Fundraisers feel the pinch of the economic downturn
Published Tuesday, January 19, 2016 4:07PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 19, 2016 6:56PM MST
Some of Calgary’s best known parties will be smaller this year, and others won’t happen at all due to the downturn.
First it was the Christmas parties that were cut back or cancelled, now 2016 will likely see events of all kinds taking a hit. It’s especially bad news for charities that rely on lavish fundraising events to meet their goals. The Bill Brooks Prostate Cancer Benefit is one of them.
“It’s a real fun celebration of life,” said founder Bill Brooks. “It’s a big stand-up, schmoozy cocktail party with amazing food stations and special drink stations and scotch bars, great dancing, killer dancing, killer décor and amazing silent auction items.”
The party is still going ahead this year, though ticket sales are down by about 12%. The event has raised $7.2 million for prostate cancer research, so the profit off of tickets sales is important.
“It was never a consideration for us to not go forward with the event because let’s be honest, prostate cancer does not know what a recession is, one in seven men will still develop the disease in their lifetime,” said Brooks.
For smaller groups, the hit is even more serious. Punjabi Community Health Services Calgary is getting into the fundraiser game at a difficult time.
“We're hoping there's enough diversity in our community that people will come out and support the organization and for a small ticket price at least show a little bit of support and get to know the organization,” said Meenu Ahluwalia. “Because this is our first fundraiser and we really want to be out there, gain some traction.”
With fewer and smaller events this year, venues are also suffering. The Metropolitan Conference Centre hosts many kinds of events, but is expecting this to be a lean year.
“It’s the smaller groups where they can get away without renting an outside venue, they can hold their meetings internally in a board room or conference room, they are actually staying at home,” said Howard Silver.
The Met hasn’t had any cancellations yet, but booked events are spending less on food, décor and entertainment, and many are hoping to still raise enough money to serve their clients.