Successful Nonprofits : Tales of Virtual Fundraising in the Time of COVID

Auctioning Toilet Paper And Other Tales of Virtual Fundraising in the Time of COVID

Virtual Galas in a Time of Social Distancing with Dean Crownover

Auctioning Toilet Paper And Other Tales of Virtual Fundraising in the Time of COVID

Virtual Galas in a Time of Social Distancing with Dean Crownover

by GoldenburgGroup

Is your next annual gala at risk of being canceled due to COVID-19? Well then listen in before you do anything!  As today’s guest, Dean Crownover, points out, virtual fundraising events are working like gangbusters!  So join us to learn how virtual fundraising events are structured, what you can expect to spend, what you can expect to earn, and the best practices you can adopt to make your next fundraising event a virtual success.

Listen to the Episode Here!


Dean’s Website


3:54 The virtual fundraising approach 

9:09 Pre-event activities

11:07 The live event structure

13:14 Selling (or not selling) tickets

14:30 Your budget

15:54 The tech side of things

18:45 What you can expect to spend

19:30 What you can expect to make

24:39 Finding sponsorships and silent auction items

27:50 Dean’s final lesson – be sure to check it out!


Dolph Goldenburg (00:00):

Welcome to the Successful Nonprofits® Podcast. I’m your host Dolph Goldenburg. I don’t know about you, but pretty much all of my plans have been canceled this spring and summer. I was going to finally see Hamilton. I was looking forward to a performance of Terminus ballet here in Atlanta. And of course there were several fundraising events on my calendar. But I’m not complaining because my husband, Frank, and I are healthy and, quite frankly, it has been years since we have spent this much time together at home. But I’m starting to wonder what to do about the fall. While it’s easy to reschedule a trip or theater with friends, other things are a bit more complicated, like fundraisers. Fundraisers that you’re expecting to have a hundred people or even hundreds of people at. Will The CDC, we’re all wondering, change its recommendations about limiting the number of people in a single room? And if they do will anyone want to show up?

Dolph Goldenburg (00:57):

I’m willing to bet, even if those recommendations expand and say you can have 300 people in a room, that a lot of people are going to say, “Eh, I don’t want to show up.” So nonprofits are in this weird spot. They still need funds, they’ve got to get out there and do fundraising events so their employees can get paid and services can be delivered. So what are you going to do? Are you going to cancel and hope that donors will pick up the difference? Are you going to reschedule and just hope for the best? Here to answer those questions is an event problem solver, Dean Crownover. Let me tell you, Dean is awesome. When I see him work his magic onstage as an auctioneer, it is an incredible thing to watch. You can see him bring 20 years of experience as a trained actor and improv specialist whenever you see Dean onstage.

New Speaker (01:49):

Now, I got to share with you that I have been watching Dean’s work for over a decade and he is the force behind several events that I like to attend every year. Over the years I’ve also had some candid conversations with him about events, and his depth of knowledge and expertise is hard to find. Now, you may recall that Dean was on a prior episode of the podcast where we discussed all things related to fundraising events, including how to get the crowd to shut up during a fund-a-need presentation. Of course, now you can probably just silence everybody on Zoom, but back then it was a big issue. So, please join me in welcoming Dean to the podcast as we find out what you should be doing for your event. Hey, Dean, welcome back to the podcast.

Dean Crownover (02:38):

Can you redo my intro again? I just want to hear it again. That was awesome.

New Speaker (02:43):

Well, I mean it. Every time I see you work, I’m like, “This man is gifted. He is just gifted.” But part of what I love about you is you’re not just an in-front of the camera kind of a person. So yeah, you’re great on stage, but when you sit down with organizations and help them plan their event, you do that backend work as well and really help them create a successful event. Everything that most people don’t see when the person’s just standing on stage.

Dean Crownover (03:08):

That’s actually my favorite part. You know, the 80/20 rule? I call it the 90/10 rule because 90% of the stuff is done in the meetings and the 10% is on stage. That makes all the difference in the world. And I’ve met benefit auctioneers who don’t consult and I don’t understand that. Or they limit how much they consult and I don’t understand that either. I tell you, if I don’t understand something, I want to be able to talk to my consultant and say, “Explain it again.” And that’s what I’m here for, for my clients. I want them to call me as many times as they need to.

