Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Who Put the FUN Back in Fundraising?

WE did! My friends and I, that is. Last night, at a little spot called the Blind Pig here in Manhattan, my buddies and I hosted an event designed to raise a little money for the children of Renaissance Village, a FEMA constructed trailer park down outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I met a few of the kids who are living there (all victims of Hurricane Katrina) when I was down in the region this past summer, and never could get them out of my mind. Neither could Jess, and so, together with our friends Kerryann, Katie, Vanessa and Allison, we got together and made the decision to do something that might make these kids' lives a tiny bit better.

The plan was pretty simple, and it totally worked: convince our friends--all of whom get together all the time in bars and restaurants to have a little fun--to spend this past Tuesday evening partying w a purpose instead. And that's even what we called it: Party with Purpose. We got other friends to donate items to for silent auction, booked the bar (again through friends) and then sent out Evites and email invitations to our buddies in New York. And guess what? People turned up in droves and helped us raise about $5,500-- which we will now use to buy holiday gifts for the kids in the trailer park.

It's actually amazing to me how easy it was to put together, to get people to come out, and actually make a demonstrable (if small) difference in the lives of others. Working for a non-profit that is large-ish in size and therefore a complex system of yeses and nos, you can sometimes forget just how easy it can be to do something that has immediate impact. I'm so glad that I was reminded that it's something we all can do--maybe not alone, but with just a few friends by your side, change is possible. And, if you're lucky, really, really fun.