I’ve worked on a lot of benefits. I think nearly 20 of them over the past 15 or so years, that have collectively raised approximately $2.5 million in net proceeds. Some have been small, but most have been big and even a lot glitzy, with top ticket prices, fancy hotel ballrooms and celebrities involved. Every single time I am amazed at the sheer amount of work that goes into them, but also the extraordinary spirit of cooperation and generosity they bring forth.
First, the work. It’s hard to underestimate the amount of work that goes into pulling together an event of even modest size with the high degree of organization, polish and sophistication demanded. Hundreds of details and decisions, large and small — from the event theme to the color of the linens, the fine points of cuisine and the table seating assignments, to the design of the stickers used to identify guests who have purchased raffle tickets. It truly takes a village — dedicated co-chairs and board members, generous volunteers, and always, core staff members who make sure it all comes together.
No matter how organized you are, somehow that final week before an event becomes a blur of long hours, unhealthy food, and ever more items on the to-do list. And that is when I have always been gratified to experience the second ingredient of this different-and-yet-the-same-each-time experience, a group of people who support each other through the home stretch.
At TimeLine two weeks ago, in the evenings leading up to Step Into Time, all of TimeLine’s full-time staff members were here into the night, but we weren’t alone. Many other people took time out of their lives to help. Unlike for us, it wasn’t their job — but their connection to TimeLine and to us was strong enough that it didn’t matter. People pitched in — processing ticket orders, organizing centerpieces, cutting and framing and tying and stacking. When everything inevitably takes a tad longer to accomplish than you think it will, last-minute volunteers like these are a blessing. And when they also come with sustenance in the form of snacks, “refreshments” and even ice cream, there are no words big enough to say thanks.
For me, the experience ends up being pretty great, even with the looming deadline, stress and lack of sleep. It’s a great feeling of teamwork and all-hands-on-deck and “we can do it” spirit. And when I could spend a moment to look around and take in all that was happening, I was most touched by the commitment and belief in TimeLine that buoyed it all.
Of course, the end of the road is a spectacular party, and this year all the work was most definitely worth it! After a day of more incredible volunteerism on the part of scores of folks directly and indirectly connected to TimeLine, the doors opened, the “Berlin Rose” martinis were poured and the party began … and ended before we could believe it had.
You can experience (or remember!) the fun of Step Into Time: Wintergarten Varieté through this video slideshow. You can also visit our page at Flickr.com to see these photos with captions.
Our fearless leader through it all was TimeLine’s Development Manager, Lindsey Becker. She did an amazing job, and has been rewarded with an event that is likely to meet its income goal — upwards of $75,000 — a great feat in these times.
Thank you to EVERYONE who was a part of Step Into Time. We truly — truly — could not have done it without you.