Our annual fundraiser, re2020, is in two weeks, but the Board has been planning this event since January!
In the words of our Executive Director/Founder, Noel, “Planning an event always carries a degree of uncertainty. But during a pandemic, each day is a new day.”
Our annual fundraiser generally results in a third of our yearly revenue so it’s a BIG part of our board’s responsibility. There are normal challenges while planning an event, speed-bumps that you expect, tasks you dread but know are important. This year though… the challenges were completely unexpected. Given the unprecedented circumstances, I wanted to pick the brains of our Board/Event Chair, Baylor, and our Treasurer/ Auction Chair, Amy about what it was like planning a fundraiser during a pandemic.
The biggest challenge, they agreed, was the uncertainty. Baylor, who led the planning efforts, felt the pressure from needing to have a Plan A, B, C, and D. “…Changes were occurring literally every week…it was terrifying asking ourselves ‘what if’ all the time.”
The most important decision was whether to move forward with a hybrid event (both virtual and in-person) or go entirely virtual. The recommended guidelines from the state government and the CDC made it obvious to the board that a virtual event was the best way to ensure the safety of our supporters and staff. While it was a tough decision, Noel thinks it is the right one, “I applaud our board, a virtual event is very forward-thinking, perhaps the future of fundraising, and it’s exciting to be leading the pack.”
Amy originally had some apprehension about gathering auction items despite her positive experiences, “This year has been so hard on everyone, small businesses especially. We had doubts about asking for donations, even from those who have supported us so generously in the past. But our donors have come through beyond our expectations.”
The ever-changing landscape definitely made the event planning less fun, however, Baylor began to feel the excitement in September, “This experience is something I will never forget. The fun is starting to begin and I am looking forward to working with Fairfield Studios.” And he’s not the only one excited, Amy’s original anxiety has been replaced by an eagerness for our supporters to see all the excellent items in the auction.
She put it simply, “Y’all, it’s gonna be great.”
Noel and Baylor agreed, there are definite upsides to having a virtual event, mainly that there are no limits to the number of people we can connect with! “In the virtual arena, we are not limited by the number of people a venue can hold, or a location, or specific length of time.” That lack of limit is great news not only for our sponsors but for our mission. Our fundraiser is meant to raise funds, but also awareness, and a virtual-event provides a platform much wider and far-reaching than an in-person event. That’s what’s exciting to Noel, Baylor, and the entire board.
We know it’s different than we were planning back in January, but Baylor says it best, “with a creative and open mind, there is nothing you can’t achieve, convey, or communicate virtually – everything you could do at an in-person event can be done virtually.”
So, to see what our board has achieved with their collective open and creative minds, text re2020 to 76278 to get registered for updates, bidding has already started on just a small selection of the incredible items we have this year. Stay ready for more items to be released as we get closer and closer to re2020. Don’t forget to tune into our Facebook Live Event at 6:30 PM on the 15th!!