Nonprofit award ceremonies that are really suppose to be fundraising galas are a waste of time and money. Yes, some people enjoy sitting for hours on end to clap their hands as everyone must make their way to the podium to receive a cheap inscribed plastic plaque or trophy – which was most likely paid for from a portion of your ticket price to be there. Clearly another portion went for the food and drink. Which leaves the charity with exactly how much money? Not much at all. And sadly this kind of stuff goes on all the time in America. My wife just attended a gala where this occurred this week. After about 25 or more awards were handed out and different people were honored they were finally ready to get to what the cause of the charity is all about – and it’s mission isn’t about handing out plaques. Yes, there is a time and a place to honor specific people within the nonprofit sector. Sometimes this entails a plaque or trophy, but many times it does not. You should always honor people (i.e. donors, board members, executive directors, employees, volunteers, etc…) in ways that truly honor them. Sometimes this means a one-on-one dinner and other times it is a hand-written letter of gratitude from the heart. Know your people, honor them each according to the way they are most honored and keep your fundraising galas fun and not a long drawn out show of appreciation.