Doing An Event In Our New Reality

So you want to do a Fall event! Besides all of the regular things, one has to figure out the price, venue, theme, managing the committee, and sending invites. Now we have to worry about COVID. No one wants their event to be a super spreader or even a minor spreader. So what to do? It seems to me we have three options -

  1. Require proof of vaccination
  2. Suggest that the event is for the vaccinated
  3. bite your lip and hope that only people who are vaccinated attend.

Or course, you can also add a statement that says, "Please wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated. " But will that work? Will people be honest? What happens if people get sick after attending the event? Should people have to sign a waiver? Will that put a damper on the event? 

Boy, there are so many questions and so few answers since we are all doing this for the first time. The thoughtful way to solve this problem is to note on the invitation that masks must be worn if not fully vaccinated. That way, people are forewarned, and also, you are showing that you are conscious of people's concerns. Then I would have the venue put up a sign that says, "Please Wear A Mask If Not FULLY Vaccinated." 

The general counsel of an organization I know recommended that you can add a statement that says something like, "Attending this or any in-person event has a certain exposure by attending, you agree not to hold the presenting organization liable for any adverse outcomes." I am not so sure about that kind of statement. I am not sure how thoughtful having a statement like that on your invitation is for your guest, but I guess it is an option. 

Thoughtfully speaking, I would state in the invitation: "We will be following the masking mandates of the jurisdiction in which the event is being held. That way, if the mask rules change, you are covered. 

We are all facing new challenges in our fundraising, but I think the event area is the most challenging. I am sure, though, that if we approach each challenge thoughtfully, we will succeed. 


Are You What You Wear?

June may seem like an odd month to write about what we wear to work. But as we move into a new phase of the pandemic, more of us return to the office, and things settle into a new routine, the question of what to wear comes up. Now I am a middle-aged African American man working in a major metropolis, so I can only talk about this from my particular perspective. 

The New Yorker Magazine recently posted an interesting podcast on the subject that had a good deal to say about why we wear what we wear to work - I highly recommend you listen to it. 

Personally, I wear ties and sometimes suits. I like the convenience of reaching into the closet, pulling out a white shirt and pair of pants (or a suit), and grabbing a tie. It is just easy. Now I am also a big believer in having a "look." A way people see your outward self that you define.

Now I will freely admit that being from the South, being "dressed" is cultural with me as well. When I was growing up, people just dressed up more than they do now. I also grew up feeling that as a person of color, I had to be cleaner, smarter, and more polite to truly achieve.

Then I decided to be a fundraiser. When I started, there were not that many people of color who were in the field. I was lucky enough to work for two experienced fundraisers of color early in my career. I learned a great deal from them about raising money and maneuvering my way through the society of those supporting the non-profits for which I was working.

Now I am an experienced fundraiser with over 25 years of working for all kinds of non-profits. I manage staff, work with the Board, and help lead the organization. Do my ties and suits help? Well, I don't know for sure. I know I want people to be comfortable handing me a check or, with my help creating a planned gift. But what I can't be "visually" is a different person for everyone. I have to be the person I am. The one who is comfortable in his skin - as much as anyone ever is - who understands the dynamic between his position as a fundraiser and the people he works with to support the organization's work.

At the end of the day, I wear a tie and a suit sometimes because I like it. I look good wearing it.  And I hope people feel comfortable with me as I do my job.

Please leave a comment thoughtfully. 


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