As we endeavor to raise donations for what will be our first fund-raising event in 10 years we were quickly reminded of why we opted-out of these events: many of our friends, family and co-workers also participate in fund raising events. While on the surface this seems like good news, the reality becomes: there are only so many events anyone can support in a meaningful way.
Again, because we had a number of friends who were signing up for the annual MS150, Tour de Cure, Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, and similar events we found ourselves in the contributor role more often than not and, well, that worked out just fine. We’d send off a number of $100 checks each year in response to solicitations from friends as the causes were worthy of our contributions, we appreciated that our friends were taking the time to support these events, and contributing is a nice way of reminding yourself you’re fortunate to not be afflicted by these dreadful diseases and have the means to make a small donation.
Anyway, as I said, we now find ourselves signed up to support the Tour de Cure (American Diabetes Assn.) in May and will likely support the MS150 in the fall as a way of throwing our support by a company cycling team. Herein lies the conundrum: if we solicit donations from the friends whom we’ve supported in their causes over the last decade are we in effect simply shuffling money around? In other words, do we continue to donate say $100 a year to our friends for their MS150 event while soliciting a donation in kind from them, or do we just put an extra $100 into our own donation accounts. Multiply this scenario by a factor of 10x and you can quickly see how figuring out who do support vs. who you solicit contributions from becomes something of challenge: just who do you call on for support or do we all simply sign what I’ve come to call “non–aggression / gift giving” pacts with our fiends and family members? We’ve pretty much done this within the family for holidays, i.e., you promise not to buy me a tie and I’ll promise not to give you a Home Depot gift card.
We’d kind of hoped that by making a broad appeal for small contributions of $5 or $10 that we’d be able to raise as much or more all told vs. hitting up our close circle of friends where most contributions given or made would cancel each other out as a net plus-up from sponsors / contributors vs. digging deeper into our own pockets, which is OK too. However, as I said, having stepped back into the ring this was something I hadn’t even thought about that now strikes me as being somewhat profound.