Girl, Bye. I Can’t Afford That.

I’m not rich. I’m guessing you aren’t either.

This is a time in our lives where money- at least from a disposable income perspective- is hard to come by. So, when I’m pushing for my friends to join me at an annual affair that is $125 a pop, I already know more often than not, they won’t be able to come- no matter how much they support me.

You see, we’re all in the same boat. I can’t afford every $100 invitation I receive either. But for the organizations I choose to support, I plan for their fundraisers in advance.

I’ve learned one of the best ways to fall in love with an organization besides volunteering for it, is to attend its fundraising event(s). Fundraisers are designed to increase your awareness of the organization’s mission and programs while in a fun atmosphere with other like-minded folks. Fundraisers are also a one shot deal. Once you make such a hefty donation in the form of a ticket, you can feel a lot better about saying ‘no’ the next time you’re asked to give to that organization. #silverlining

That said, here are four steps that will help you decide how to plan to attend your next fundraiser:

1. Pick a charity.
There’s no shortage of non-profits. In fact, we probably all know someone who is affiliated with one, so start there. If you don’t know anyone associated with a non-profit, then pick an organization whose mission you connect with.

2. Find the fundraiser.
Finding fundraiser event these days is like finding the latest sex tape, they are everywhere. Wait. Oh nevermind….Most organizations post their upcoming events months in advance. If you know someone connected with the organization, they will tell you about upcoming events anyway. (Keep in mind large events, or galas, will be private and very expensive. I’m talking low-mid level events today. Let’s not get a head of ourselves. *smile*) 

3. Deciding on an event.
a. The Name- Most fundraisers aimed at a younger demographic will be named something sexy or catchy or cheeky for the sole purposes of  grabbing your attention. While not always a guarantee for a good time, it’s a solid start.

b. The Cost vs. The Perks– See, this is where the struggle comes in. I know. But you have to look at it from the stand point of, “What am I getting for my (above average) donation?…Am I getting my money’s worth?” Yes, 100% of the cost of your ticket goes to the organization, you too should feel like you are getting something in return. A few perks I look for are:

  • Open bar
  • Light to heavy hor d’oeuvres
  • Special guests I wouldn’t get to enjoy any other way: Famous DJ, Live performances, VIP guests/Honorees
  • Caliber of the venue; e.g. museums, luxury hotels, exclusive night clubs
  • Auction and/or Raffle items (if applicable); What looks good to bid on?

4. Budgeting for the ticket- How in the sassafrass are you going to afford a $100 ticket? A $200 ticket? Hey, even a $75 ticket?!….You’re going to afford it by saving for it. Break your ticket price down into increments based on how far in advance the event is. For example: $125 ticket at 4 months away = $31.25 a month to save. When you  check your savings, you’ll be surprised how quickly your savings add up.

Supporting causes at the $10-$20 level is easy. You got that covered. You’re about becoming philanthropic these days. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and really aim to make larger donations.

In order to win in this giving game, you have to start planning your giving. We have to be strategic and deliberate in our actions. Or, as much as I hate to say it, you’ll have a hard time ever being able to do it.

I want to hear from you. What’s an event you’ve been dying to attend but could not afford to? Do you think you can do it now? Have you attended an event outside of your normal price point?- how’d you do it?

11 thoughts on “Girl, Bye. I Can’t Afford That.

  1. First, the title was catching…..I was thinking “What type of post….?” It made me click. Second, I enjoyed the post, especially from a money is TIGHT perspective these days. I LOVE to give (corny but true). I want to step up my philanthropic game, especially when my friends are hosting awesome fundraisers. PLAN in advance. I dig it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ha! I thought this post was meant for another blog. And you are so right, we have to be deliberate in our giving…which means we have to plan. Sigh. One of the life lessons I’m learning right now. I truly intend to be more Fabulous about Philanthropy, and taking the time to plan my efforts and causes will only help me succeed. Great post!

  3. Hahaha @Pint…Yes ma’am it’s time to get cracking. It’s a lot easier than it sounds but it’s do able! Proud of you for making the effort

    YAY @Frantzie!!! I appreciate Brooklyn for coming out today! 😀

  4. Great post Ebonie!
    And the good thing is, some organizations (such as the NY Women’s Foundation) have begun to offer payment plans for a gala ticket.

  5. Thanks Ebonie for sending me a link to your post. As someone who considers herself to be “a girl about town”, this post was right up my alley. While I do attend a lot of events, fundraisers and galas, 90% of the time they are free or cost me less than $10 for a fundraising happy hour (usually a $5 donation and $5 for a drink).

    For those events that are more costly ($100-$500), I typically either volunteer or attend because I’ve been invited in exchange for promoting their event. Other events, I will save up or go without something non-essential for a month or two so I can be able to splurge on an event I’ve been wanting to go to.

    To help plan my budget accordingly, I look through Modern Luxury magazine’s annual Datebook to see a listing of local events for the year that I’d like to attend. My advice is to start early by offering to volunteer or promote their event (attend on a press pass if you’re a writer, blogger, or influential Tweeter). If that doesn’t work, I decide if I really want to go and save up as needed.

    Of course attending events for organizations I care about is important but I always have to think about it in terms of what’s in it for me. Will there be networking opportunities or a chance to gain exposure? Those are very important things you need to know and usually help me justify if I’m willing to invest the money needed to attend.

    1. You know I forgot to even mention how volunteering is a perfect shoe in! I volunteered for a few high end events back home and my friends were very receptive to joining the volunteer train too!

      Thanks for the other suggestions. Networking IS important too! That’s just one more aspect to consider.

      I need to start pimping my blogger card a bit more I see! 😉

  6. Another thing to consider is that a portion of your ticket may be tax deductible. Check with the organization to see what percentage of your ticket can be considered a charitable contribution and make sure that they have all the necessary information to send you a charitable contribution receipt. Giving back should always make you feel good but when you can write some of it off you feel even better!

  7. This was so helpful. I often invite my friends to support me at my non-profit events but this helped me put things in better perspective. Sure they want to help me BUT they also want to know that they are getting something out of it besides warm, fuzzy feelings. I have charity banquet coming up on April 21st for an organization that I co-chair BUT I won’t even be there because of close friends wedding that I’m in. How do I get my friends to come out EVEN though I won’t be there? #realquestion

    1. Hey LaToya! See we’re all one here. 🙂 I’d suggest recruiting one or two- probably 2 friends- that know about the work you do. Not only do they your work they also would connect to the org for one reason or another. Tell them about the event in an email. Explain that while you can’t make it, you think they would find the event enjoyable and productive. Tell them why. For example, I couldn’t make it to a Dress For Success event but I hit up all of my girlfriends into fashion and giving. A few actually went as paid guests- and some even got to volunteer.

      My point is use all of the tactics I shared and pitch your event to them- even in your absence. The key here is to just make it super personal. Call or gchat them too. Nothing says important these days like a gchat. 😉

      Please let me know how it goes. Enjoy the wedding!

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