Do You Have a Fundraising Reception Strategy?
If you have worked for a nonprofit for more than one month, you probably have been involved in some type of reception for your organization. In fact, over time you will be invited by board members and volunteers to attend their receptions as well.
You will learn to accept that receptions are a fact of life for the fundraising professional. Some receptions are very large in size. Other receptions are medium to small in size. Each reception has a personality based upon time, location, setting and participants.
Most professionals take the reception concept for granted. Others have a reason for involvement and a mission to accomplish. Regardless of your thoughts on the subject, your personality, at times, gets in the way. That said, you need to develop a strategy for each reception you attend.
We all know individuals and how they operate in a reception setting. My brother-in-law is blessed because he is excited to meet everyone in the crowd. He thrives on meet and greets. He remembers the name of everyone and each person's life history by the end of the evening.
I know other peers who hate the interaction with others. They are introverts and do not like meeting people they do not know. Others are focused on meeting a select few in the group. They have some type of strategy to employ. Still others just go with the flow and seek people they know and cling to them for the event duration.
For some people, a reception is time to relax after a long day of work. For others, a reception is a stressful event that affects many in various ways. I am amazed by how little attention has been given to this topic.
I am always a student of the development processes. I recently attended a VIP reception for approximately 50 people. Going to the reception, I felt that I would know 10 percent of the attendees. My wife and I arrived early, and we brought another couple as a double date. Being with them from time to time during the entire event was one plan. My wife knows I like to thrive in these settings, and while it is not natural to me, I focus on meeting new people.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.