The event 360 blog
What We Talk About When We Talk to Event Skeptics
By Mark Dolce
There’s an old saying among event production people that, “Skepticism is the lazy man’s consolation.” Not really, but I often long for a world in which such notional pronouncements are tossed out as commonly as acronym-laden Tweet-speak. I know, LOL, dream on, bub.
That line about skepticism comes from our old friend, the pre-eminent philosopher, mathematician and fundraising event enthusiast Bertrand Russell, who dissed, so to speak, the philosophical school of Skeptics because so many things, like the future, are unknowable, so why worry or seek to confirm or dispel your doubt.
For our purposes, we define the event skeptic as one who doubts the efficacy and worthiness of your event, and often that doubt is accompanied by a lack of direct knowledge of the event experience.
That’s why it’s important, whether you’re a peer-to-peer fundraiser or someone promoting a fundraising event, to emphasize the core purpose of producing a cause-related event: to create a communal space that allows people to come together to celebrate, validate or commemorate a shared experience. In the process, if executed correctly and with sensitivity, the event itself becomes a meaningful and memorable experience that propels an organization’s mission forward. More important, it creates a core audience who recruit friends and family to join them at subsequent events.
Think of it this way: no one who has attended a well-executed event and witnessed those moments of pure emotion doubts the worthiness of an event and the transformative power of the event space. Those moments are both spontaneous and scripted (e.g., a closing ceremony), but if executed properly, the event should create conditions in which such moments can occur.
The challenge in winning over skeptics is to paint a picture of the event that conveys the importance of the event space to the event participants and their guests. In such a formulation, the run, or walk, or ride is not an end in itself, but a means by which event participants can express themselves and draw strength from each other.
Mark Dolce is a copywriter for MuckFest® MS, the mud and obstacle fun run benefiting the National MS Society.