Dolph Goldenburg (03:39):

Absolutely. Now I know we’re going to be talking a lot about that 90% and specifically what people should be doing now to plan events. So what should development teams, the world over, be doing about their interrupted fundraising events?

Dean Crownover (03:54):

To put it in perspective of what’s happened to me, I would say 80% of my spring, March, April, and May, which was heavenly booked, moved to the fall. This was probably early March all the way through early April. They all moved to the fall. And then let’s call it 5% canceled and the other 5% started looking at virtual. I had three clients right away want to go virtual. And now as we’re getting near the summer and the fall, all those fall people and the spring people who moved to the fall are calling and saying, “What are we going to do?” So they only have two choices right now: cancel and make nothing or go virtual. And I’m going to quote a client who was the first one to call me nine weeks ago. It’s a regular client that I’ve had for years and she goes, “We’re going virtual. I don’t know what this virus is going to do. We’re just going virtual.” And I didn’t understand exactly what that meant as far as benefits go, but here’s her quote: “I’d rather make half than make nothing. So it’s going to fall the way it does and we’re just going to enjoy it.” And I was like, that’s a great attitude. So that’s the attitude that I’m trying to give all my clients or get them to have.

Dolph Goldenburg (05:14):

And I got to share with you, I’m right on the same page with you. I don’t really do event fundraising consulting, but I’ve talked to lots of clients that have big events every year. Some of them have actually postponed their big events to the fall. But I’ve just said to them, “If you really think you’re going to get 300 or 400 people in a room, you’re not, even if the government will allow you to do it, people are not going to show up.”

Dean Crownover (05:40):

Short of the vaccine, yes, you’re absolutely right. It’s not going to happen. There’s talk of a hybrid version of this where a certain amount of people are in the room. In fact, I had a client talk yesterday. They hope maybe they can get their sponsors in the room and do everything else virtual at the same time. And I said, “I don’t know if you want to incur that expense.” Because one of the pros of going virtual is the saving of the expense of the food, the catering, the booze, the venue, all of that. I don’t think virtual is going to 100% replace live. It’s not. People love to be around other people. Right now, it’s the only choice. And the truth is it’s working.

Dean Crownover (06:23):

I told a client, “Here’s the way you have to approach virtual. It is not like your live event where it’s apples and oranges. It’s apples and palm trees. It is two totally different things. Do not go into this with the numbers from last year at your live event and compare them. You start at absolute zero; you have no data for virtual. And let’s see what happens.” Let’s see, I’ve done three now and I’ve got a bunch more coming up on the horizon. It’s been really good in that all three clients have been thrilled. Some we made more than we thought in certain activities like the fund-a-need. Some tried the live auction and it was okay. The live auction is a hard one right now because of trips and dinners and all that. It’s a hard one for buyers to see. They’ll be able to use them soon, but they can’t see how soon. So the fund-a-need is where all the action is and that’s where it’s doing, believe it or not, pretty strong. People want to give. They still want to give.

Dolph Goldenburg (07:27):

So I’ve got to jump in though, cause I’m one of these folks who’s having a hard time wrapping my head around what a virtual event looks like. If I buy a ticket to an event that’s going to be in a ballroom somewhere, I probably can bet there’s going to be a 60 to 75 minute cocktail hour and then they’ll ring some chimes and we’ll all move into a room somewhere. Then either we’ll have dinner where there’ll be a presentation or we’ll sit down or stand and there’ll be a presentation. And that’s where the fund-a-need happens. And that’s where the live auction happens. And if there’s a silent auction, you know, I’m doing that during the reception while I’m chatting with friends and meeting new people. So that’s what I think about as an event and I just can’t figure out how that would be done virtually, especially the cocktail hour where you’re socializing, et cetera. So what are your clients virtual events actually looking like?

Dean Crownover (08:19):

Good question. First let me say virtual is the wild wild West right now. It’s starting to get tamed. I talk with a ton of auctioneers. We’re constantly touching base with best practices, so best practices are starting to bubble up. Okay. I’m going to compare these events to a TV show. So the way we approach it is script it like a TV show in a sense. In some respects it is very much like a live event in structure. Instead of waiting for people to get into a room, showing them the things they can buy or the way they can give, what we’re doing is we’re putting it up a week before.

