Holiday Meal Special Statement

Executive Summary: It's Steve's fault.  (it really is)  Read on!

When we started this journey, Darren Medlin and I were charged with infusing a little excitement into Chapter 35.  We were encouraged to try new things and shake things up a bit.  We experimented.  Some things worked, some things didn’t.  I did this again for the Holiday Banquet, encouraging your Facility Manager to:

  • Better control the menu so all members knew ahead of time what would be served.  This differs a little from a regular meeting meal which is more ad hoc – pot luck.  The pot lucks are fun, however I felt the meal tenor needed to be different for the holiday meal.
  • Recognize that this is a banquet and that our volunteers would be cooking more.  Their out-of-pocket expenses would be higher.  Offer to reimburse our fantastic volunteers for their meal-related expenses.  Request receipts or cost estimates for later analysis.
  • Ask all to pay for their meal, including our volunteers.
  • Analyze the meal cost versus revenue to ensure we were able to deliver the banquet within budget and verify we weren’t killing ourselves to manage costs when a caterer could deliver equivalent value.

It was a brilliant plan, with enough good intentions to pave a path to Hades.  Here’s what happened:  Our volunteers answered the call, but many declined reimbursement.  To reward their generosity, we asked them to pay for their meal anyway.  This was an unintended and regrettable consequence.

We learned from this experiment.

  • We now have a better handle on the actual cost of the holiday meal.  (spoiler alert, it  was another phenomenal meal delivered under budget)
  • We validated once again, our volunteers are awesome.
  • We confirmed no caterer in their right mind could compete with this!

What we’ll do going forward: We will offer our meal volunteers direct reimbursement or a complimentary meal ticket – their choice.  Thank you everyone for making this an awesome meal.