This week, I’m honored to introduce Vivanista. Vivanista is a member-based, lifestyle community for charitable volunteers. I really like their practical tips as well as their emphasis in women in philanthropy. Check out their tools at This top 10 list was put together by Vivanista’s founder, Layne Gray, a Bay Area entrepreneur and experienced volunteer fundraiser.

Layne Grayby Layne Gray

When it comes to being the Chair for a charity event, it takes some creativity, hard work and above all, patience. Chairing an event usually follows no script as often the schedule is bound to change ongoing. However, there are several things to keep in mind in general when faced with the task of Chairing an event.

  1. Being the Chair of a charitable event is like being a duck: You may be paddling like hell under the surface, but you look cool and calm on the surface.
  2. Count to 10 or, better yet, get a good night’s rest before you respond to a committee member’s email flame.
  3. Stay focused on the big picture.
  4. Being the Chair means you have to make the big decisions and not everyone is going to like those decisions. Toughen up.
  5. Don’t get sucked into the petty political issues that sometimes, and quite naturally, arise within groups of women.
  6. Set your own personal confidential goal – what mark do you want to make. But don’t be too upset if you don’t completely achieve it; it was your goal, no one else’s.
  7. No matter how fabulous, organized and experienced you and your committee are, there will undoubtedly be something major that will go wrong. Anticipate it.
  8. Be realistic of what you can balance. In addition to being Chair, it can be difficult to be good at all the other responsibilities you have like a (1) a husband, (2) kids and (3) a job.
  9. Keep lots of personal note cards, envelopes and stamps around. Send them out willy-nilly to anyone and everyone who contributes to the success of your event.
  10. If 85% of the people still like you in the end, you’ve done really well.
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