Change is in the air. Not just the weather but North Texas fundraising seems to be moving ahead to a new level as vaccinations are finding arms all over the area. While virtual get-togethers have been the lone way for nonprofits to connect with their supporters, the word “hybrid” has been cropping up in recent weeks.
With COVID-19 cases and deaths on the down slide, organizers realize that people are hesitant to fill ballrooms to capacity. Still they also know that most folks are suffering from severe cases of cabin fever and are almost hungry for an event where the keynote speaker, performer or models aren’t itty-bitty two-dimensional on their computer monitors.
After all, North Texas is a land where relationships are key to its success, whether it’s business deals or philanthropic endeavors. In the past when disaster hit, strength was found in coming together. It was the old chestnut, “United we stand; divided we fall.”
Only when the pandemic hit last year, the marching orders were to social distance, shelter-in-place, etc. Adding to the unnatural circumstances, faces were hidden by masks with just eyes peering out. In addition to fears of catching the disease, in-person relationships were verboten.
It was so unnatural for a community that had thrived on seeing and being seen. And it only added to the anxiety and frustration as lost jobs dominoed into food insecurity, domestic abuse and education challenges.
But as mentioned earlier, like spring flowers starting to sprout, the emergence of hybrid fundraising events is that first toe in the water for people to get back to a sense of normalcy.
A car parker, who hadn’t had work in months, reported that last week he had worked one event and this week, two. A local photographer, whose business had him traveling the country for assignments, had found himself without work for two months early on. Now he is working from sunrise to late night just to keep up with the work.
If the trend continues, there is a feeling that come the fall, in-person events will be on the road to recovery and, along with them, the well-being of North Texas nonprofits.