Dean Crownover (09:09):

One of the best practices we’ve learned is to put your silent auction, your live auction, and your fund-a-need up a week before your event. So the event, the live event, is a closing of all this. That’s the structure. So you put it all up and you encourage donors to go sign up with their mobile bidding company, like GiveSmart, or one of those because you have to have that. And then you’re telling donors to start bidding now, start giving now. But then at 7:00pm on this day, tune in live and we’re going to have our presentation.

Dean Crownover (09:55):

Another best practice is, for an hour before we go live, start a slide show, just like you would in a pre-function during the cocktail hour. A slideshow with some slides of your sponsors and the live auction items. But lots of slides about what you do, who your client is, who you represent, facts, figures. Put all of that in there. And also information about how to sign up to bid for those who haven’t, yet. Now I’m a big fan of throwing some videos in there. Little, short videos because with virtual everything must be shorter. The attention span for virtual is very small and you can see people logging on and off, you can see the numbers jump or go down. So from 6:00pm to 7:00pm-ish, run slides and a little bit of videos. My job is through all of this is that I’m live, ready to go, so I come on and do either a voiceover or on camera say, “Hey, this is Dean. We’re going live in 45 minutes. Make sure you do X, Y, and Z and check out this new item.” That kind of thing.

Dean Crownover (11:07):

Then at 7:00pm we go live. Everybody’s a little different, but the structure so far for me is usually I come out, I introduce who I am and explain how we’re going to do things, how to bid, how we’re going to close down the live auction. And I bring in the executive director. Let me talk a little bit right now because of social distancing, the three events that I’ve done, the executive director has been in the studio with me. We’re six feet apart. We make a big deal out of that. We make a big deal that the crew is limited and they’re six feet apart and have masks. We want to make sure everybody at home feels comfortable. In the fall that may change, but right now it’s usually only one of their people, usually the executive director, on the stage with me. And I say stage or studio. And we run this together, basically. So I introduce them. They say their piece about who the organization is and why we’re here. I’m a big fan of going right into the fund-a-need and that may have a testimonial preambling it like it would at a gala, but we get right into the fundraising. So fund-a-need right into the live auction. And then if there’s any awards, anything we need to do after the fact, we’ll do that and then we’ll close the silent auction. Short and sweet. 30 minutes seems to be the number that people say we need for the live event. I’ve done 45 minutes to an hour, and they worked out great. I think 45 minutes is fair, but let’s get all that fundraising in much earlier. I would say in the first third.

Dolph Goldenburg (12:58):

Okay. Dean, I got lots of questions for you now. I love the information you’ve provided, but gosh, it raised more questions for me. Are people actually buying a ticket to the virtual event the same way they would a live event? Or is it a free event that anyone could just log into from home?

Dean Crownover (13:14):

Free. In fact, I literally just had a conversation yesterday with a client who already presold tickets and nobody’s asked for their money back. So they’re going to keep it closed. That’s the first one I’ve heard of, but all of them are free. In the spring, when I first did the first two, they’d already sold tickets. So they asked the goers, “Would you like to apply this money towards the fund-a-need or would you like your money back?” And 99% said fund-a-need. A couple wanted their money back. Best practice is do not charge because you can go worldwide. That’s another pro on this: you can go worldwide. I’ve had people tuning in from Singapore and Australia, so don’t charge,

Dolph Goldenburg (13:57):

It’s funny because I thought you were going to say, “Yeah, you should charge.” But, okay, I was wrong. So you say best practice is don’t charge and try to build it the largest audience you possibly can.

Dean Crownover (14:08):

Most clients will tell you the ticket price pays for production. That’s your venue, that’s your food, that’s me, that’s sound, that’s anybody involved. One client said they’re saving $60,000 or $80,000 or something like that by doing this. When I start looking at it like that, then there’s no reason to charge. And most clients aren’t. I haven’t heard of any that are.

