I Need A Moment


Yesterday? Was my biggest fundraiser of the year.

We’re talking:  over 1,100 guests, 113 tables, 11 speakers in one hour, and a fundraising goal of $875,000.


We raised $926,122 (and counting).

I can hardly believe it. This event has never raised this much. I’ve never managed an event that raised this much.

I throw everything I have into this event. I work one-on-one with each speaker helping them craft their story and coaching them on public speaking. I meet them at coffee shops and their houses, wherever and whenever they can meet, because they are the reason people give generously. They are the reason we do what we do at the non-profit we work for. Each of them tells me they want to give back because we’ve helped them so much. There is nothing more rewarding.

Last year we had Patti LaBelle and while she drew some people to the luncheon, those people came because they wanted to see/meet a celebrity, not because they wanted to help foster kids (my opinion based on the fact they didn’t return this year and they didn’t give  very generously at the event). This year I had a local guy, former baseball player and foster care alumni, speak who charmed the crowd. I mean we were going over on time and no one was leaving the room, they were so engaged. There was also a foster mom of 15 years who has raised 20 kids, a brave and adorable 10 year old who got up on stage and sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera (and got a standing ovation), a set of charming, funny twin brothers who are both star athletes, a shy and resilient young man who came to America 3 years ago from The Congo speaking no English and is now about to graduate from high school and go to college, and an amazing young woman with a heartbreaking and inspiring story of triumph over adversity. Most of these kids were the first in their families to be accepted to college, many were the first to graduate high school. Each of these people got into my heart. When I called them up to tell them how much they helped us raise, there was lots of whooping and hollering and pride.

When I stop and think about what we accomplished, I cry. This work is so amazing and so important and I’m so damn proud to be a part of it and be making a difference with what I do. The praise is rolling in. People were stopping me in the ballroom to hug me and tell me congratulations. Others are emailing their praise to me and my bosses. I’m so terrible at receiving compliments but I’m going to try to take it all in. And I’ll probably cry some more.

My guest speaker, the former baseball player, talked about his grandma who was a tremendous influence on him. As a kid, they used to have huge Thanksgiving feasts with enough food to feed an army. After everyone was stuffed, she’d pack it all up and fill up her Lincoln Continental and drive them all with the leftovers down where all the homeless congregated and pass out food from the back of her car. He asked her, “Why do you care, Grandma?” And she told him, “Honey, someone’s got to.”

Yeah, that’s it right there, isn’t it?


35 thoughts on “I Need A Moment

  1. There’s a moral (or three) to this story. People give, because they are moved, not because they saw/met someone famous – you learned from last year and improved this year. Bravo! Also, you stress for a reason. Raising almost a million dollars is no small feat. You work incredibly hard and it shows. This is really awesome, Sizzle, outstanding!

  2. I am not sure if you know this but I dislike when people use the word awesome for things like belts and turkey sandwiches because then what word does one use now? This is AWESOME. You know I have a special place in my heart for the work you and your organization do, and I have to say that I am blown away as well. That is exceeding a goal by any standards. And I am very proud of you! I know you stress about this like crazy and none of that is unfounded. Awesome work!

  3. Well, that made me tear right up! A *huge* congratulations to you. That is an incredible amount to raise at one fundraiser, and it is such a great cause.

    You are making a difference everyday with your work. What an amazing gift.

  4. You ARE Amazing and you did such a wonderful job yesterday! I got goosebumps reading about the speakers in your post and I WAS there yesterday to see them live. I already told you this but there wasn’t a dry eye at our table and everyone there was pulling out their checkbooks before the main speaker was even done. We all need to care- it IS important and you got that message across loud and clear yesterday. You deserve a standing ovation!

  5. Popping in again to ask: are you a member of NDOA? I would love to learn from your success and I know they are looking for presenters for the Spring conference (which is in June). Just sayin’!

  6. Like everyone else, I have a tear in my eye especially when reading grandma’s reason. If only more people were like her (and you) this world would be a better place. Amazing job Sizz…I’m proud to know you.

  7. Congratulations! Every year you work your ass off for this fundraiser and every year you exceed the last. You are AWESOME!!!!

  8. I’m a fundraiser, you know, and that’s one big event. (By the way, I hate fundraising events because they’re SO.MUCH.WORK.) Congrats! I know what it feels like to get a big one behind you. And it does always feel like Friday on the day after the big event, doesn’t it?

  9. CHEERS!!! Your celebrity speaker was my favorite headliner EVER for this event. He was fabulous, had exactly the right message, and rang through with clear sincerity. In prior years, I said the show-stoppers were the kids and not the headliner. But this year, it was a one-two punch. Congratulations!

  10. PS – finally clicked through to see your new site design. I love the graphic. Really catches your personality. =)
    PPS – I love the interface on my ipad… totally different feel to your blog. Don’t know how you did that, but it’s cool!

  11. I grew up being a foster family. My foster siblings shaped my life, and what I chose to do with it. Brava to you for helping these kids. They are wonderful people, who need the support of people who care.

    I’m glad you do.

  12. Congratulations! I know you work so hard at your job. It’s great to see everything come to fruition. Way to go, Sizzle!

  13. That is wonderful, Sizzle! And I can tell from reading your post that you really went the extra mile by working with each speaker one-on-one, and those stories were what made the event such a success.

  14. This made me think of you and all of your hard work…

    You could feel gratitude for all of your successes today. You may feel appreciative because you have noticed that you can use your talents to achieve more in all of your endeavors. It might even seem like things are too good to be true—that your success is unbelievable. Today you may want to let the universe know that you do not take your good fortune for granted. Consider creating a simple phrase or affirmation such as “I am grateful for all I have received” or “I realize my success is a gift from the universe.” By saying your affirmation, you can let the universe know that you recognize the gifts you have received. You will be surprised by how your appreciation can help bring about further success.

    When we obtain success it is important to acknowledge that it is due in part to the divine intervention of the universe. It is no accident that as we develop the confidence to use our talents fully, the universe often rewards us for our accomplishments. So often we overlook our good fortune and may find that we are often acutely aware of the lack in our lives. We seldom fully appreciate the abundance we have received. By using affirmations, we let the universe know not only that we recognize all that we have but that we exist in a place of wholeness instead of lack. This helps us work toward achieving more. Try using affirmations today to express your thankfulness, and your success will know no bounds.

  15. AMAZING! Sizzle, you are amazing! Congrats! I am excited it was another hit this year, and hit more close to home. It sounds like an inspiring event I would like to attend. Is it possible to donate online next year?

  16. Amazing! I’m so impressed–as a nonprofit worker, as a potential adoptive parent who thinks a lot about kids who need homes, and as someone who loves Sizzle Says and likes it when good things happen to you. 🙂

    P.S. Love the new design. It’s probably been up for ages. I am behind the times.

  17. I am smiling through tears over this. I’m so, so happy that you had great results this year.


  18. Sizzle, you’re amazing. I love that this is your job – event-planning and helping make the world a better place. You’re my inspiration. I always hope that whatever I do in this world – whether it be social work, teaching, or whatever else I might decide to do – that it will help change the world for the better, even in the tiniest bit.

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