Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Monday, 4 November 2013

Community self help and fund raising events

The three most important points in fundraising is transprency, network building and accountability

Principles to note when Fund raising at Community or grass root levels

Funds to do an activity may be dwindling or were never earmarked at all. Yet, the need could be apparent and pressing. There are tricks you can employ. Read this short story and note the principles in Community Based Fund raising.

There are different reasons why we engage in fund raising activities:
1. to look for and seek for funding for recurrent activities.
2. to off set debts
3. to have start up funds for an organization.

There are different organizations and causes for which the money that is raised can be used:
it could be Heart Fund, feeding the homeless, caring for seniors or sustaining a shelter program.

CASE STUDY: RUNNING A SMALL GRASS ROOT ORGANIZATION:
Our story:
We got news about our work in the community in Worcester, MA. There was demand for our community out reach activities. The urgent message was that we needed to continue with community based education and engage as many people in exercises, calisthenics and nutrition awareness.
How we did our work:
We had visited education facilities, senior living homes, work places, prayer places, libraries, Sports facilities, Corporations, CSOs/NGOs and Community leaders. We knocked on doors of different homes.
We were calling upon every one to help us raise money but also to come join us at the 'City Heart Day' event that was to be held at the City Commons preceded by a walk. The walk was split into two. We anticipated there would be those who could walk the 5 miles and those who would prefer the 2 miles.
The corporations and many well wishers sponsored this event. All required paraphernalia were in place. Water, consumables, candies and meals. The Emergency Health Unit was in place too.
Noting The Weather:
The day was sunny but with cool temperatures in the 40s. The day ended successfully.

Follow up Activities:
The following day I hurried to the organizing office to to write 'thank you' notes and send congratulatory mails. It was a success. The corporations and well wishers who had promised and pledged support made good their word.

The campaign

This is how things went: Very many people from around the area, well wishers, as well as invited people joined different teams. We were part of a larger group of over 300 people (adults, young and children pushed in prams). There were some who walked 2 or 5 miles to raise funds and to raise awareness around what communities can do to reduce the risks that exacerbate cardio-vascular diseases.
We met at one place, were flagged off and as a team we walked the different assigned miles. Our team walked all the five miles.
There are so many lessons one learns when one decides to engage in community activities. As a strong advocate for community-work in which one expects not to be paid a salary, I have always told my friends and any who cares to listen to my philosophy and the three reasons why we engage in work: reward, skills and networks.
Rewards may be in various forms and not necessarily the salary. It could be psychological satisfaction that one is able to take time off and be part of a number of persons who have accomplished an activity.
Skills may come in many ways including person-to-person communication or organization of an event. One does not fail to learn a lesson or two in organization of events. Humans are social and in engaging in these kind of events it may enable one fulfill the social aspect of meeting other people. It may add to the feeling of being part of society. It may be a point of reference for one as well as topic for conversation. Such experiences make up the stock materials in one’s brains. Experience is part of one’s memory it may be enrichment that will form future conversational or problem-solving points of reference.
There were three major intentions of the walk: raising funds; raising awareness about cardio-vascular diseases and; renewing a commitment towards engaging in physical exercises as one of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular and lung related diseases.

he holy trinity of fundraising

The three most important points in fundraising is transparency, network building and accountability:
1. Transparency:
This is the primus inter pares of them all. One has to have plans, resources and staff. The staff have to know their roles and how they contribute to the shared success or failure. This is a platform that asks: What do I show for my activities? Who sees my kind of work? Who else is interested in my kind of work? Some of the tools to keep handy are:
a. A record of all activities prior and after the major event
b. A list of all people or corporation with their contact addresses, who helped or are likely to help in the future
c. An action plan drawn out and in plain view for all to see and refer to.
d. A community map of routes to follow or catchment area
e. Past records and a deadline to share outcomes/expenditures during next mid term level reporting.
2. Network building.
This is the second arm or leg or pillar depending on how one sees things. This is the platform that asks: who are involved and what is involved. Get to have:
a. Trained staff ( both volunteers and non-volunteers).
b. Partnerships with other stake holders who have similar work like you do
c. create a calendar and share it with authorities and other leaders in the area. This helps to match your activities to those of the area. This way you may plan to attend events of other organizations. This is sharing space and getting to know what others do. It is a form of speed dating too. You may get to show case your work while at the same time you may come in handy and offer your expertise.
3. Accountability
This is the top trophic level in the tripartite system. This is the platform that asks: Has all our effort been worth it? This is what lists:
a. Time
b. Money
c. People
d. Progress reports
e. Changes made
f. Challenges
g. Lessons learnt
h. The resources gained
i. How the resources are used
The fact that one has to have at the back of their mind is that: fundraising is also resource mobilizing.

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