Fundraising Events Survey

We asked readers for their real thoughts and feelings about fundraising events and they gave us just that! And here are the results…..

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Full responses here:

1 -My ticket is my contribution; 2 - I don't have a set standard and make a financial contribution based on the event and the perceived need; 3 - I make a financial contribution at the event; 4 - I make a financial contribution in some fashion if I am attending as a guest and did not pay for my ticket; 5 - I make a contribution after the event; 6 - I typically bid on an auction item

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Full responses here:

1 - Did not enjoy; 2 - Wasn't made aware of the date / the org never contacted me; 3 - Ticket price increase; 4 - Chose to support another event/org instead; 5 - Didn't get the sense they needed my support; 6 - Event had become stale and repetitive; 7 - Too much effort required in terms of attire, logistics, etc.

What do these results say to you? What stands out? Share this on social media and discuss! #thesocietyguide

Donor Spotlight: Elissa Moore

In addition to serving as counsel at McGuire Woods and mother to four children under 10 years old, Elissa Moore also counts herself as an avid supporter of NC MedAssist. Here, she tells us why she cares, why others should too, how she’s weaving a philanthropic spirit into her family, and where to get the best coffee in Charlotte (and it’s not in a restaurant).


Why did you become a supporter of NC MedAssist? And why do you stay involved?

I am passionate about health and wellness and access to healthcare for all people.  As a corporate healthcare attorney, I am dealing with healthcare from the 20,000 foot level. I wanted to get on the ground level and help people with their healthcare needs. Involvement in MedAssist allows me to do that.  I continue to stay involved because I can see the immediate impact that NC MedAssist makes - delivering lifesaving drugs to people who need them allowing them to continue working or living comfortably and also through our free drugstore where people can get over the counter drug store items that they would otherwise not be able to afford. It is always humbling to see the line to get into the drug store.

What do you wish our community knew about NC MedAssist or the people they serve? 

When you are healthy and able to pay for prescription and over the counter medication, it is easy to forget that our health is the foundation for our lives.  So many people are struggling with chronic conditions that make everyday life so difficult and that require medication.  For those who are uninsured or underinsured, the expense of daily medication can mean they have to make impossible choices between, for example, food or medicine.  Or for people who are struggling to make ends meet, they can’t just walk into the drugstore and buy the over the counter medicine such as tylenol that may help prevent a trip to the ER. MedAssist fills the gap for these people. It serves a critical purpose. 

What is your earliest memory of giving back?

I can remember my family “adopting” a refugee family from Poland who came to the US after the iron curtain fell.  We went over to their house with Christmas gifts and I remember being shocked at how little they had.  We continued to support them financially and with our time.  This family taught me so much  – the sacrifices people will make for their children and freedom, resilience, courage. It inspired in me a desire to give and share whatever and whenever I can. 

What ways have you tried to instill generosity and interest in the broader community in your children?

I feel so grateful for all that I have and how lucky my family and I are to be healthy, to have a home, to be able to eat healthy food, to not want for any necessities.  It is critical to me that my children understand this fortunate position. We talk regularly around the dinner table about all of the gifts we have and how we can share our gifts with the community. I talk about my work with MedAssist as well as the other organizations I am involved with and I hope that serves as an example to them of giving back.  My 4 kids are all under 10 so they are still pretty young but we are able to volunteer at the MedAssist drugstore and organize the shelves. In addition, their school does a great job of community giving and so they participate in that as well.  They love getting involved and I hope they will continue to do so.

What local community issue is most concerning to you?

How health and wellness and access to healthcare impact economic mobility.  We have all heard about Charlotte’s dismal rate of economic mobility but healthcare was not a key consideration in the economic mobility report or subsequent discussions.  It needs to be.

Who is Charlotte’s unsung hero, making the community better behind the scenes?  

The health care professionals who are on the front lines of providing care for the underserved in our community and the healthcare not for profits that serve these individuals.  Organizations like MedAssist and CareRing are truly making a difference in the health of our community by seeing the struggle of the uninsurned and underinsured.  It’s largely an invisible struggle and those practitioners and organizations that are helping minimize or erase the struggle for these people are making our community stronger.  Again, if you are healthy you can work, raise a family, go to school, participate in the community and so on and so forth.

What are your favorite local small businesses?

Dunx coffee at Blackhawk for an amazing coffee, Aix-en-Provence on Providence for their moules frites, Poppy’s Bagels for…bagels(!), Laurel Market for a great lunchtime treat – can you tell I like to eat??

Paid Internship Opportunity

This paid, part-time internship will produce video and photography content for social media and other marketing channels. 

The ideal intern MUSTS:

- Video production and editing skills

- Social media savvy

- Interest in giving back to the community

Big Bonus Points for those with:

- Photography and photo editing skills

- Graphic design capabilities

If this sounds like you, send an email to with:

1) Links to video clips you’ve created

2) Photography/graphic design portfolio if available

3) Your current school and grade or year

Fundraisers: Your photos are putting you in the Friend Zone

We are in the throws of Giving Book production, which means we are swimming in photos.

