Friday, May 01, 2009

Fundraising Funk

It's been a tough year for fundraising. I hate to say the "e" word because I'm sure you're also sick of hearing about how bad the "e" is, but maybe that's a contributing factor.

Our walk is this Saturday and we've raised about $3500 - which is great... but last year we raised over $20,000 and the year before we raised $28,000.

Mieke and I were talking about the fundraising funk and I think the heart of it is that people are sick of hearing about money, talking about money, and even giving money. There are so many non-profits, so many email requests and causes, that after a while it all blends into one universal open hand that says, "gimme, gimme, gimme." Maybe after three years, our plea for research funds have stopped being influential and have just become annoying.

Can you tell I'm a little down?

There's something that has really been bothering me that I have to get on paper.

I sent out my fundraising email about a week ago and accidentally sent it to two people I didn't personally know. One woman has the same last name as a friend of mine, and the other woman I had mistakenly added to my address book for having donated in the past. Boy was I wrong. These ladies were from my yahoo parenting group and they sent me emails saying they didn't know me and didn't want my spam and wanted me not to solicit them. One woman actually reported me to the yahoo group moderator saying I spammed her. AOL automatically saves any email address I receive, so we must have emailed one another in the past - probably trading parenting info.

I've been obsessing over this for a week now. I immediately apologized to these women, because it was my mistake for emailing strangers. But after a little while, I thought, who would be angry about a mom asking for money for their child's disease research? Did they read my letter? Did they watch Froggy's video. Mistake or not, would you accuse a mom of "spamming" you, if she was asking for her daughter's life? Would you be angry? I was insulted that someone would call my fundraising letter 'spam'. It's not a freaking pyramid scheme, it's research so my baby can live a long life. And someone is angry about that?

I know I shouldn't obsess, but I went from feeling like an idiot for mistakenly emailing someone to feeling like these women were heartless.

I hope that if the same happened to me I would make a small donation, email them back and say, "Even though I don't know you, I hope this little bit helps." Because we're all moms after all. I hope I would be able to relate, to empathize with a mom who felt helpless, who wanted to raise money for their child's research.

It's bothersome because it's difficult understanding how people can compartmentalize. Maybe we are so bombarded with spam emails, calls, texts, that after a while any form of communication becomes cheap and unwanted. Maybe people are just fed up with being asked for something. Maybe it's a survival mechanism for people not to partake, to close up and shut off. Maybe it's easier to say, "not my problem, I don't know you" than it is to think about what it would be like if your child needed help. Maybe they're angry for having to think about that. Maybe they're angry for being reminded that they are lucky. It's like when you're trying to have a nice picnic in the park and that annoying homeless guy is staggering around and cursing, and he ruins your day because sometimes you just want to close off, to believe that you don't deserve to be reminded of these things. Why is he trying to ruin my nice afternoon with his mental illness and body odor? How dare he. Doesn't he know I work all week and deserve a day off?

Is this where we are as human beings? Where we're angry at others for reminding us that we're human, that we're mortal? I know, I'm taking this too far. Like I said, I'm obsessing.

I should be concentrating on ALL of those wonderful donations, the many who have posted our pictures on their website and blogs, facebook pages, sent emails to friends and family. I should concentrate on the prayer chains, and hundreds of people who everyday send us love and think of Froggy, who email and call, keep tabs on her health. I should concentrate on the fact that our friends send us grocery gift certificates, and money for Froggy's healthcare. I should concentrate on the fact that my little cousin who just graduated from college gave $50, that someone I don't even know gave $500! As I write this I realize how incredibly ridiculous I am, for spending a single moment on people who don't get it, when there are so many who do.

This world is full of giving, wonderful people and I'm going to concentrate my thoughts on them. There are many. And it is a waste of time to obsess over people who don't. Once again I'm reminded of your love. Thank you for supporting our little family and all the kiddos and adults with CF. And if you haven't given please click HERE.


Anonymous said...

I've been frustrated as well. I send out letters, emails of the slide show... At work people who I buy cookies, raffle tickets and wrapping paper from for their kids youth activities, tell me no!

Add to that there are sooo many walks in our area from the end of April thru May that people are inundated with requests for donations.

This year a couple of us rented a table at a community rummage sale and sold some of our junk.

We just keep plugging away, doing what we can and try to think up new events, ways to raise money.

Liza/Ratatosk from cf boards.

Donna said...

The fundraising thing is hard, but most of us who are in the same boat help each other out. I always contribute to my friends' causes - even when all I can afford is a little. And I can count on them to contribute to mine. Between us all, I hope we are helping to do some good. (BTW - Discovered you on Peachhead! Nice to meet another blogging LA Mom!)

Lydia Russell said...

Well, we didn't raise a WHOLE lot this year either. But, I wasn't expecting as much as we did!

People can be so selfish and rude online. I'm sorry for that.

Good luck with everything!

Unknown said...

I love the internet, but I hate how it can bring out the worst in people. Some people just suck. :(

holly said...

This makes me so mad. I would send them this post, but it probably isn't worth your time. They really took it too far. How hard is it to just delete an email? People are mean and inconsiderate. Once someone I work with sort of laughed when I asked them to donate a couple bucks. I took it personally. I don't think people realize just how much fundraising can help. Or they just don't care. Sorry you had to experience that.

Anonymous said...

I feel you. Our Great Strides fund raising is less then half what it's been in the past couple of years. So, you're definitely not alone.

It's the economy. It's depressing out there for a lot of people and people just don't want to deal.

It'll be much better next year.

All the best, I love your blog.

(father of 2 year old daughter with CF)

Anonymous said...

Those people just suck. I do know what you mean though about the fundraising. I have friends who have their causes and I have supported them but when the time came to support our CF event I didn't get a dime. I was kind of pissed to say the least.

GL and we all appreciate your hard work.


Anonymous said...

i'm glad you posted this. i have not - yet contributed...and somehow missed the e-mail form you with work being so busy this time of year. see? someone's bad judgement - prompted you to post this and maybe it will bring in MORE money. xo hugs - and let's march on! jcn

Anonymous said...

Fwiw, I discovered your blog back when I was on peachhead, and I've been lurking here ever since. I love your blog and find your daughter so amazing and adorable, and I am just in awe of you. And my next click after posting this will be to donate.

People who have kids with no health or developmental issues just have no idea. And from what I remember of peachhead, while there were tons of wonderful moms on there, there were also a few crazies who ultimately made me want to quit the group. I'm so sorry you got that insane reaction. I wish I could call them up and yell at them.

Best of luck with the walk, and thank you for sharing your gorgeous Froggy's stories. She's a crackup.