By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
With an increasing number of Indian corporations and multi-national companies focusing on CSR initiatives and NGO’s hosting fundraisers, interest in charity dinners and auctions has jumped several fold, especially in the metros.
Research: Before the event, research the organization, their cause and the trustees as this information will help you conduct smarter conversation at the event. If possible, get a sense of the guest list too.
Dress Code: Formal – dark business suits for men and a sari/ dark business suit/ cocktail dress for the women.
Seating: Usually it’s pre-fixed, with the VIPs seated at the head table. Although your spouse and you will be seated on the same table, there’s a high chance that the others on your table maybe strangers – don’t change your table to sit with your friends. Charity dinners are usually attended by senior professionals & businessmen, offering a good chance to network.
Conversation: Make polite conversation with your neighbors about the event and the cause. Participate in the conversation at your table and say complimentary things about the charity & the event. If your host invites the guests to join him in raising a toast, participate enthusiastically (toast with water if you’re a teetotaler).
It’s a social event: Focus your conversation on the event and other charitable causes, staying away from overt business talk. If someone brings up business, wrap up the conversation politely, offering to meet them for a coffee at a later time.
Should I buy/pay? While there’s no obligation to buy or make a donation, it’s nicer if you bid/ buy an affordable item (e.g. raffle ticket.). When bidding, don’t become competitive – this event is not about winning, it’s about contributing to society.