Dolph Goldenburg (14:30):

You just pitched me the softball because when you started saying some things about production costs that I don’t know how to price out. And I bet a lot of our listeners don’t either. So I heard you say “in a studio” and when I hear that, I think some type of studio fee, people operating the cameras, probably some high-end videography for that 60 minutes beforehand where you’re running videos and presentations, etc. So what should organizations be budgeting?

Dean Crownover (14:59):

Well first of all, you don’t have to have high-end anything. Good sound for sure, but not high-end anything. You can shoot this all on your phones. You can use computers. I’m encouraging clients to find old videos that they have that can be re-edited. And most of that pre-function video is slides, it’s PowerPoint that is free to create. But to answer your question, I work with three companies here and they are quoting anywhere between $3,000 and $7,500, which is still cheaper than on-site sound for an event.

Dolph Goldenburg (15:39):

If I can jump in real quick. Most organizations pay between $50 and $100 per meal. So if those companies are only charging $5,000, that’s only a hundred people at $50 per meal, or 50 people at $100 per meal. So, yeah, that’s not so bad.

Dean Crownover (15:54):

I want to stress, virtual, in some ways, is much more time consuming than a live event because I’m a big fan of doing a rehearsal. The first one I had less than 24 hours to make it happen, so we didn’t have time for that. But the next two had rehearsals. One had a virtual rehearsal, the other an in-person rehearsal. Rehearsals are really for tech so when we rehearse it goes really, really smoothly. There’s a lot more involved that way. You’re not just winging it. I don’t suggest winging it, you really want to be ultra-prepared. Scott Robertson, another great auctioneer down in Florida, will tell you to be over prepared. As an actor, I come from that philosophy as well. If you don’t know your lines, they are going to fire you. So I have to be ultra-prepared for anything that’s going to go wrong. I encourage new auctioneers who have not done this before to overly prepare because they don’t know what’s going to happen, especially if they’ve never been on camera.

Dean Crownover (16:56):

But here are the components that you’re getting with the tech side of this. Number one, you have a live stream. That’s your Facebook Live or your YouTube Live, which are usually free. Two, you have me as your ringmaster, as I like to say it. Three, you have your tech company. They usually run two cameras and control everything that’s being seen on the live stream. They’re running your slides, and the live feed audio. They’re running it all. And we have put this in an order and practiced it. So everybody understands what runs before what. It’s written out. Scripting is so key. Script, script, script. Fourth, you have your mobile bidding component. Now, some mobile bidding companies are combining with live streaming. I think GiveSmart and Facebook have joined forces so customers only have to log into one thing instead of two and save the extra step. Normally you would log into GiveSmart for the week to start bidding and then that evening you log into them but then you also log into Facebook. So those are the four components you must have to make this work.

Dean Crownover (18:13):

The tech crew’s job is to make sure all of that is seen and heard well. And you’re going to be working with them quite a bit. I would say more than you would before a live gala. Before a live gala you send over the slides, you send over the video the night of the event, you spend a couple hours running it before we open the doors, just to make sure it’s all good. This is going to be a couple of days before you’re running it to make sure we’re all good and then you got to go fix something.

Dolph Goldenburg (18:45):

I know you said that the tech crew is running your cameras and doing all of that. And I think you said you can get that for between $3,000 and $7,500?

Dean Crownover (18:54):

Yeah, in my market in Atlanta. That’s about where it runs. Depending on the bells and whistles and how big or small they are.

Dolph Goldenburg (19:01):

Okay. What I think I’m hearing you say, then, is maybe someone could produce an entire event, including paying an auctioneer like you who’s also doing the backend work, for probably $15,000 or $20,000 all in.

Dean Crownover (19:15):

That’s about right. You’re looking at tech, me, mobile bidding, any other little thing. Because you’re going to have some other things, editing, things like that. So yeah, I think $15,000 to $20,000 is about what I’ve been saying.

Dolph Goldenburg (19:30):

Wow. That is really super cool. What are you seeing organizations bring in through their virtual events? I know you said you’ve done a few already, so ballpark it for us, what are you seeing them bring in?

