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Watch Parties: Are they SAFE?

I think it's safe to say in this "new normal" we are all eager to get back to gathering with friends, family and our fellow donors. However, when will it be safe to truly do so?

Well, from my perspective, not until there is a vaccine.

I know, I know, "Come on, Kelly, we really want to have a watch party for our event and our state or county says it is okay."

If your state or county says that you may gather, you may, but do your really need to? Let's dive a little deeper into the reasons you may want to skip the Watch Parties until a later date.


First, there is still a highly contagious virus floating about. And whether you are asymptomatic or not, who wants to risk getting sick or getting someone else sick? Especially your amazing and generous supporters. No one. It's just not worth it.

Gathering together in a large group of 100 or in a small intimate party of 10, people can still put folks at risk. With the incubation time of up to two weeks to show symptoms or to never show symptoms and just be a carrier, you could cause harm to those in your family or friend circles. And I can't imagine finding out that I was the deliverer of the coronavirus putting peoples lives at risk, nor do I want to. Could you?


Second, let's assume you get the unfortunate news that someone at your Non-Profits watch party becomes sick. What does that look like for your organization?

Well, you will need to alert everyone at the party that they could have been exposed and they will need to quarantine for 14 days. And they will also need to alert all the folks they have engaged with since the party to let them know as well. During these conversations it is likely your organizations name will be mentioned as the location (your watch party) from which the incident was first identified. So you, as a non-profit, will be tied to this event.

And now you have to work on some damage control. People are going to get angry. They are going to have questions. And if you are in the unfortunate situation where the local news picks up the story, well, get ready for LOTS of question on why you made this decision in the midst of a pandemic.

This has actually already happened. You can read the story from The Washington Post about the outdoor garden soiree held by a co-chair of the Washington Ballet. The night was beautiful, but the aftermath was not.

I'll leave you with a quote from one of my colleagues who acutely identified what you need to consider before hosting a watch party.

"All the 'hold harmless' waivers in the world won't fix your reputation in the court of public opinion, or erase your name potentially being tied to an outbreak in Google results for who knows how long." - Jenelle Taylor

Make your decision, wisely.


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