As we rummage through images for the best representations of our nonprofit members, I keep a real life experience in mind.

I’m driving into my neighborhood and see a dog wandering towards the main road. I curse under my breath because I have to stop and get the dog. If I don’t stop, the dog might get hit. I am inconvenienced, I don’t really have the time to help, but I do it because it’s on me to save him.  

Had someone else been out there attempting to wrangle the dog, I would have felt content to continue along because someone was tending to the problem. I would have been off the hook.

Now if that person had asked me for some money to help him get the dog a leash, I would probably give it to him. But only if he was able to get my attention and flag me down to stop the car. And he would not be able to lasso my attention enough to stop the car if the person and the dog looked like a happy Target ad.

Keep that story and these points in mind when considering what photos you use in your fundraising materials:

1. Donor appeals

I worship at the altar of Steven Screen and The Better Fundraising Co. and they will tell you, happy, smiling faces do not move donors to action.

In fact, when you show how great you are (smiling faces of saved people) you are letting them off the hook and giving them permission to move on. Nonprofits struggle with this, believing that if we share how bad things were and show wonderful they are now, donors will want to do that for more people.

That is an organization-centered mentality. Imagine a donor like a preschool teacher. She has 20+ children who need her. Is she going to run to the side of the pleasant child happily coloring? Or is she going to run to help the child who just spilled paint all over the floor and is now peeing his pants?

You know the need because you see it everyday. You have to give the donor a glimpse at the sad, heartbreaking truth of the need. Showing them a solved problem when you are asking for their money is going to lock you in the friend zone. They think you’re great, but just “not in that way”. You know, the open their wallet kind of way.

(P.S. Don’t toss those images of solved problems. That’s the perfect way to thank someone for their gift.)

2. Event photos

Think Sponsorship Marketing: Event photos are very important. They will help you secure your sponsors for next year’s event. Get as many photos as you can – but of attendees, not of tables and auction items and people delivering remarks on stage.

A business will make a sponsorship investment if they see their prospective customers in attendance. Consider putting those photos in the first pages of your sponsorship proposals.

3. Don’t ruin your event photos

Be Media Smart: If your event chair or board chair or executive director is in every grip and grin shot with attendees, you now have only one viable photo for print or media use.

I have been the editor at two magazines where we published pages of grip and grin event photos. Print publications do not want to run photos of the same person more than once. So while I understand that someone from the organization might need to be the photo encourager, have him or her gather and encourage from behind the lens, not in front of it.

4. Brag photos

Getting a big oversized check? Fabulous! Circulate the photo to your board and staff. Put it on social media and say thank you to the check writer.

Don’t show a donor in a newsletter or email if your intention is to inspire a contribution. Would you bring a home-cooked meal to someone with a catering truck in their driveway?

5. Staff photos

This might sound harsh, but when it comes to using photos effectively, there is no instance in which photos of your staff (ED included) is of value from an individual donor fundraising perspective. Photos of staff at events, in the office, doing manual labor associated with your cause, your ED receiving an oversized check, your ED on stage delivering remarks at your lunch or gala – these mean nothing to donors or prospects and even have the potential to hurt you.

How? Donors give to support recipients of your organization, not to support the organization itself. If the visuals speak more to you rather than the need of those you serve, the zest for you becomes diluted and donors can become apathetic.

The idea is to connect the donor to your cause. To leave them feeling as if it’s up to them to save the day. If they see YOU’RE saving the day, they will feel content to move on.

The organizations that I’ve seen with the greatest number of high net worth donors, who are also deeply loyal, are the ones that try to keep themselves behind the curtain entirely. Everything they do, talk about, and show, are about the people they serve and their donors. 

People want to help, if it doesn’t inconvenience them. But people will get inconvenienced if someone needs rescuing.

Force people to stop and get the dog.


We're Hiring!

Director of Member Marketing


The Society Guide is a membership-based program for nonprofits that works to connect our members with high net worth donors and their advisors.

The Director of Member Marketing’s goal is to cultivate opportunities for our nonprofit members to introduce their organization to people and businesses in the community. The Director will identify PR and media opportunities, existing meetings/events (social, associations, clubs, etc.) to forge charitable partnerships, as well as help cultivate opportunities with small businesses (retail, fitness, etc) who might wish to align with charitable organizations.

The Director will also assist with the planning and execution our own events (two per year).

Ideal candidates will:

-       Be well connected in the Charlotte community

-       Have PR and event experience

-       Familiarity with the Charlotte nonprofit community and fundraising/philanthropic landscape

-       Be an active social media user

-       Have insightful ability to match our nonprofit members with the right audience/opportunities for mutually beneficial experiences

-       Self-starter with ability to work remotely and independently


Contact Amanda Pagliarini Howard to discuss further, highlighting compatibility with our ideal candidate points.



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