Falling Through the Upper Crust?

The last decade was, in many ways, a golden age of fundraising. Celebrities, exquisite high end food and lavish locations made for a pretty good way to turn out folks who wanted a grand evening to go with their philanthropic giving. And all those sumptuous events came with profligate price tags to boot.

When the economy crashes, there are all sorts of groups that get caught up in the maelstrom of financial ruin. But if you are a charity that gets its cash from a few high profile big donor events, you might be running up against a problem not much talked about in our suddenly populist press: the fate of the exceptionally wealthy. As the top crust goes, so goes the ability to throw (and profit from) high profile and lavish events.

Don’t worry, the New York Times has you covered.

I confess to finding it a bit odd to run down the top-end of the economic disaster, and with such high end suggestions as “cut down on the wait staff” and “scale down the orchestra from 12 piece to 10 piece”, this article isn’t full advice for, say… me. But while these issues might not register with my personal situation in life (I don’t often think to have truffles at my events, and as such have no problem cutting them out), I realize that some philanthropic organizations get large portions of their operating budget from tickets to events like these. If those seats aren’t filled, operating budgets aren’t met, and doors close.

As much as I might hope that people give for the sake of the charitable cause, it’s true that many also want their contributions to be recognized and celebrated. If paying for a ticket coaxes more then a generic plea, then all the advice the Times can give to sell tickets is gravy. Over delicious chicken Pot Pie.

Alan Smith

Posted at 11:07 PM, Mar 23, 2009 in High Net Worth Donors | Philanthropic Strategy | Scaling Philanthropy | Permalink | Comment

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