I recently returned from a trip to El Paso where a group of eight from our church did volunteer work at Lydia Patterson Institute.  It’s a great high school that primarily serves English as a second language students, most of whom live across the border in Juarez.

Late June in West Texas — it’s hot without a cloud in the sky — and we had some tough work to do.  But you didn’t hear whining from us (not much anyway) and actually there was much chatter and laughter.

We didn’t all know one another beforehand but by sharing in this work we believed in and being open to new experiences, we soon started to bond. (It also helps to have a few class clowns.)

Shared laughter creates a bond of friendships. When people laugh together, they cease to be young and old, teacher and pupils, worker and boss. They become a single group of human beings. – W. Lee Grant

Laughter can also create a shared bond at a fundraising event.  From a stand up comic show like the one that benefits Children’s Hospital in Cleveland to a big-time event like Red Nose Day, comedy themed events can be fun and raise a lot of money for a cause.

In my research and interviews for Secrets of the Charity Auction Experts, the idea that people still want to go to charity events simply to have a good time came up several times.  After all, you can go to a movie any night of the week, but a comedy show, that’s for a good cause?  That’s different.

Speaking of different, here’s a fundraiser that is really unique. Michael C. Anthony performs his comedy hypnosis show “Hypnotized” as a fundraiser for many organizations.

The show is organized by the company Raise The Funds who works with nonprofits to set up the show, provides online ticket sales, prizes and other marketing help to promote the event.  The host provides the venue, including sound system, lighting, and a technician, a sales force to ensure maximum ticket sales and volunteers on the day of the show.  This partnership can result in thousands of dollars raised, at a fun event that people will be talking about for months and years to come.

This is one my favorite video clips from Michael’s stage shows.  He convinces his (hypnotized) volunteers that a belt is a deadly snake!

So how can laughter boost the morale of your organization? A shared volunteer experience that’s positive and builds friendships? Or even a fun fundraiser that encourages giving?

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Posted on 24 June 2009

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