Check this helpful advice from Alice's Table. Alice's Table -GSO will be helping us "bloom with brilliance" in August! Getting so excited!
We're so pumped about our soft launch! And what better way for us to celebrate than to celebrate others and their ventures too -- bringing joy, fun, empowerment and fellowship with us!
Part I - we're teaming up with Alice's Tables - Greensboro and hosting a small party at the Weir-Jordan House! More deets are coming soon!! We just had to spill the beans a bit...
Part II - is for all my lady entrepreneurs and socialpreneurs or ladies that just want some good sister time! We have a few ladies that will be sharing their story in this space and our time together will offer us a time to chat, be encouraged, be informed and network!
Part III - because as you know JOYGIVES is important to us and we want to highlight leaders in philanthropy and have a brief session on how we can leverage our assets (time, talent and treasure) in a way that will bring value to not only others and provide great social impact, but also how it gives value to our work and toil!
I still remember it, like it was yesterday. Probably because my blood pressure skyrocketed and smoke actually came out of my ears. Fundraising events are a great way to get constituents aware of your organization and cause; affirm the work of your organization; simply a time to celebrate; and of course to raise money for a specific cause that will assist in you carrying out the necessary work of your organization. Generally, inviting a keynote speaker and depending on budget, a notable one, provides an organization the opportunity to build visibility about their cause and invite people that wouldn't normally know about the organization to attend such event. This speaker of course must have some type of connection to the organization's cause or affinity. However, sometimes they may be chosen by sheer name recognition.
Anyway, the gamble is choosing a celebrity who is an actress or works in some type of showbiz or a political figure because you never know how their schedule will change. Because to be honest if they're not totally committed to your event or your cause it's low on their priority list. So before, I go into my horrible story. I'll start with a few tips when choosing a high-profile keynote speaker:
#1 Always have a plan b and c!
#2 If you're able, especially working with a speaker bureau, negotiate terms of the contract or reconsider working with the celebrity, if there is a clause that gives them a way out or to cancel on short notice.
#3 Choose Joy!
So, this was actually the second time this happened to me while working with this organization for their annual fundraising event. But what was different about this time is that the actress, who shall remain nameless, cancelled almost two weeks prior to the event!! Where as before, the speaker cancelled soon enough after booking that communication, PR and logistics were smooth and couldn't even tell. This time? Damage control had to be turned up to the major max! She was not very apologetic, and the speaker agent was speaking to us defensively as we had done him wrong?!!
You see, we were working on a great timeline for this event and everything was falling into place. The group chose the speaker because of the close ties to the cause and connection to the surrounding region. I had also followed up with the speaker agent several times prior to the ALMOST TWO WEEKS BEFORE HER ARRIVAL to ensure everything was on course. First point of contact being almost nine months out, then seven months, then six, and then four months (this is when I my antenna's went up); then one (1) month out. What made the situation worse, the actress had all these diva demands too. Providing certain portions of the event budget to increase.
The funny thing that made this incredibly sucky situation, even more suckier, is that due to the clause (which I had negotiated from a week prior to increased two a little more than two weeks out) she cancelled a couple of days before she'd been liable for any damages. Generally speaker's contracts have these clauses and will not write them out of the contract but can negotiate length and unless your working directly with the speaker and their team.
My immediate stressors: that many ticket sales were due to her appearance. How is that going to look for the organization? Who is going to be the speaker? Speaker is the highlight of this event! Not to mention a private reception for those key donors and sponsors are expecting to have a meet and greet with her? ( Spoiler: And guess what none of these things were impacted. I think one ticket goer out of nearly 1,000 asked for a refund. Ha!)!
However, going to my tips above. We had a plan b and c; two other speakers that the group liked, all we had to do was see if they were available. They weren't....hahahah. Immediately I began recouping on the contract amount that was paid. Although the speaker bureau tried to say they'd help to secure a new speaker, they were moving too slow and again responding in such an insensitive and defensive way. So washed my hands of them and sought other speaker bureau connections. Next, was putting a communication plan in place. Communicated to key stakeholders first, especially those providing major investments and key sponsors. Before doing so, ensuring we had a solid plan and some leads. Then I had to think who'd cover the speaker...I was like I'll do an interpretative dance and read a poem if needed hahaha! And then it was like a light that shined down in my office-- I pictured my friend who has many ties to industry leaders and celebrities though her work. It was affirmed when a voice seemed to come down from heaven--that broke through my fog--and turned into the voice of my co-worker across the hall. Saying: "Yea, what about 'Sunshine' (changed her name for purposes of this blog)? Would her business know of anyone?" DIVINE how life can be!
I call my friend, and she answers. The funny thing is (and shows just how awesome and selfless she is....) she had been going through a HORRIBLE DAY. Like one of those days that were so sucky you can't help but to laugh because it's like you're getting pranked. The kind of day, when she was describing to me, sounded like a standup comedy act. STILL--she picked up the phone. "Anything, for Ashlee..." And was like: "I'm on it. Let me see what I can do!" RELATIONSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT!! AND I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR HOW GOD USES THEM!!
Long story short, this shero 'Sunshine" saved our day and we got a dynamic speaker---who actually flew out WHILE SHE WAS ON VACATION! and donated majority of her speaker fee to her foundation. She was BETTER than what we could imagine the original speaker to be.
Grateful for the key volunteers and generous partners that helped me to remain positive and kept me lifted. We just had to choose joy, knowing that in the end, all things would work out. They seem to always do!!
So last tip: Get you A FRIEND LIKE: " SUNSHINE!"
The event went without a hitch, was one of the best fundraising events out of the past annual events and raised a considerable amount of money to support the great work of this organization! Oh what Joy!!
P.S. Have been boycotting all movies, past and present of this celebrity. :)
If it hasn't been apparent. Our mission is to spread joy because of the joy that has been given to us! We're pleased to announce our JOY GIVES campaign and business manifesto.
Ten percent of Christina's Joy proceeds or gross income will go toward deserving non-profits and individuals that are serving vulnerable, under-served populations and toward organizations or individuals doing great work in bridging education inequity gaps in low-income and disadvantaged cities and rural towns.
Generosity is important to us and the foundation of what sparked us to start this business. It is through our work that we're able to embody JOY GIVES.
Hope you'll help us in spreading joy, today! Keeping with this 10% theme! If you're a newly-engaged couple or officer in your organization that could utilize our services:
+ Wedding Planning
+ Corporate/Meeting Event Coordination & Planning
+ Strategic Planning and Non-Profit Consulting
We're waiving many of our fees and providing you with a 20% (double for your trouble) discount on your prospective package during the months of May-August 1. Be sure to contact us for a free consultation! https://christinasjoy.com/contact-1/
So you're engaged? After you've gotten over the JOY of that special moment and are in anticipation of becoming one with your spouse! Reality may set in & like many, you're like: "now, what?" Here are a few Christina's Joy tips to overcome those initial thoughts:
1. Set-up premarital counseling—while prepping for an awesome wedding day is great! Prepping for a fruitful marriage supersedes the few hours of your wedding event. We even suggest premarital counseling while you date (that's just a great piece of advice from some of our married friends).
2. Secure a Venue/Pick your special date—sometimes this will coincide, which is why we put these together. Your reception/ceremony venue is one of the most significant factors early on in the wedding planning. It's the most expensive item of a wedding budget and you must ensure that your preferred venue is available on your proposed date.
2. Hire you a Christina's Joy event planner!! Let us handle the details, lighten the load and you just show up and ENJOY!!