|Urgent message from the Gathering...
||[Jun. 6th, 2006|09:45 pm]
The Gathering of the Fellowship, Lord of the Rings
Just got this email:
Dear Tolkien Fan,
The Gathering of the Fellowship event is in trouble, and we need your help.
When we first started out on this road, shortly after our successful December 2003 event, we anticipated a renewal of the enthusiasm and fellowship from those three wonderful days to carry on and help fuel our next convention. But even with those lofty feelings, we knew that the Lord of the Rings movies were ended and that film interest was waning, so we were conservative and budgeted for a smaller event. We felt certain, however, that associating ourselves with the new stage musical would bring the fans back to Toronto. Unfortunately, registration sales have consistently lagged behind our targets.
Over the past several months, in order to address the lack of registrations, we have listened to your requests and expanded our guest list, and continued to build The Gathering of the Fellowship into the event that we believed people wanted to see. And truly, we have heard nothing but good "buzz" and enthusiasm from fans—but still the registrations have not sold. It leaves us dismayed that people continue to praise our efforts, and yet do not commit to attend. Guests and programming are very expensive, as you may know, and we are a non-profit group run by volunteers. We can not afford to absorb our losses into the general corporate ledger as may be practiced elsewhere. The money comes out of our own pockets.
After the 2003 event we practically had our whole staff of volunteers move on to other things, leaving precious few of us left. We have struggled to attract new volunteers, and then those that join our team seem to disappear for various reasons. Just in the last month we lost five committee members who decided that they can not attend the event, leaving us in a lurch. The Board of Directors—Anthony S. Burdge, Jessica Burke, and myself—along with a strong, core group of people, have had to wear various hats to juggle all of the necessary tasks. And yet being volunteers, we all have full time jobs and families that we must also attend to. We have not been able to address the floods of emails in a timely manner because of this, and we have been in a constant struggle to manage the few funds that come in with the mounting expenses.
So where are we at? I'll be very specific: we budgeted for 1,000 attendees, yet we have only registered 300. This is in comparison with the over 1,500 we had in 2003. The event is in danger of not happening at all. Already, we are cutting costs to the bone, and concentrating on what people are coming to see: our guests and programming. But none of this will happen unless we can raise the necessary funds within the next ten days.
How can you help? If you know of someone that plans to come to the event but were hoping to pay at the door, please tell them buy now! They can take advantage of the Vacation Packages now on sale (described in the newsletter & on our site), as well as all the discounts and other price reductions we also have on our site. Tell your friends; spread the word. If each of you can bring just one more person to the event, we can hold the event without a hitch. We also understand that many potential attendees may be shying away due to the hotel expenses. If you know someone who wants to attend, but cannot afford the hotel, let us know. We have a good number of folks sharing hotel rooms. The Gathering Friend Finder (groups.yahoo.com/group/GatheringFriendFinder) is a great resource to help would-be room-buddies get in touch and save on expenses. Call your friends, cash in any favors, ask mom to come. We all want this to happen, but we cannot stress enough how much we need your help!
And we will certainly accept free donations. (So anyone out there wishing to help sponsor our event, please let us know! We're in need of sponsors! If you happen to know any multi-millionaires who are also Tolkien fans, maybe they can help us bridge the gap.) The Gathering of the Fellowship is very special to all of us—it is the people that make it so, and the love of the Professor that binds us together. It would be a shame if 2003 were the first and only Gathering.
Why did we decide to burden you with these sad facts? Well, we are literally down to the wire, and no manner of subtle hints and pleas will do it now. We need to be explicit, and because you are the supporters of this event—the ones we are most grateful for—we owed you this honesty.
President, The Gathering of the Fellowship
* To purchase a Registration, please visit the Registration Page.
* To make a Donation, please visit the Operation Gathering website, our fundraising branch.
Please Note: You received this message because your email address is listed by a Registrant for The Gathering of the Fellowship Toronto 2006 Event. If this is not true and you have received this email in error, please disregard and accept my apology.