Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Raising Funds

This week, and it's only Wednesday, provided me with two contrasting perspectives on fundraising.  First off, I went to a phone-a-thon for my children's school to get families to donate to the Annual Appeal Fund.  I am always shocked that there is any family that wouldn't donate a $1 to the school that is educating their child, but there always is.  I volunteer to make calls and hope to get any donation for the school.  There was a sizable group of us calling families that haven't donated yet.  Some callers had success, some callers left messages, some callers were denied.  

It makes me shake my head that there are those who never respond at all, yay or nay.  It's the same thing as not hitting the reply button on email.  Some may say if they don't respond that's the answer, but to me it's both courteous to respond and also could be helpful to the school if reasons were given for not donating.  If your child is a student at a school, shouldn't you want to show support for the school? If you don't like the school, then why remain at the school?  

I find it fascinating the convoluted world between development offices and donors to be.  I have been on both ends of this spectrum, but I would clearly not stay at a school that I couldn't support in some way.  Even scholarship families could donate something.  I think that it should be part of the scholarship agreement. If a child's family  getting financial aid from a school can't manage to save $10 before the end of the school year, there must be something wrong with the system.  I remember when I was young in California and going to hear about E.S.T. ( a consciousness raising seminar), and the one thing you couldn't say was "I can't afford it."  That was the worst excuse because if you really want to do something, you can always figure out a way.  They used to say collect cans and get the deposit money.  That still could be true.  I have friends that have always managed to not have money, unless it was something that they wanted, then the funds were there.  So that brings me back to the phone-a-thon.  We did have some success, but really the fact that people need to be tracked down in order to support the school where their child is getting their education is stunning.  I know it's true at every school, everywhere.  It isn't singularly true for our school, but it is the one that I care about.

The next evening, I was invited to a friendraiser.  A woman I know supports a theatre company and had a cocktail party to introduce friends to the group.  It was a brilliant way to go.  First of all, presented in that way, I didn't hesitate to say we'd go.  What a great way to present a theatre company to new people.  They had brilliantly talented and known talent sing songs from shows that they have produced and that they are producing in the future.  Thrilling and in the most friendly and relaxed setting.  A brilliant way to fund raise.  We left the event pumped up and inspired to get involved in some way.  No dollars were discussed.  No money exchanged hands. I had never been to anything like that before and I hope that it is a trend for the future.  It is a warm and fuzzy way to increase your fund base.  Brilliant!!  Actually, feel rejuvenated today about the future of the theatre and that isn't easy!

SIDEBARS:  Dancing With the Stars' season finale.  Surprisingly thrilling and painful.  Thrilling because the three final couples were astonishingly talented and great to watch. Painful because we had to sit through one hour and twenty minutes to see their final dances.  Both moving and off putting, Gladys Knight's singing of The Way We Were.  House is now over.  In the annuls of television history and syndication.  Repeats for many years.  It was a fitting ending, though not sure how satisfying.  On a very personal note, we have been trying for years to get the medals due my deceased Uncle for his service in World War II.  He went MIA right at the end of the war and crushed a family.  A huge loss for all of us that didn't get to know him.  These medals won't change anything, but to see a Purple Heart up close is more moving than I'd ever imagined.  There other medals and more to come down the road.  Grateful to an old high school classmate who helped direct us to the right venue to finally have success!

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