To give and not receive is a very noble act, to give and not to be acknowledged is even more noble. But yet the act of giving seems to be riddled with contention, perimeters and awkwardness. Now of course there's always exceptions to the rule, but in the past year (2015) I did two fundraising efforts with remarkable difference.
Last year, as part of the Polished Man campaign, (a campaign designed to raise awareness around sexual and physical abuse towards children) I held a fundraising event. Unfortunately, as a child this was something I was effected by so I had a real personal connection with the subject matter. But it was without much thought or consideration that I proceed to organize my first charity event with no real expectation of how it would end up. Now truth be told, my organization skills aren't a personal strong point and if I was ever to get married my fiancé would be doing all the work!
With the help of a few friends, the venue was booked, raffle prizes were given, a date was confirmed, photographers were arranged, publicity was happening and the event was shaping up to be a great evening. In just over three weeks we managed to pull it all together and hold a very successful night, raising great awareness surrounding the cause. A success!!
Fast forward to me next volunteer effort. I traveled to Peru as a volunteer safety white water kayaker. A documentary was being made to illustrate the effects 20 hydroelectric dams being built on the Rio Maranon would have on the community, environment and the ecosystem. This was a conservation project I initially know little about but it became very clear the people of Peru are in danger of losing a natural treasure and not even the government is willing to intervene.
Now, while my time was donated, all my associated travel was covered by me, and I was also required to raise money. A pledge of $9,000 was made and through the platform, Pozible, I raised the money. While it was no easy feat and at times I had to bare all!! Literally, I did a video naked with my kayaking gear on! Eventually I got there, and as a result a documentary is being made that I hope will go a long way to making a difference to the people of Peru and send a message to the rest of the world about how unnecessary mega hydroelectric dams are without the correct environmental study.
Taking these two very different experiences and two very different outcomes / objectives, one was remarkably easier to achieve. Now on paper, clicking a few buttons and donating some money seems the most logical answer to me. With roughly 1,200 friends on good ol’ Facebook, if I got everyone to make a donation of $7.5 I’d have my quota. Instead I was left to constantly update Facebook, continually feeding information, direct messaging (numerous time), reaching out to family and asking my parents friends but I was still chasing my tail and often feeling like it was falling on deft ears. However, with the help of a few larger donations I got there.
But with the event! Well that was a piece of cake! I had gifts sent from all sorts of people, donations of tickets, shoes, bags, the gifts just kept coming in! The venue hire was for free, the photographer donated his time, there really was no shortage of offers. My only real concern was would people turn up?? They did, and quite a few! The raffle raised lots of money, the bar even donated profits from their takings and before I knew it the night was done, we had raised around $5,000 and had a good time in the process.
So what worked best? One could argue the event was the winner but from my perspective the act of giving is complex, its hard to hit that trigger point that will get people’s attention. Timing is everything and being able to connect to an audience. Being able to show them something or give insight as to what their time or money will go to.
I know that no matter how big or small the donation is I will always give something. Because if I know my $2 will make the difference - its worth it. The act of giving is something I think we all need to be more conscious of and if we can all just give that $7.5 its amazing what a difference it can make.