RIP, Virtual Fundraising Event

Virtual Fundraising Event, 23, died July 25, 2020 in Whynot, North Carolina with 95,400 nonprofit fundraisers by its side. A memorial service was held Tuesday afternoon via Instagram Live, because nobody could figure out how to get it working on WebEx, and our admin was taking a personal day.

Virtual Fundraising Event was born as “Online Crowdfunding Campaign” in 1997, the lovechild of progressive rock band Marillion and the Internet. As a youth, Virtual Fundraising Event moved frequently around the World Wide Web until 2008, when it became entangled in a torrid throuple with MySpace and PayPal. For the next dozen years, it really came of age until the entire flippin’ planet was struck by a highly transmittable, novel respiratory virus.

Virtual Fundraising Event was at its best in spring/summer 2020, where people would use HDMI cables to interface laptops with big-screen TVs in their living rooms so they could see overzealous, poorly prepared event co-chairs streamed live with bad lighting and hokey messages about “wishing we could all be together in person if not for this gosh darn international health crisis.” But people were not dissuaded, because, now more than ever, Nonprofit XYZ really needs financial support, which is why this sacred cow gala event was hastily thrown together on Zoom, accompanied by a cold sandwich delivered (freaky fast) from Jimmy John’s. It had nothing to do with the fact they were lazy with fundraising the first half of the fiscal year.

Though it lived a storied life, Virtual Fundraising Event succumbed to the simultaneous strain of a global pandemic, online meeting fatigue, and the rising cost of in-home Wi-Fi. As it closed its eyes for the last time, Virtual Fundraising Event whispered, “Don’t forget to click the link at the bottom of this page so you can visit our easy-to-use online auction! We have some really great items this year — and if you miss the link, don’t worry, we’ll e-mail it to you several dozen times before the week is over.”

Virtual Fundraising Event is survived by its siblings, DonorPerfect and Facebook Fundraiser. Though estranged, it is also survived by its cousin, Text-to-Give. It was preceded in death by Telethon.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to your favorite charity through their website, with the hope you will cough up the additional 3% to cover the online processing/transaction fee.

Say What You Mean (Part 2)

Because we thought it was hilarious, here’s a follow-up to Say What You Mean, this time through the very specific lens of: time.

We’ve all had the experience of someone stopping by our offices — pre-quarantine, obviously — to ask a question. Sometimes you are even summoned to someone else’s office for such a question. Typically, colleagues try give you a sense of just how much time it will take. And most of the time they are cold-hearted liars. Here’s what they say, and what they really mean.

  • Do you have a minute? This one is tricky. A minute could really be a minute, or it could be the better part of an hour. Either way, the foundation for successfully answering this question is to make sure your headphones are in and you have a gnarly looking spreadsheet open — one that looks like it desperately needs your immediate attention.
  • Do you have two minutes? Generally, this is either two minutes or less. It’s such a specific amount of time, the only way it could be shorter is if they ask if you have three minutes. However, make sure you take a small stack of papers with you in case the two minutes begins to stretch, that way you can gesture at the very important work needing your attention.
  • Do you have five seconds? Nothing takes five seconds. Heck, one reading of the chorus lyrics of “Cotton Eye Joe” takes exactly 8.4 seconds, and who can listen to just one reading of the chorus lyrics of “Cotton Eye Joe?” The entire song is only 3:10 and yes obviously I just went and listened to it.
  • Do you have 10 minutes? No, Susan, I don’t. You can’t pop your head in here on a whim and ask for one-sixth of an hour when I know you’re going to need the full darn hour. Go hop on Google Calendar, search my schedule — you can do this because I have given you access to my calendar like five times — and set a meeting. And set it for at least two weeks from now, because I promise you in that span of time you will figure out whatever it was you needed and then this meeting won’t be unnecessary.

There you have it, folks. The definitive guide to what our fellow nonprofiteers mean when they ask to insert themselves in our lives for questions they could probably answer themselves, or ones that didn’t need to be asked at all. And now here’s “Cotton Eye Joe.”

You’re welcome.