This is a guest post by Howard Givner, Executive Director, Event Leadership Institute.
If you’re organizing a fundraising event or any event where you need to generate revenue, you’ll likely be dealing with a committee of some sort.
Whether it’s a gala committee, an event committee, or some other name, how people’s roles and expectations are defined will have a major impact on the event’s success (or lack thereof).
Most committees of this nature are comprised of volunteers who want to help make the event a success. Most committee members work hard and are very dedicated. However, not all are created equal. Committee members fall into two categories that I call Worker Bees and Metal Detectors.
The Worker Bee is on the committee to help “do stuff.” They’re ready and eager to roll up their sleeves and pitch in any way they can to help the cause.
The Metal Detector, on the other hand, is defined by his or her ability to raise money for the event by selling tables, tickets, or sponsorships through people they know.
Both types are important for the event’s success.
However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that it’s a lot harder to find good Metal Detectors than it is to find good Worker Bees. This can lead to tension when Worker Bees compare the time and effort they put in versus that of the Metal Detector. It can be a tough pill to swallow for them to see a Metal Detector put in less time but receive greater accolades.
Don’t get me wrong; Worker Bees are the lifeblood of many fundraisers. But if all you have are Worker Bees, you don’t have a gala committee; you have a prom committee. You have Spanky and Alfalfa leading the Little Rascals to put on a show in the barn. It may be fun, but you won’t raise much money.
In fact, for many of the most successful fundraisers out there, you can’t be on a committee unless you can generate a certain amount of revenue.
This can all be fixed by simply laying out expectations for your committee members, and making everyone understand the importance of each other’s roles and contributions. You can even split them up and create a Logistics Committee and a Fundraising Committee. But make no mistake, the people that are hardest to find, and thereby most valuable, are the ones who know where the bodies are buried, and where the money is.
For additional tips on this topic, check out the Event Leadership Institute’s class “Producing An Effective Fundraising Gala” by Liz Glover Wilson of Elizabeth Rose Consulting. Here’s a clip: