Walt Whitman wrote those words over a century ago, and I’m fairly confident that he would have no idea how relevant those short words would be to fundraisers today.
I’m talking about table captains, and these small group of people can really fire up your special events and take them to the next level.
As you plan a special event, it’s imperative that you have the right people recruit and more importantly engage with participants prior to the event. While it’s nice to count on some people to just ‘fill the table’, it’s exponentially better to have someone that is connected and willing to reach out and sell your organization for you.
For example, at a fundraising banquet I’ve attended for the last several years, there’s always one table sponsored by a local bank. This table is usually nearly empty- they pay for the table but for whatever reason it’s been sparsely full the last three years.
Since this particular event is at capacity, I really think the organization should reevaluate the purpose of the event. If the event’s focus is to purely raise money, then fine- have plenty of empty but full ($$$) tables.
However, special events are not the most efficient money-makers, and it’s much better to have an energetic table captain recruit and engage participants to bring them closer to your mission. This strategy pays off in spades as you develop relationships that turn into much larger donations in the future.