Dean Crownover (19:39):

It’s all over the place. Here’s a stat that I’m finding unique: about a third to two thirds of the people are tuning in versus what you would have at a gala. So if you have 500 people that normally come to a gala, you may have 200 log in to your virtual event. But I look at it as it’s not 200 people, but it’s 200 wallets. Because let’s assume a lot of them are couples and they’re logged in together. Same thing at a gala. You don’t have 500 wallets, you have 250 or 300. So you have to look at it as far as wallets go. But we’re seeing less people are tuning in.

Dean Crownover (20:20):

So for one client we just did the fund-a-need. I think the year before it made $140,000 with 500 people in the room. For the virtual event this year, we were at $50,000 one or two hours before we went live. We were thrilled. We were shocked. And remember it’s been up all week. Five minutes before we go on it’s up to $60,000. Then when I did the call out for it, about 20 or 30 minutes into the live part, we got to $134,000. And then I think they had some more, because they kept it two days later, so I’m waiting for the numbers. But I have a funny feeling that it reached what we did last year. The official number I can quote is about $134,000. But that’s amazing. And I’m hearing other auctioneer’s that it’s going over. That’s the fund-a-need. Note every market is different.

Dean Crownover (21:14):

Early March virtual auctions are like the stone age compared to today. And I’m only talking a matter of weeks, I kid you not. The second event I did we had a little bit more time with a whole week extra. They made 41% of what they would have made at the event. But they saved $60,000 or $70,000. They had a smaller participation. But they were thrilled with the participation and they still did wonderfully well. So when you compare all these things overall, it’s working. I’ve got auctioneers telling me it’s going gangbusters. Some are going way over. So it depends on the market. The big fear right now and the big talk amongst auctioneers is unemployment being so high and businesses being closed. It’s hard to get things to sell. People have got to watch their wallets, so will they give? And we’re finding they still are. Even in the recession of 2010 and 2008, people were still giving. And I’m seeing them give now.

Dolph Goldenburg (22:29):

I got to jump in because I said this to someone yesterday. Yes, unemployment right now is ridiculously high. Depending where you’re at, it’s between 20% and 38% unemployment. But there’s a lot of people who are not out of work. And I actually used my husband and I as an example: we are not out of work, and we actually remarked about three weeks ago how much lower our household expenses are. We’re not going out to eat, we’re not booking trips, we’re not doing weekends away. And we both thought, “Oh my gosh, there’s these charities we care about and we could give them a big chunk of our savings, savings over what we used to spend when we used to be able to go out and do things.” So I actually think, and this is a little bit of a niche, but there’s going to be a significant percentage of people that have more money to give now than they did before.

Dean Crownover (23:18):

And those who could always give, and still can, are. Yeah, you’re right about household expenses, by the way. I think ours came down 50% or 60% because we’re staying in and doing things, which I’m actually really digging. I mean, I miss going to work, on a stage, so to speak. But yes, people are still giving. I watched one client, and I’m not going to name who it was, where they had five live auction items that were all consignment items with a very high reserve, like $4,000. And nobody was bidding on them and if they did, they only got one or two bids. I think only one sold. That means the organization made no money. But the first event I did was back in early March during the toilet paper run. The first item I sold was a six pack of toilet paper for $135. My client had the idea and we said, “Well, let’s do it, it will be fun!” And people went nuts. So the humor is still there.

Dean Crownover (24:18):

The event I just did had a bunch of international travel, high-end car leases, and some dinners. And they all did fine. They didn’t do as well as they would at the live event. And I would say with all three that I’ve done so far, it’s the same. The fund-a-need is still the winner. Now here’s what’s happening with the silent auction. They the ones in March already had their silent items; they’d been collecting them all year. They did great. Now every client is calling me going, “What are we going to do about the silent because we’re afraid to ask businesses.” Which I agree with. So if you know the donors really well and you can have an honest conversation and ask them honestly, without feeling weird about it, then have that conversation. Ask them to give now or to reserve some things for your fall event.

Dean Crownover (25:11):

If it feels touchy, don’t ask. Just stay away and wait because your fund-a-need is still going to be your number one. Also consider getting more sponsorships. Because from what I hear from my clients, hardly any sponsors are jumping ship and are switching over to virtual with my clients. And remember, when you switched to virtual, you can offer your sponsors the world, literally the world. Before it was only inside a ballroom and you could put them on a slide and in a program. Now you could run a minute video right before we go live about your presenting sponsor. They can be in every email you send out. Thousands of people can see them. It’s a whole new ballgame. You can get very creative on this. This has opened the door.

