I’ve been in the philanthropy circuit the last few months,  involved with wonderful organizations and people that do great work in the non-profit world.  Employees and volunteer teams work hard to support families, men, women, and girls. I have had the task of raising money, learning what it takes to get a commitment, and what motivates people to GIVE.

THE RED CROSS  I had  the privilege of being invited to a breakfast for ‘Women Who Care‘ by a friend who bought a table, as she and her husband are big supporters. Hundreds of people attended this event. There were emotional videos of the Red Cross providing relief to families faced with disaster, testimonials from people that were served by the food pantries or needed a home.  I realized that the Red Cross volunteers are there with the firemen, providing hugs and financial assistance to those in need.  Those that volunteer ‘live lives of meaning and purpose, extending themselves, helping others.’


Humanitarian Awards went to the Mayor of Boston, to the President of Babson College, to Liz Walker, a former TV personality, who talked about  sacrificed giving, how $100 will support a family in a motel for a few nights, give food for a family for a week.  We filled out the envelopes conveniently placed under our plates.  Later we learned our table raised the most $.  They track the results.  TJX was the gold sponsor.

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REACH– Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence-  I raised money for them and realized how important their work is in every community,  every economic level.  My friends Sally and Steve were the Co-Chairs of the event.  This year the amount raised =$420,000.  I called my friends who own businesses, asked them to donate, and was not turned down.  Josh,  the chef and owner of La Morra Restaurant, donated dinner in a home for 8.  Bundled with a case of wine and a small jazz combo, the night went for $6,000.  As the silent and live auction ended, the MC, Susan Warnick said, “I know you are not done giving… she started with $5,000 and the paddles went up.  Next she asked for $2500 and in 5 minutes she raised another $75,000.  And what you got was only the joy of giving.

Bundling the offerings is critical for larger contributions. A condo with golf in a remote location with dinner  goes for high $.  The big bucks are the private boxes at the Patriots game, and other sporting events, along with signed jerseys, visits from players, and you name it…sports wins!  And a pearl necklace for a chance at $100 mystery box sells too.

Videos and testimonials, tugging at ‘the personal’ to guests in cocktail attire. Alcohol helps open the wallet too.  You come to have a delicious dinner, a night with friends, and you come to give!

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GIRL SCOUTS are good marketers. Directing where the money goes is a motivator.  $900 sends 3 girls to day camp, $5oo sends a girl to overnight camp, $300 supports one girl in scouting for one year.  $100 provides leadership development for a volunteer. When it is tied to something tangible it always seals the deal.

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MASS HEALTH COUNCIL– I attended Dining with the Stars Awards Dinner celebrating 94 years of advocacy for prevention, wellness, and healthy living.  My friend Sally Sampson was honored for her work with healthy eating and reducing children’s obesity with her magazine Chop Chop.  Celebrity chef, Lydia Shire planned the yummy menu for 600.  Sea bass was donated by a local fisherman, and the money  raised was by table sponsorship and individual tickets.  CVS Caremark, Tufts, Harvard Pilgrim, were amongst the key sponsors.

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What I learned- to raise money you have to know the people who will share in your mission to be passionate about the cause. Marketing the offering to be interesting for people to bid to win, coupled with programming that is informative and tugs at hearts, and invite guests that want to give.

Last year I won a silent auction.  Lunch for 4 catered at the Boston Library.  It is sitting in my drawer. Now I will  invite 3 young girls who might never have gone to the library much less out for a special lunch.  And maybe next time the winner of the pearls, will think about giving them to someone that never had a piece of jewelry.