It's a beautiful morning in Denver, Colorado. I'm at me desk thinking about the day and also thinking of the reception I attended the other night. The event was a birthday celebration for a well-known catering guru in the community and I was thrilled to have been invited.
When I arrived I surveyed the space, an art gallery, and began to think of my plan to connect with others attending the party. As much as I was there to celebrate the birthday of a peer, I also wanted to take advantage of meeting people and introducing Opera Colorado to folks who might not know much about us.
I should add here that I love events like this. I love business, social, professional events where I have the opportunity to engage with my peers and introduce the world of opera to those who may not know about it. Many times events like this are called Business After Hours and I try to make at least one a week.
The key to attending these events, and the reason I try to attend them, is to, as Rupaul would say, work it. If you decide to attend an event like this it's important to not just be a flower on the wall but actually meet people and talk about your non-profit. We get into dangerous territory when assumptions are made that everyone in a given room already knows all there is to know about your non-profit. Opportunities like this are the key ingredient to "social" media: actually meeting face to face with other human beings.
I realize that this might be uncomfortable for smoe. In a world where we communicate with thousands of people via Facebook and Twitter, it can become different to actually converse, to talk about your non-profit's mission with somenoe who might actually want to support you. Yet this is all vital. I love facebook. I love Twitter. Nothing excites me more, though, than seeing a room filled with people who may or may not know about Opera Colorado and who may or may not even enjoy opera. The conversations I have are thrilling and no matter what type of social engagement I am attending, if I extend my hand to as many people as possible and simply say "I'm Dan Hanley with Opera Colorado", the magic of fundraising continues!
Try it! If you have been in fundraising for years, try it. If you are quite new to fundraising, try it.
No matter where you live, there are organizations that have some type of monthly or quarterly meeting. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce or regional non-profit agency. In the Denver area we have several opportunites to meet with peers monthly.
Attend, introduce yourself, follow-up with people you met. Then let me know all about it.
As always, thanks so much for reading my blog!