Society’s Role in the Fundraising Gala

Catching-up with last week’s Sunday New York Times this morning and came across the Evening Hours page by Bill Cunningham. The column is a series of numbered pictures with captions identifying the individuals pictured and then a brief narrative about the charity being supported. Captured in the synopsis is the date of the event, location, number of guests and amount of money raised.

I interpret the column to be a combination of photo-journalism and society Facebook. I think it is tremendous that Mr. Cunningham provides coverage as there are many worthy causes. I also know that the presence of well know individuals is a way to draw readership for the NY Times and attention for the nonprofit organization.

What I wonder is why do we not see the same column for the people who volunteer? Why not highlight those who have given time, expertise or supported at a lower giving level but a meaningful percentage of their income? The fact that those who met a minimum giving requirement, dressed in appropriate attire, and secured an invitation are captured for visual presentation is a forum for a column. I am skeptical that everyone who attends truly understands the work the cause is addressing. Experience at other gala events would suggest that some guests are just there for the party. The narrative of what happens daily at these tremendous organizations would be a great hyperlink from this column. Use society and social standing to get my attention and then allow me to learn more. Get me to the organization’s website, tap me into the opportunities to support, provide a link for more information.

How are you optimizing media coverage to draw in new supporters?

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