FUNDRAISING ADVICE IS LIKE SPRING RAIN: WHEN NEEDED, IT TAKES AGES TO BE SEEN. BUT WHEN WE’RE DRESSED FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION, AND NOT LOOKING FOR IT, SPRING RAIN WILL TURN UP UNEXPECTEDLY.
Like fundraising, spring rain can be followed by wind, thunder, lightning and blackouts – but I’ll leave that to others to explain the dark side of fundraising activities.
It is why, in an earlier article, published in July 2018, I suggested that living and working with humility is the key to volunteering and fundraising success.
So, if we’re all bubbles and lightness to cheer up somebody’s frozen Winter souls, we might tempt them to think of venturing outdoors, to wear a Volunteering sash, and shake a plastic tub to collect funds for a good cause.
A fundraising activity is not like a Marco Polo adventure with physical jewels, spices and teams of horses to be discovered and harnessed for sale.
You might laugh, but for some people, the activity of fundraising feels like an arduous and stressful journey: these volunteers feel like they are on the outer edges of their comfort zone.
Some people find fundraising to be a road of frustration and disappointments, others find it full of good humour and surprises. Whichever way, it is recommended as a personal growth activity. They will find out a little about themselves along the way trying to raise funds for someone else. They will learn something about how to develop their interactions with other people and with communities of communication – whether in person, over the ‘phone or on-line.
At the end of the fundraising activity, an honest review of actions is usually undertaken. Not everyone has met their projected fundraising target or achieved what they might seek as their ‘personal best’ as a fundraiser. But in general, most people have achieved far more than they first thought possible. Fundraising is meant to be fun and a voluntary activity based on good-will and free endeavor.
I’ll happily give a general amnesty for any moth-eared dog or cat who’s prepared to voluntarily raise funds to help people in need. They might be in need themselves, but go about their fundraising activities quietly, or loudly, with enthusiasm, dedication and sincerity to help others. This is the deed work undertaken by noble, altruistic types who benefit from their efforts in so many ways.
Why bother to fundraise? To help someone else is a fundamental need of a normal, socially well-adjusted human being. In my books, someone’s actions speak louder than words. I am impressed when their actions follow their intentions.
In my experience as a fundraiser, this charity work is undertaken in good faith. I respect a fundraiser’s personal integrity for being willing to give up one weekend morning or one Tuesday evening a week to share with others and to give a little of their expertise and experience.
In my view, any discrepancies, misunderstandings or late arrivals during fundraising activities, are listed under the General Business category of ‘publicly pardoned’. I press the ESC button on the keyboard when things go awry because to judge others harshly when they seek to do good seems unfair and unreasonable. There is no place for meanness in fundraising – how could there be?
Along the way in my fundraising activities I’ve found humour, candour, generosity, and lots of support exchanged. In being offered a free stall at a commercial market recently, I was able to ‘donate’ the stall to a youth movement which promotes positive role models, social values and outdoor skills for girls. This was a one-shot opportunity for them. As a result, several members of the Australian Girl Guides Association set up their Saturday morning stall at a local market and promoted the Girl Guide’s youth activities to children under 12 and their families. The Guides sold fundraising packets of biscuits and handed out literature on how to become involved in the Girl Guides Association.
The Girl Guides Australia (https://www.girlguides.org.au/) is associated with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The local group I supported is located at https://www.girlguides-nswact.org.au/.
In looking at their stall (see photo above) I couldn’t decide between sampling the packaged Shortbread, Chocolate Chip Cookies or Gluten Free Biscuits … it all looked so good. So, in the interests of not eating the small number of packets still for sale, because others will want them, I chose a free balloon instead.
The Guides’ representatives attending to the stall were long-serving members of the Girl Guides Association and it was great to see them hard at work. They seemed very comfortable in their morning’s fundraising role. It’s no wonder they continue to give a little – they seemed to be having a lot of fun – and the laughter and chatting they had together!
Fundraising activities are something to dive into when we have the time and resources available. I was happy to give with an offer of a free stall for a day to the Girl Guides Australia Association. I’m glad they accepted my offer and attended. Fundraising for others need not be a regular commitment – but something to be enjoyed for what it is and when it’s freely offered – volunteering to raise funds to do good for someone else.
Text copyright Fiona Rothchilds September 2018
Uploaded 09 September 2018
Photograph image copyright Fiona Rothchilds 2018.