Archive for May 2nd, 2007

A Master’s-Level Class In Crowd And Clock Management

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

What do weddings and fund-raisers usually have in common? Typically, the persons in charge are have absolutely no experience whatever at planning such an event. They are first-timers.

So it was both a joy and an education this past weekend to be at a fund-raising event run by an organization which has amended their constitution to include the following officers: president-elect and past-president. This guarantees continuity and experience for their annual charity ball.

The president-elect has a full year of dealing with committees, venues, and donors before assuming the reins herself. Meanwhile, the lady in charge (this year’s president) can call upon last year’s edition (the past president) for her advice. With so much combined experience, the resulting evening smoothly stuffed about six hours worth of activities into their 4-hour event.

Cocktails were cleverly held in the Silent Auction area, affording guests the opportunity to peruse the many donated items and start the bidding early (which tends to raise the final prices.) The six Live Auction items were sold – 2 at a time – after the salads, entrees, and desserts were set at each table. Prior to their auctions, small items (an AKC-registered puppy, a diamond bracelet) were taken table-to-table by volunteers, so everyone could “ooh” and “ahh” up close. Finally, door prizes and the big raffle winner were announced during the band intermission at 11:00.

In this way, between 8PM and midnight, without anyone feeling either rushed or bored, a stunningly successful combination of fun and fund-raising took place. When I complimented the president on her amazingly organized evening, she shared with me the secret: continuity of key players. Her 50-year old organization learned over the decades that perfect parties don’t just happen – they take teamwork. So they made the necessary changes in their officer structure to ensure that their one big night of fund-raising is both enjoyable and profitable.

I was awed, and that doesn’t happen often. And just think – by her third wedding, brides will have this same kind of party-planning experience!