milestones because you understand there is value in being there.
Non-profit events are similar beasts. You have developed a relationship with one or more non-profits and social purpose organizations. Over the years you have watched and assisted through time, money and other resources, as the organization has worked to make your community, and the world, a better place.
Periodically non-profits will host various events from annual general meetings to fundraising dinners, golf tournaments, fashion shows and more.
On the surface it is often assumed that these are simply funnels for more financial investment in the form of donations. With this in mind people often excuse themselves from attending and send along a cheque as a proxy. Afterall isn’t the point of the event to raise money?
Not really. A well-run charitable event is no more about making money than a wedding reception. Sure, the bride and groom appreciate your contributions as does the charity in question but the real value is in showing up.
When you take the time to show up it sends a message that a simple donation simply can’t – you value and recognize the relationship that has developed. Such events are opportunities for non-profits to share the story of what they have been doing and communicate directly why it is so important.
Events are an opportunity to close the distance created in a transactional relationship and communicate, giving a heart and faces to the dollars you have contributed. They serve as a reminder to you about why you connected in the first place – something that can often be forgotten about over time.
We all know that people get busy. There should always be an expectation that we take care of ourselves and our needs first in order to maximize what we can do for others. This means sometimes you can’t be there.
But when you can, the importance of showing up, cannot be overstated. The next time you are invited to an event like Jubilee Fund’s Champagne Brunch or AGM, re-consider simply sending along a cheque, as helpful as that is. We want to see you. We want to talk to you and celebrate what we have done together.