Charity Community Groups Cut Back On Flashy Fundraisers 2009: St Petersburg

Charity community groups cut back on flashy fundraisers

The St.
Petersburg NAACP announced this week that it is postponing the organization’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet scheduled for May 23 at Tropicana Field. “Ticket sales are so-so,” said Pat Spencer, the event chairwoman. “We still have some open tables.” The local NAACP groups are just two of a growing number of organizations forced to adjust their fundraising efforts because of the sluggish economy. The YMCA decided instead to focus on raising money for its Strong Kids campaign, which funds a variety of children’s programs. “It was a better way of using our resources,” said Ashley Zarle, marketing and communications director for the YMCA. The Florida Blood Services Foundation also decided to pull the plug on its 2009 Gift of Life Gala planned for A la Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa. “I just made a decision that the economy was heading in a direction that was dangerous as far as people supporting events such as galas,” said Jane Riley Leach, president of the FBS Foundation. “I felt that there were other avenues that we could take and make as much money with less expense.” Other organizations simply adjusted their plans. Easter Seals, after exploring whether to hold a first ever Jelly Bean Ball, decided this was not the year to launch.
“We are seeing reports that this year especially, that charities are moving away from the more grandiose events,” said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing for Charity Navigator, a national group that evaluates charities.

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