One of my favorite activities at the annual Edmonds Center for the Arts gala is the Heads or Tails contest. Common at many fundraising auctions, during this event participants are asked to place their hands on their heads or their behinds. The auction emcee then proceeds to flip a coin and announce whether it lands on “heads” or “tails.” And through the process of elimination, after several coin flips, one person is left standing — and wins some type of prize.
But it’s not the activity itself I enjoy. It’s The Art of the Ask. In the case of ECA emcee John Curley, he directs anyone who doesn’t support the ECA to raise their bid card. Everyone else in the room will be charged $10, but of course those who raise the bid cards can opt out. Most years, no one does. I mean, who wants to say no to supporting the ECA at the event’s own auction — especially in a room full of people who are NOT opting out.
So I’d like to try an exercise with each of you. Imagine that you have agreed to attend a fundraising auction to support local news. You are there because you want to ensure that your community has a regular source of information that everyone can access. You may not read that local news source every day, but you feel better know it’s there. You also know it strengthens the community to have a place where readers can engage in discussions about local accomplishments and challenges, and where they can debate how their city tax dollars are spent and their schools are run.
When it’s time for the heads or tails game, do you opt out?
This leads me to another thing I appreciate about this particular game: It highlights the Art of the Reply. You have to think about what your reply means. Playing the game means paying $10. Playing the game means you are valuing the organization. I mean, why did you come to this auction in the first place if you aren’t willing to join like-minded supporters and spend $10 to play the game?
We tend to ignore many requests for a reply these days. Ask anyone who has put on event lately how many people don’t bother to RSVP. In fact, I’m shocked by how many people don’t reply to email or phone messages I send them. Technology glitches aside — and I’ve certainly had my share in recent months with my own email address — few people can master the art of the reply these days.
So here it goes — and you knew this was coming, right? Will you stand up to support MLTnews and the work of our writers, photographers, editors, graphic designers, and tech and marketing support people? To ensure we can attend city meetings and school events, cover public safety and sports, celebrate the work of our local artists and business owners?
Will you join hundreds of other readers who have stepped forward during our virtual fundraising — because they see the value?
My ask is simple: $10 a month. If you can afford more, great. If you want to give less, it is valued and appreciated.
I’ve done the asking. I await your reply.
Until next time,
Teresa Wippel, Publisher