The value of authenticity when fundraising cannot be over-emphasized. I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Rimbey FCSS golf tournament. It was put on by the FCSS to raise funds for their Volunteer Centre with a goal of $15,000 and it was an overwhelming success with about $22,000 raised. In reflecting on why I enjoyed being there and why this event was such a success the element that I believe was key is authenticity. The tournament was authentic for a number of reasons:
- The focus was on the fun everyone was having and not how much money needed to be raised.
- It was easy to financially contribute to the cause.
- It was from the community, for the community, by the community.
- A focus on the means and not just the end goal was evident.
When I was invited to attend the event I was told that it was like no golf tournament I had ever played before, and they were right! It was a pasture golf course (9 holes cut into a farmer’s field), there were ATVs pulling the drink cart and almost every hole had a fun theme or feature and often times free food. The lack of pretention allowed all of the participants to enjoy the day together and there was a strong feeling of a community coming together to support one of their key organizations.
I have attended many other fundraising events and sometimes they are focused on the glamour of the event or the auction items or the fundraising goal. There is a tendency to try to appeal the deep pockets in the room to spend the big money to ensure the event is successful. This approach can produce results and many nonprofit organizations rely on these types of events to meet their fundraising goals. However, often these gala based events feel like they are not about the cause and behind the scenes they can be taxing on the organizations and people who put them on. The Rimbey golf tournament is a great example of how important it is to take a step back when planning a fundraiser and first determine how it will be an authentic representation of what your organization does and the values it holds important, and how those values will be communicated.
Annand Ollivierre, Program Manager