As has been historically true, people in the upper classes continue to support the arts and other not-for-profit efforts. They invest enormous amounts of time and money to support events that bring attention to worthy causes – and bring in significant donations.
Belonging to the upper echelons of society brings with it high expectations. Participating, generously, in the fund-raising efforts of your peers is required. And failure to take a lead on some causes can bring criticism. Mailboxes are filled with requests.
Institutions such as hospitals, libraries, schools, churches, arts institutions, medical research and political parties all rely in great part on donations from the upper classes. These contributions range from huge capital campaign contributions (ie. new building wings bearing a patron’s name) to annual fundraising campaigns, membership programs, sponsorships, board membership – and more. High status reputations are put on the line when they make big commitments. They have to lean on their friends – as their friends lean on them. This interdependence strengthens a group’s bond.
Busy social calendars are filled with events that people from lower classes might interpret as luxury – champagne, high fashion, reporters, photographers, etc. And, although the high-price elements are all there, the truth is that attendees are “on.” From the planning to the invitation lists to the events, they work to maintain their status within the group.
Middle and lower class fundraising often requires a more hands-on approach to support bake sales and car washes. Families join together to make specific improvements in their communities, such as sending kids on a road trip, buying new band instruments or uniforms. Participation (membership) tends to migrate as their kids grow up so these groups rarely develop a tight connection.