From the Publisher: Volunteering in These Times? Just Run with It
Last month was our local American Cancer Society Relay for Lifeby Meredith Mcllmoyle | Published in August 2009 fundraiser | non-profit | Departments
Last month was our local American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I’ve been involved for eight years, including two years as the chairperson. It is an amazingly rewarding experience to raise money for cancer awareness, research and treatment, and then watch hundreds of purple cancer survivor T-shirts stream by you during the opening lap.
My community of 14,000 people raised more than $140,000 this year.
Fifty or so volunteers organized teams, found sponsors and planned the event. Several hundred team members held car washes, garage sales, fashion shows, spaghetti feeds and movie theater nights. Just good old-fashioned fundraising.
A hundred forty thousand dollars. I don’t know if that seems like a lot or a little to you. To me, it is an incredible number for a small community with fairly limited resources.
Along with everything else in our world right now, the business of fundraising has become increasingly challenging. Our Relay for Life committee was cautiously optimistic as we set our goals this year. I have to admit that I was one of the naysayers. Now, as I’ve explored further the state of the giving industry, I’ve found lots of success stories. Yes, there is a financial crisis that is affecting charities around the world. However, people are still giving. Events are still being held, albeit with smaller budgets, and communities are still coming together to take care of those who need our help.
I know that everyone reading this has been asked to volunteer their time, product or services for more things than they can remember this year. I know that you need to take care of your own business and your own family, so it’s difficult to find the resources to give. I invite you to dig deep this month, not into your pocket, but into that precious energy you have left. You may just find that giving it away multiplies it.
What if you spent just one afternoon brainstorming themes, décor ideas or menu suggestions with those who need your expertise? Assist them in making adjustments that allow them to be successful. They don’t need to ask the rental company to donate equipment — maybe they have a picnic event where guests bring blankets to sit on the grass. They don’t need to ask the florist to donate thousands of dollars in flowers — maybe local schoolchildren make centerpieces out of recycled materials. You get my point. Our industry has the opportunity to make a unique impact on communities in need, renew our passion for what we do and access positive energy at a time when spirits are flagging. Let’s take it and run with it.