What advice can you offer someone who’d like to be an effective gala chairperson?

Laurie Silvers says…
Number one, if you’re going to say that you will do it, you have to be prepared to give the time that’s required. Otherwise, it won’t be successful. It doesn’t just happen. So there’s a lot of work and you need to go into it knowing once you say ‘yes,’ people will rely on you to be there, to be responsive, to help raise awareness and get people to come out. It’s a big job.

Laurie SilversNumber two, you’ve got to be very organized. There are a lot of things that you need to stay on top of and if you’re not organized, and just don’t pay attention to the details, things will get away from you. In many cases, once you realize that has happened, it’s too late to do anything about it.

So your time has to be committed, you have to be organized and you have to not only understand the organization that you have pledged to help do this, but you also have to be convinced that the administrators – the people that are there to help you – are people you can work with, and that they’re competent and they will do what they’re supposed to do on their end.

The volunteers work very, very hard. They give of their time, their spirit… they’re generous. But at the end of the day, you really have to rely on the people at the organization and there are some incredible people that work tirelessly for so many of these philanthropies. And I’m very careful to only commit to those organizations where I believe that the staff – the workers – are the best of the best, that I can rely on them to do what they’re supposed to do.

All those things are very important. If one of those things falls by the wayside, it’s not going to be as successful as it potentially could be. That’s what I have found.

Laurie Silvers, of Hollywood Media Corp., is a businesswoman and serves numerous charitable and civic organizations. She is profiled in Philanthropy’s Finest.

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