Monday, October 27, 2008

Fundraising Luncheon

Friday afternoon we were invited to be guests at the Annual Camp Fire Luncheon and to sit at the table of Camp Fire's President and CEO.  

This one hour lunch was delicious, informative, celebratory, nostalgic and very moving. The room was filled with over 400 captivated people.  Learning about the organization and their impact over the last 80 years was powerful.   Camp Fire really has changed the lives of many central Ohioans. Former campers stay connected and loyal to this non-profit organization and many become camp counselors, advocates, or board members.  

A short video of a few long-time campers being interviewed clearly expressed what Camp Fire means to them and so many others.  The video setting was the beautiful camp grounds.  It made you want to be there, especially when hearing the birds chirping and the young campers singing in the background.

The moving part of the program was when a single mother and her older son told their story. For them Camp Fire was life-changing.  The mother, unable to afford camping, was able to get funding for her son to attend, funding that changed their lives. The mother spoke of how proud she was of her son and of the man he has become.  She tearfully attributed that to his Camp Fire experience.  Her son, now a camp counselor himself, has become a positive role model to current day campers.

After the short heartwarming program their Board Chair spoke of thanks for 80 wonderful years, as well as the desperate needs for the coming years.  Funding is needed to get more children into nature.  It's important for their health.  So many central Ohio kids have never even seen a forest and spend way too much time in front of the TV, computer or video games.

Table captains passed out pledge envelopes and everyone filled them out pledging financial assistance for the next year. Looking around we saw that everyone was writing, getting out check books and wallets.

This simple luncheon and program was an incredibly smart fundraising tool. Having a luncheon lowers the fundraising expense over having a huge gala dinner.  The program was simple, but compelling.  A connection was made with the audience.  Using the nostalgic slide show, short video, and most importantly, the mother and her son had a lasting and powerful impact.  Camp Fire's event was a success.  Many non-profits could learn from this smart, well thought out event.

Thanks to Amy Boyd for allowing us to be guests at her table.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to helping Camp Fire Central as they begin planning their 100th celebration!

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