I’ve made my share of embarrassing gaffs onstage at fundraising galas. Most of them were my own fault.
Other times, I felt like any awkwardness could have been avoided, had the nonprofit been upfront with me about internal issues.
Life isn’t a bowl of cherries. Bad situations happen.
Even nonprofits with great missions and stellar achievement records can find themselves in a situation that is uncomfortable, at best. Financial mismanagement. Leadership debacles. Internal strife. Unfortunate accidents or even deaths.
When a crisis shows up in your nonprofit, don’t forget to update your auctioneer, whether she is local or from out-of-state.
Before the gala, tell your auctioneer and other presenters what’s happening to avoid anyone looking out-of-touch onstage. You might even wish to share key messaging points, so — when asked — they can reinforce your story.
That old adage “Never waste a crisis,” comes to mind. Use the situation as a time to course correct — and don’t forget to bring your auctioneer up-to-speed.