Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cats in Zambia and getting close to the cause

One thing that as fundraisers we don't do enough of is get intimately close to the causes we work for, support and are passionate about.

Typically because of time constraints, often because of logistics. Although few would argue just how inspiring it is and the momentum it can build either in your life as a fundraiser or in your journey as a donor.

This last week has seen two brilliant examples which has really bought this message home to me.

The first relates to a letter we received last week from Plan International Australia with an update on how our sponsored boy is doing. As you can imagine this always creates a spike of excitement in the household, none more so than last week.

Not just because Belfry is growing immensely, doing well at school and his community is really prospering from Plan's fantastic work, but because of the beanie he was wearing on his head in the accompanying photos.


You see for those who know me well, know one thing for sure. How passionate (some may say mad or obsessive) I am about my beloved Aussie Rules team, the Geelong football club. And some time back we decided to send Belfry a Geelong woolen beanie to spread the reach of my team far and wide, and of course to keep his little head warm.

So when we opened the letter to find two adorable pictures of him wearing it, it’s fair to say it made our day!

Not just because he is now a proud Cats fan, but because it bought us even closer to the cause. And that's what it is about as a donor.

The second example follows the Masterclass I delivered last week in Toronto which focused primarily on our experiences as a donor in the recent mystery shopping study we have conducted here in Canada.

At the end of the session I announced that as we were not able to give away all of the money we planned to (as a result of the mystery shopped charities inability to process gifts or just not respond in many instances) - I was offering on behalf of Pareto Fundraising to donate the balance to one/some of the session attendees and set participants a challenge to see who in the ensuing days could inspire me the most as a donor.

The response has been phenomenal. I have had brilliant and moving letters, emails and phone calls from fundraisers who genuinely believe in the causes they work for.

I have even had a call from an amazing lady who volunteers for a large Canadian charity who helps people suffering from arthtitis (and when I say volunteer this includes teaching, helping others cope who are living with arthtritis, speak publically about the condition - you name it, this incredible woman does it). This wonderful lady spoke at length and passionately about her experience as a benefactor but also about her committment to advocate their work as a volunteer for, in her words, 'saving her life'.

Brilliant stuff. I only wish all organizations could inspire me and others as often and as well as some of these charities have.

Now the tough part… to decide to who to give the money to!


dangeaves said...

That is awesome that you sent the beanie - and got the picture back - classic!

Jonathon Grapsas said...

Yep, we certainly didnt expect to see a photo with him wearing it so were pretty chuffed as you can imagine!