This week I attended a fundraiser breakfast for Cornerstone. It’s been a while since I’ve been to one. Probably since my days in the Junior League. I believe it’s important to find organizations you want to donate your time and money to and this was a great opportunity to do that. Here are seven things I gained from attending a fundraiser.
Breakfast consisted yogurt with your choice of toppings such as granola and fresh fruit. They also had muffins, OJ, and coffee. It was held at the Metropolitan Ballroom which is a stunning facility.
Tables were assigned seating. Many were sponsored by companies where groups of employees attended together. Others were based on people who pledged to be table captains and their guests.
The event included many speakers. At the end of the event the chairperson spoke and made an appeal to get people to donate money to the organization.
I went because my husband Carter was speaking at it. Also, because it’s an organization that we volunteer at every year at their Holiday Shop (formerly Santa Shop). You can read about our volunteer experience.
A breakfast fundraiser is nice because you don’t have to get all dressed up. Which meant I didn’t have to buy a fancy dress to attend. I could wear my normal clothes. Well, actually a little nicer than my normal clothes since working from home means I’m in sweats most of the time. So yeah, I did throw on a bra. And clothesAnd I wore something other than Crocs.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for buying a fancy dress. Having to buy a dress for a fundraiser can put a lot of pressure on you. Especially if you don’t love shopping, which I don’t. Sometimes a fundraiser can cost so much just to attend. It’s nice to just be able to go as you are. And it’s a great way to start your morning, even if I had to get up several hours before the Price is Right started.
The point of the fundraiser is to raise money for Cornerstone. So you know going in they’re going to be asking for a donation. But they’re also going to show you real life examples of how the money is spent and who is benefiting from it. Now for the seven things I gained from attending a fundraiser.
Hear my husband speak. Sure I’ve seen him speak a bunch of times. But this was in front of 400+ people.I try to go to most of his talks so he can get Toastmasters credit. If you’re not familiar, in Toastmasters we work on different communication and leadership manuals. Our motto is ‘no free speeches’ so you should try to get credit in a manual for every speech you give, whether it be in a Toastmasters meeting, at work, or in the community. Another Toastmaster must witness your speech to get credit for it. Thus, I try to attend as many as I can so he gets credit. And really, who doesn’t love to judge their spouse?! I’m doing it all the time anyway so I might as well make sure he gets credit for it. Win win.
Hear motivational stories. In addition to hearing my husband speak, I got to hear the Executive Director as well as several domestic abuse and sexual assault and human trafficking survivors talk. It took a lot of courage and bravery for these women to get up and tell their stories. Especially, stories that were still unfolding and being written. The system doesn’t make it easy for domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors. I’ve heard judges deny cases because they don’t think a person is a good enough victim. Whaaaat?! How can they heal when you won’t even try to prosecute their perpetrator?! Sorry, I have strong feelings about how my county treats survivors. Anyway, I love hearing motivational stories. It always makes me feeling empowered, even if I shed a few tears (ok lots of tears) while hearing the stories.
Meet people. The fundraiser was a chance to meet people that Carter has told me about. For instance, the Executive Director of the organization. I also got to meet one of the advocates he works closely with. It’s nice to put a name to a face, especially since I’ve heard so much about these women. And because they do such important work in the community Plus, since he’ll be working with the board now, I’m sure I’ll hear a lot more about them and what they’re doing..
I got to meet a woman whose parents owned the car dealership that my father-in-law worked at for forever. It was cool because she knew Carter and his parent long before we knew each other, which is weird because we’ve been together since we were 16. It was incredible to meet someone that new him so well at such a young age.
Learn new things. Going to a fundraiser is a great way to learn about all the great things going on in your community. You get to hear and see what the organization is doing in your community. And you get to hear how it’s impacting people. Sure I’ve been volunteering with this organization for a while. And I get their newsletter every month. But that doesn’t mean I know everything they have going on. So it’s great for me to hear all the things they are doing to help domestic assault and human trafficking survivors.
See old friends. The fundraiser gave me an opportunity to see people that I only see occasionally. For instance, there were friends we went to high school with that we maybe only see at the annual croquet tournament our friends have. It was nice to see them in a different setting where we’re not all super competitive and giving each other shit.
Feel part of something bigger. Going to a fundraiser puts you in contact with others who want to do great things. You get to meet others who are passionate about helping others. Meeting people who care deeply about the same things you do is a great way to feel part of something bigger. Working from home can make me feel isolated at times. Don’t get me wrong, I love not having to leave the house. But I also can feel really detached at times. So it’s nice to have a reason to get out of the house and do something fun. Plus it connects me to others that want to help survivors of domestic assault and human trafficking. We can do more together than we can individually.
Unexpected surprises. Seating for the event was done by company or by people that volunteered to be table captains. Carter and I got seated at one of the corporate tables up front. All the people at our table were really nice. We talked a little bit but not much. After the event, while Carter was answering questions from people who had come up to talk to hime, one of the men asked if I’d like tickets to the Minnesota Twins game. He said they were really good seats and he couldn’t use them. My first reaction was to say ‘no’ because it was Wednesday night and that’s my Joke Joint night. But like he said, they were really good seats so I took them. They’re right behind home plate! When will we ever get tickets that good again?!
Fundraisers are a vital part of non-profit organizations. Many of them survive on donations. They are a great way for people to learn what the organization does and how they can contribute. They’re great for showing you how your money will be spent and who it will benefit. And if you’re lucky, a fundraiser will have some unexpected surprises! Go Twins!
When was the last time you went to a fundraiser? What was it like?