It’s down to seven on Survivor Fundraising Island. Last night the annual gifts tribe won a key immunity challenge, forcing the major gifts team to jettison leader and all-star backstabber Virginia. She was asked to leave the island in a dramatic finish to the planned giving story arc that has included the last three episodes of the award-winning reality TV show.
“We were all thinking that Virginia would be one of the last people standing. Her backstabbing by trying to claim soft credit on Jack, Fiona and Lucy’s planned gift sweep came back to haunt her as her team just gave her up,” says Survivor Fundraising Island Host Jeff Snidely. “The look on her face when she got the news was just amazing.”
The episode opened with both tribes trying to complete the last of ten planned giving challenges – a visit to a retirement home representing various health care charities. The annual gifts team, led by Lisa, drew the lucky card and went as cancer charities, while the major gifts team drew mostly unknown of charities, such as the Double Belly-Button Syndrome Foundation and Botox Injection Rash Research Trust.
Lisa, together, with Joe and Anna, were able to secure four planned gifts at the retirement home, including three wills and a gift of life insurance. Virginia, Jack, Fiona and Lucy were only able to secure one will between them and one gift of stocks. But in a shocker twist, the retiree giving the stock donation turned out to be a fake – a plant by the show’s producers to test the team’s paperwork skills. In a key moment, Virginia forgot to get the fake retiree’s signature on a specific document and the judges disallowed the donation, worth about $65,000.
“I was so sure that Virginia had won,” said Lisa after Virginia had left the island. “She can sell refrigerators to people who live in the high artic. Her perfect hair and dazzling smile. She turns charm on and off like a tap. I thought we were cooked.”
Instead, the tables were turned on Virginia, a major gifts director for a larger hospital foundation. Her amazing coup suddenly vanished. At that very moment, Jack planted a knife in the noted backstabber’s back by teaming up with nature-loving Fiona and wild-woman Lucy to dump their leader. Virginia never saw it coming until it was too late.
“I thought we had agreed that we would select people for sacrifice by how much their donations were. I had the biggest donations. I should have stayed. I have the biggest rolodex. I do the most boot-sucking. It just wasn’t fair,” said a defeated Virginia, who’s incessant crying turned her eye shadow into a racoon look.
“This was the time to move. Virginia had muscled her way in on every major donation we had and claimed it for her own. Every time we had a top prospect, she said she knew them and should be the one to ask them for a donation. We knew she was lying. I reminded the others about this and when we had Virginia in our sites we didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger,” said Jack, the new leader of the major gifts tribe.
“Virginia taught me that showing empathy is the sign of a great fundraiser,” said Lucy, who has a hairdo like Medusa. “That’s why I feel so sorry for her. I plan to send her a thank you card full of empty-sounding phrases of false praise to make her feel better. It’s what she training me to do.”
The original group of 12 fundraisers was reduced to seven after four episodes. Both database experts – Jimmy and Diane – were the first to go because no one liked their constant nagging. They were followed by Jackie, the communications expert, who constantly wanted to write a press release about each major donation. Tina, the youngest fundraiser, and Turner, the finance director were both eliminated when they were eaten by a roaming alligator who inhabits one side of the island. Evidence showed that Turner had tricked the sappy, stupid Tina to the clearing where the alligator lived in order to bump her off, but mistakenly strayed too close to the action and got eaten, too.
Overall, the two tribes have so far raised $3.2 million in donations, however half is in pledges that may or may not be honoured once the final episode runs in a month’s time. As well, many of the planned gifts will not be realized until the retirees die. Despite Virginia’s plans to invite some of them on a field trip to the alligator side of the island, to date, none of these gifts have been realized. In cash terms, only $100,000 is actually in the bank, or only about on tenth of Virginia’s actual salary.
Next week, Survivor Fundraising Island starts a new competition challenge – asking patients to make donations to their doctors and nurses just before they die.