By the time you read this, the 2013 San Juan Brewfest will hopefully be a pleasant memory and a huge success. Thanks to our title sponsor, Chevron, and all other sponsors, breweries, volunteers and participants for helping to make the day a success and for supporting our local United Way.
Nonprofits in our community rely on special events such as this to help raise needed money, while the community benefits from “fun” raised from these events (very punny).
Believe it or not, we are getting close to our next fun event, the 17th annual United Way Radiothon with Four Corners Broadcasting on Sept. 6. The current version of the Radiothon features dozens of wonderful items that are auctioned off live on the air, accompanied by witty entertainment from our local DJs. Businesses gain from increased exposure given to their goods and services, bidders enjoy buying some great items, and of course, the proceeds benefit the work of nonprofits supported by United Way in our community.
The event that began 17 years ago has increased in both funds and fun over the years. In fact, the first Radiothon raised funds somewhat unintentionally. Ward Holmes, current general manager at Four Corners Broadcasting, explained that the first year there were no items up for auction. Instead, eight hours of talking with and about local nonprofits was planned to raise awareness of needs in the community. This event lacked the “fun” of most fundraisers, and unsolicited offers of money to stop the broadcast started coming in over the phone lines.
Eventually, the event took a new turn when a caller offered more than $1,000 to hear Petra Lyon (executive director of United Way at the time) sing on the air rather than continue the broadcast as planned. Howard Green, general manager of Four Corners at the time, complied with the request, and the spontaneous singing fundraiser ended up generating more than $2,000 for United Way of Southwest Colorado. Petra saved the day!
The next year, items were prepared for auction, and bids were passed around between telephone operators on paper bid sheets. All calls were taken on cellphones, and six different call-in phone numbers had sto be acquired to accommodate the calls because there was no rollover feature to handle multiple calls on one line.
Fast forward to today, and you will see a computerized system, improved phones with call-rollover capability and auction items displayed in The Durango Herald and online, because of the work of our generous sponsors. The event has also become more and more fun and tends to generate a bigger bottom line than it did in those early years.
Our goal is to raise $60,000 from this year’s Radiothon. Twenty-eight nonprofit agencies that provide critical services to the community will be the big winners, and we will all have some fun!
If you would like to donate an item, volunteer your time or review items for bidding, please visit www.uwradiothon.org. Thank you for Living United.
Lynn Urban is president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado.