Sunday, September 4th was our 4th fund-raiser. It was held at the Art school with Director Oleg. The art school has been a great partner these last two years and I really wanted to do something special for them. It was a complete success and we raised over 3,000UAH.
It was a lovely evening, good friends, wonderful supporters, and money raised for a outstanding school. Every time I visit this school I see sunshine, bright colors, happy teachers and enthralled youth. This project again reached some major community development goals that Jim and I have promoted during our 2 years in Dolyna: (build relationships, introduce new ideas, involve as many people as possible, involve local leadership, perform outreach to the community and continue to introduce concepts of fund raising). The mayor proposed a future partnership with the school to have them create the first wood carving for the park and asked that together we try to continue the summer camp for disadvantaged youth.
My site mates and PC friends did the food: skewers of chicken (Robin), brushchetta (Mamma Mia and Anna), tomato and cucumber skewers (Eddie), watermelon balls (Mike), French cheese with crackers, the usual cookies and for the first time “champagne punch”. The food was outstanding and everyone was thrilled to have so many new ideas in food. I was worried about the punch but made 6 liters and we ran out at 5:30. Next time 12 liters. We served this in a watermelon bowl as we had no punch bowl. That was also new and the mayor said “good idea”. It is so fun to share a little of our American culture with our Ukrainian friends.
The school did a silent auction with pictures painted by the children. It was very well received. 13 paintings sold and I won my favorite one. I cannot wait to hang this in my home in America. We did a raffle for three painting donated by artists in the community. These are all famous pictures and were beautiful. We sold raffle tickets for this part of the event. This was also an introduction to a new way to fund raise. We sold about 200 tickets which was very good. The surprise came when I won the grand prize.
Lessons learned: every project should end with an evaluation of what was good and how we can improve before the next event. So these are my random thoughts: more punch, cater the entertainment to the event. It is very important in fund-raising to start the event with excitement. This sets the tone of the event and gets people active and involved. In Ukraine we seem to start with long speeches. Fund raising is an art and a science and should follow a pattern of ‘catching’ your guest's attention and then using the entertainment and food to encourage people to spend freely. People who think fund raising is easy and you just do it generally do not raise the largest amount of money they can. In our Lions club we raise a lot of money, but we start our events with strong planning and a scenario from the beginning of the event to the very end. Every event gives us a chance to do it better.
Did you know that many Universities in America offer a Masters of Fund-raising management degree? Yes, in America people receive an education and then practice to become the best. Our Lions club raises $100,000’s of thousands of dollars each year and we have 2 members with professional degrees on our committees. My little cheer teams used to raise $50,000-100,000 to travel to Florida, California, North Carolina etc… yearly. And we raised almost 1 million each year for the Juneau Crimson Bears football team.
We are making a great start in Dolyna!