Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fundraising Makes My Insides Feel Funny

I've thrown myself into the world of fundraising. Have I ever felt more awkward? Perhaps at a middle school dance. Or my first lady-doctor appointment. Maybe.
Let me preface the following with a confession: If I could survive by bartering limerick writing or stick figure drawing for food and shelter, I'd much prefer to just forget about the whole financial system. A root canal might be a few more stick figures than one could ever possibly need, but desperation can inspire creativity. This doesn't mean that I don't find money incredibly useful or that the whole world could function without it, no, no, no. Its more of a statement of absolute confoundment as relates to all things $$. I've always been curious how people spend/save/share what they get, how they decide what is necessary, what is superfluous and what they believe matters. My own approach varies from day to day, depending very much on my mood and if I was able to work for pay that day (I get myself into a great many volunteer gigs, for better or worse).
Which brings me back to the fundraising world--another arena I do not understand in the least. I've only ever given, never asked. I ask for a whole lotta things--just not money. Being the asker stinks, quite frankly. But its like teaching highschoolers. You can't take it personally. Well, some of it you should.

Josh leafs through a children's encyclopedia with two neighborhood girls.
So, here's what I'm not taking personally this week:
*Anyone who has said they'd do something, but hasn't. I've been on the road paved with good intentions--heck, I'm on it now. I'm sure there is someone I made a promise to, who I really want to help/spend time with/do something for that I'm am forgetting right now. Hopefully I'll never get as far down that road as I did during the Good Intentions Fiasco of 2002. Yowza.
*The high school kid who refuses to respond to my gentle prodding and careful conversation starters. Despite the immense frustration I feel when--every single day--I fail to reach this student, I imagine its worse for him. God knows what is happening in his world outside the classroom.
*The student who leaves their trash and little pieces of paper at their work space. Every. single. day. I leave an enormous mess at my parents' house--laundry, books, papers. I've basically taken over the back of the house and oft times the couches in the living room. Every. single. day. I have no right to complain.

But, here's what I am taking personally:

*Conversations with students like this:
Me, as they walk in the classroom door at a time other than their appointed class: "Whats up?"
Student: "Oh, we're just here to visit you."
Bless. Even if their conversation skills are, as yet, completely undeveloped.
*Your generosity. Each and every one of our 158 donors to date. Each and every one of those who have donated books, time, supplies and endless creative hours. Each and every one of you who clicked, shared and "liked" (Last I checked, there were 823 FB "likes" on the campaign page).
*Pleasant surprises. A student whose had me banging my head against the wall after every encounter showed up today with a completed essay we'd been working on (& pulling teeth through) all week. "Oh, I just did this at home," he said casually, as if he does homework or completes things on a regular basis.
*Your enthusiasm. Fitting this dream-come-reality into little boxes and putting a number next to it by which we are measured and judged hasn't been easy. Sometimes it even tricks you into thinking you should be measured that way too.
*Your time and creativity. I fear that making a list of all the awesomeness that has occurred in the last 6 weeks would have me so worried about leaving someone out that I'd get a few more white hairs just today. But I can't resist. In no particular order, I'm naming names.
This gem created our logo and has been a major asset in all visual aspects of the campaign: Atika Piff

This lovely not only learned how to Skype just so she could talk to me in the Dominican Republic, but helped me sift through all the details and ideas swirling in my head to something neat & tidy and continues to surprise & delight me with new ideas: Stephanie Baty
This treasure heard a whisper for help and brought in the troops, harnessing her energies and resources to back me up in low times and high: Melanie Fitzsimmons
This rock star went above & beyond not only sleeping on a child's bed for several uncomfortable nights to do this, but spent all his waking hours filming, editing and cashing in personal favors to put together our pitch video (have you seen this?!): Lino Sanchez

These wonders each dedicated some blog/article space/time and a whole lotta love to putting a megaphone up to the library's campaign:

Ed Rousculp & Mary James orchestrated a talk at Heritage University, which has had some fairly amazing ripple effects with some promising futures.
Debbie Wilke may have actually shared the campaign with more people than I have. She has been a tenacious supporter and has a little fundraising game going. Whenever we get close to a new $1000 mark, she donates (or gets donated) the necessary amount to push us over.
Jan House. What more is there to say? This wonder gave birth to me and everyone knows that Mom is the first one in line behind anything you're doing, not to mention my father, siblings, and in-laws.
The Woodburn Independent ran a half-page article on the library project, calling on locals to give their support. KIMA-TV.com published this.
Melissa Northway of Dandelion Moms not only donated and sent a box of books, but the whole website adopted the library as their Project Kindness for the month of March.
Books for a Better World shipped two full boxes of non-fiction Spanish language children's books (the gold standard for us). Bungie donated seven Kindle Fires.
Poderosa Mujer, an organization dedicated to maternal education, made the beads for our $75 perk.
Motherhood & More published this. Girl in the DR published this. Jewel's Future of Hope published this. Christopher Lay published this in Beijing Kids. Bryan Donaldson published this on Baha'i Coherence. Toddling in the Fast Lane published this.

The one story time we've had where a camera was present as well. :)
And these darlings held fundraisers for the library (they also happen to be generous and fierce supporters of community):
Oregon bookstore, Peaceful Pages, donated 19% of all book sales made within a two week period.
Authors Kelly Carlos and Jose Carlos sold their books, the Flowered War and The Corn People (respectively) and half the proceeds went to the library. They also founded the Co-Op publishing company, Red Road Books.
Marvelous Maria Andersson is selling her Swedish books to raise funds.
Baha'i communities in Newberg and Astoria put out a jar at their gatherings to collect funds.

And you know what? There's still more. The Indiegogo fundraising campaign ends this Sunday. But we're just getting started.

1 comment:

  1. So he does more than stick figures, but check this guy out! http://www.visualnews.com/2013/03/25/painting-portraits-to-sustain-a-lifestyle-with-no-money/