I was once at a meeting with a royalty whose lifestyle is charity-driven. Appart from curiosity about her past linked to a communist era, the audience got interested in her charity endeavours. A friend of mine asked her about how she approaches, organises and delivers charity events. She offered the following very common-sense advice: watch your expenses to avoid spending more than collecting; communicate well the reason the event is organized for; follow-up and openly report after the event to build trust.
During holidays, with the generosity spirit in the air, we might have seen charity events popping up on our facebook pages, through email advertisements or friends’ invitations. I’ve made it a tradition, over the last three years to organise something in support of the cause I adhere to. The first time, I organised a group of friends of mine to craft Christmas decorations that were sold at a fair. Together with other nine groups we collected funds enough to support daily needs of 10 child-single mother couples for a year. The next year I organised at my place a 5 o’clock tea to spread the word about the cause of single mothers and collect funds. After the event, my guests made donations to the cause. It was an undisclosed amount. I wanted to preserve the intimacy of the moment, especially for those disappointed by charities in the past, an important sensitivity to bear in mind. This year I joined with friends of mine a charity event for about one hundred people gathered to craft hand made toys to be sold at a fair to support a shelter for orphan single mothers. A friend of mine, to whom I am profoundly grateful for accompanying me at this event, called it ” finally, a fakes-free event, with humanity, from people to people”. This year I also joined staff of an international organisation at a Christmas charity baazar with home made goodies, sold for about one thousand euro contributing to about 150000 euro collected in total at the bazaar .
That dear friend of mine gave a perfect definition to a charity event that stays faithful to its objective. So here are couple of lessons I’ve collected on my charity events organization and participation journey.
These events are about people you want to support. An individual, a group, a community. Those organising and taking part in the event are mere means to an end. Lavish charity dinners or galas are not my thing for this reason mainly.
I have also learned that those with means might not necessarily be willing to be such means to an end. They might want to steal the spot light and let you down at the last moment after offers generously made but not honoured. Their might be reasons for that I am not here to judge. It’s important to remember that the cause you support dearly might be instill the same enthusiasm in others. And it’s ok. We all support some causes, in a way or other.
I also got to learn that often the simpler the person, the modestier his/her lifestyle, the more likely they are to respond to a call for contribution. It might be as simple as making a phone call that paper is accumulating in the office for recycling knowing that these will allow napkins and toilet paper to be bought for those who cannot afford even these “benefits of civilization”. Or taking part in crafting Christmas decorations to be sold for a good cause.