Last night, I was asked for some tips to help my fellow board members with a fundraising dinner on Thursday. Fundraising events so often devolve into board members huddling together in tight groups of people they all ready know.
But money is raised when board members act as ambassadors and hosts. Here's what I wrote.
Tips on Working the Room
Remind yourself why you're there
As a board member, you're not there to hangout with friends. You're there to be a host. So meet new people and make others feel welcome.
Look for "centers of influence" you haven't met
As you look over the room, notice the people that seem to have a crowd around them. Go up and introduce yourself to those people you haven't met.
Look for stragglers
It's also helpful to look for people feeling lost. Some people simply are uncomfortable. Do your best to make them welcome but don't let them become a time suck. It can be great to introduce them to someone else who has something in common. That makes them feel more connected and allows you to walk away.
Here are some questions to help get conversation going
"What do you do when you're not at an anti-trafficking dinner?"
This will get a chuckle. But it also gets at "where do you work" without insulting at home parents and retired people.
"How did you get into that?"
People love to tell their story. So be a person who'll listen. They love you for asking, and you don't have to carry the conversation all on your own! Don't try to fill them up with facts about Amirah. The dinner program will do that. Just take the time to get to know the guests.
"How did you first hear about Amirah?"
It's nice knowing how people connect with us. It'll show us what messaging is working, as well as who are our most effective evangelists.
Those were my tips. What would you add?