Dolph Goldenburg (26:10):

That’s really super cool. I’ve also been having these conversations, not just around fundraising, but also around programming, with some of my clients. The things is that in 18 or 24 or 36 months, or whenever it may be when we’re all back to normal, hose organizations that figure out how to do virtual events now will have much more successful in-person events in three years because they’re going to continue the virtual event as well. And so they’re going to have 500 people in a ballroom, but they’re going to have 150 or 250 or 300 people virtually around the world who are also giving to the fund-a-need and also bidding in the auction, et cetera. So as I think about this, and I really do understand for some organizations that might mean their event income goes down by 50% this year, but if you do this now, you could end up having significantly more income in three years.

Dean Crownover (27:03):

Yeah, it’s the ones that are jumping ship and not doing anything. And I understand the reasons. It’s not about me saving a job for me. I’m fine. I really love nonprofits and I really want them to make money. My wife has worked in nonprofits for years, so I understand the ups and mostly downs of a nonprofit. One said, “We want to be respectful of our guests right now where they may be all unemployed.” I didn’t fight them on it, but I thought, “No, I don’t think you have the right data there. Because I’m seeing people give and even if they gave 25% or 30%, you would have made more than nothing.”

Dean Crownover (27:50):

I want to say something about the run of show by the way: for virtual it’s got to be short, short, short. I said 30 minutes. That means less talking and less speeches. So one best practice, and one of my clients did this and I loved it: Let’s say someone would have talked for five minutes right before the fund-a-need. Five minutes is long at a live event and too long for virtual. So they taped this person giving his full five minute speech. They sent it out early the week we opened and said, “Here’s our funding person, check this out at your own leisure.” Then they edited it down to a minute or so for the live broadcast right before the fund-a-need. Which I loved. So think about all the different things you can do with your videos. Another example, one client shot some videos of the staff each saying 30 seconds worth of things and popped them in between the slides during the pre-function. A best practice seems to be showing a 30 second video after we close a couple of live auction items. So the school I just worked with featured their theater program. I would close out a couple of items and then I’d say, “We’ll be back right after this.” They had three or four different things they’re doing at the school. We’re talking 30 second videos. It’s a commercial. So this is again where clients can get so creative and have so much fun. And know they don’t have to have the high-end costs. It doesn’t have to be ultra-grade as far as this is shot. It doesn’t. People forgive that kind of stuff online.

Dolph Goldenburg (29:23):

I liked that you pointed it out, but I love the fact that you can take someone’s speech and edit it down. None of us, as event attendees, like to listen to 10 minutes of the board chair rambling. We just don’t like to do it.

Dean Crownover (29:37):

When’s the last time you went to one of these and said, “Man, I hope they have more speeches!” I will never forget this ever. I’m standing on the side of the stage waiting to go on after a woman who is getting an award. And she literally turned to me and goes, “I’ll be 20 seconds.” I go, “Great!” She got up there for 25 minutes. It set the food behind, it set everything behind. We made less money. We couldn’t control her. I couldn’t bring out a big hook and pull her off the stage. What do you do? With virtual events, clients can control every single aspect. Except for me when I’m live, but I’m not going to go crazy on them. So you can edit and you can rehearse.

Dolph Goldenburg (30:22):

Absolutely. Well, Dean, I want to make sure we’ve got time for the off-the-map question. Obviously we’re recording this one at a time when the vast majority of us are still at home all of the time. And so my off-the-map question for you is: What is your survival strategy with your family so that you still have fun even though you can’t leave the house?

Dean Crownover (30:44):

This is where it’s been shocking. I’m a true homebody. When I’m on stage and I’m finishing up, I think about is getting in my car as soon as I can. Because I love being at home. I love the job I do, but I love being at home. We bought a house with a deck about five years ago, this double layer deck. It’s huge. Prior to this virus, I have probably been on that deck and sat out there 10 times. Maybe. We have eaten on that deck every single day for two months when the weather is appropriate, which is almost every day. We play more games, do more puzzles. My 13 year old, all he cares about is video games anyway, but we still have our movie nights.

