Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fundraisers: The New Night Out

In the past year or so, I've been invited to, heard of, and/or attended charitable funraising functions that centered around the following acts of entertainment:

-beef 'n beer
-comedy shows
-famous speakers
-sporting events

And that's just a list off the top of my head.

It's becoming quite apparent that the average "night out" is moving away from a casual, loosely planned night out with friends, to an evening arranged well in advance with detailed activities and lots of people gathering to support the same cause. This is a direct result of more involved non-profit marketing, as well as a desire for people to feel a part of something, but also a way to change things up a little bit from the norm.

So for example, instead of making last minute arrangements to go out with my wife and a few other friends to dinner and then to somebody's house to hang out or what have you, I now find many days getting booked well in advance to attend a festivity of some sort that probably will cost us more than a casual night out, but will give us the nice feeling that some of that money is going to a good cause.

All in all I guess it's a good thing to be able to support so many different charitable endeavors and have some fun simultaneously, but at the same time I feel as though I'm losing some of my freedom to be able to do what I/we want rather than having to follow somebody else's schedule of what they think I want.

And now a new thing is for charities to request that you donate money for a "non-event", where you save the money and just spend time at home with your family instead. Novel idea, but that's basically just a voluntary donation with a little PR spin on it. But it ironically reflects on the fact that so many people are inundated with so many event invitations that it's kind of a clever way to ask people to not have to worry about going to another fundraiser, but rather just give the money in lieu of the whole event.

Ultimately, I'm curious to see where this trend goes. After a while, if people get too saturated with fundraiser event invitations, they'll just stop going altogether... kind of like how I feel when I walk down the cereal aisle at the supermarket. Too many choices makes life too complicated, and you just wind up going back to the same 2-3 options everytime because you just don't have the time or energy to analyze them all and decide which one to splurge on.

And such is the way with today's night out at a fundraising event. Now pardon me while I check my schedule to see when I'm booked and when I can just hang out...

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