by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
What do temporary holiday stores, big-name designer Kate Spade and NCCF have in common?
We all have operated pop-up events!
We had a great time in Hickory late last month with the Catawba Valley Community Foundation and the Unifour Foundation helping us to host our first-ever Pop Up Philanthropy! This may have been the first Pop Up Philanthropy event anywhere, but we do not have documentation to legally claim this distinction. In other words, we are not contacting the Guinness Book of Records.
Pop up events aren’t necessarily a new concept. We all have experienced stores and exhibits that “pop up” and draw in crowds, and then either disappear or morph into something else.
But this was our very first pop up event, and we had a great time in this planned spontaneity! We invited folks together for a quick boxed lunch and then provided the opportunity to meet and mingle with our staff and foundation volunteers to learn more about grants, how to start or grow a fund and the NCCF affiliate foundation model. It was kind of like a trade show or similar to a speed dating event, whichever you’re more comfortable attending. We even dared the audience to try and stump our staff. To my knowledge, this did not occur!
There were a couple of reasons for us to host this pop up event -- the first being an opportunity to connect personally with current and potential grantees, current and potential endowment partners as well as our local board members. It was valuable time spent as we got lots of great questions and feedback.
We also wanted to bring our brand to life. We all know that technology, if we let it, has the capacity to remove the personal aspect from many endeavors, including philanthropy. After all, you can give online, decide grants online and communicate almost totally online. But we know relationships matter, and we work to find ways to connect with our grantees, fundholders and partners each day.
We enjoyed this first pop up event so much we are planning others in the future. Who knows? We may be popping up in your community soon.
And while our event may be temporary, one of the very best things about working with a community foundation is permanence. The funds you establish with us today truly are assets that will work for your community in perpetuity. They do not pop up and disappear, but are around forever.
I don’t think Kate Spade will ever be able to say that.