Dean Crownover (31:31):

And my wife and myself, she and I have gotten along so well. We’ve been together almost 30 years. It’s very rare that we get into a mood where we have to be away from each other. We don’t fight. We don’t do any of that. Yesterday I was in that mood. I just didn’t want to see anybody for about an hour. But I’ve been really, really lucky because we’re savers, so we have money in the bank to keep us riding through until the fall. So I’m not as stressed. But I’ve got to tell you, here’s the worst part of it. There’s a lake down the street that everybody walks around and we have to walk our dogs. It’s like a gauntlet of trying to get around people and away from people. And that’s the only drag on this is that I’m afraid to go outside now because of people. Now I’ve been in front of people, thousands of people nightly normally, but I can’t even walk in my own neighborhood now because everybody’s out with their family. And I don’t like that. It should only be me.

Dolph Goldenburg (32:29):

I hear you. I’ve got to share with you: We live about a block off of Peachtree Street in Atlanta. For folks that don’t know Atlanta, Peachtree Street is the main drag. We have never seen many people out and we’re walkers, we don’t drive that often. We have never seen so many people out on the sidewalks to the point that, if I leave the house, I have to wear a mask because I don’t want to be on Peachtree Street and have 48 people all around me. It just skeeves me out. So I hear you.

Dean Crownover (32:54):

I had my mask in my pocket because we do have a lot of elbow room. There’s a little path around the lake, but there’s streets, too, and we walk on the streets. But nobody abides by the rules. Listen, right now, whoever’s listening to this: when you’re walking, you walk against the cars. So the car sees you. You don’t walk on the other side. So if you’re coming and I’m obeying the law and walking on the correct side of the street and there’s not a sidewalk, you better move because I’m not. But I usually do. I usually do. I’m the mover and I hate it. That’s the only drag here, it’s trying to be uber safe for everybody. There’s a lot of people who aren’t paying attention. I have a theory that when you decide, “Hey, I’m going on vacation” and that first day of vacation, your brain and your common sense go out the window. Like when you’re at Disney World and people don’t see you and they run into you because they’re too goofy. So yeah, it’s kind of the same thing going on right now.

Dolph Goldenburg (33:54):

Right. Absolutely. Well, Dean, it has been so great chatting with you. Listeners, if you want to learn more about Dean’s services, whether live or virtual, and right now it’s probably virtual, then visit his website: I also want to share with you that Dean is offering a free one hour consultation about making your next fundraising event virtual. So if you’re trying to think through it and you want some help, go to and reach out to Dean. Again, I have to share with you, I have had consultations with Dean. He provides such expertise and such insight. Literally just an hour with Dean can raise you thousands more. So make sure you check out his website for his phone number, email address, and contact form. Hey, Dean, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Dean Crownover (34:47):

Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it. Now I’m going to put on my sweats and go outside and do my patio.

Dolph Goldenburg (34:54):

Yeah, exactly. Well, Listeners, if you were to jazzed up thinking about your next virtual fundraiser and finally being able to cut 18 minutes out of your board chairs’ remarks, then don’t worry about it. Keep being jazzed up about that and you can go to to get all of the links from today’s show. Now there you will also find time-stamped highlights, a full transcript, and more. And while you’re there take a moment to reach out to me. I don’t do event fundraising consulting, but I always love to hear from guests and I promise to personally return your email. Although, full disclosure, it can take me a few days because I have really good hygiene when it comes to my email. And please, Dear Listener, do not forget to subscribe, rate and review the podcast. It’s one more way to tell me that you enjoyed the podcast and to help other people find it. So, while we’re talking about it, let me give real quick shout out to Mary H who reviewed the podcast in March. She said that the “insights and guests are not to miss for any nonprofit leader, easy to listen to and lots to learn.” Mary, I appreciate your review on iTunes. Thanks, And let me know if there’s anything I can ever do to return the favor. That is our show for the week. I hope you have gained some insight to help your nonprofit thrive in a competitive environment.

Dolph Goldenburg (36:25):

I am not an accountant or attorney and neither I nor The Goldenburg Group provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been provided for informational purposes only, is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. Always consult a qualified licensed professional about such matters.


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