Thursday, November 4, 2010

Me, Myself, and I Have No Idea What I am Doing!

On October 30th, I got to go trick-or-treating with Buzz Light Year and his Inter-gallactic Bunny Buddy. We would knock on neighbors' doors, and folks would melt like chocolate at the sight of my travelers from outer space. The Buzz Light Year Costume had taken a bit of alteration as my son is still small for his age. I'd put scrunchies around his ankles to keep the pant legs from falling over his shoes, and I'd folded the long sleeves into his jacket. I'd also made sure he'd been to the potty before he suited up, because getting to the porta-star in that get-up would have created an inter-gallactic incident.

My next job, was dressing up my daughter. Initially, I had planned for her to be a clown. I had a great blue curly wigg, some cute clothes to miss-match, a couple different shoes. She would have been adorable, but alas, her majesty had strong objections. I got her dressed, and she looked down at her mis-matched shirt and shoes, threw her wig on the floor, stomped her foot, and announced, “I NO PRETTY!!!” Now I do not normally cave-in to such tirades, but since it was supposed to be a fun evening, I consented to her opinion. I just didn't assume she was old enough to have an opinion. After a brief dig in the play clothes box, she emerged with her Easter headband and said, “I BUNNY!”

There. All that settled, and we were off, and we had a great time. These challenges are always interesting, but somehow, I feel much more qualified to handle them than some of the fund-raising issues I have faced in the last month. Have you ever felt like a fish out of water? Well, that's precisely what I have felt like the night before each one of my three fund raisers so far. Six weeks ago, I was a brave little marathoner-wanna-be with my notebook and my cup of coffee, thinking of brilliant ideas to change the course of LLS fundraising as we know it. Now, after a largely unattended yardsale/bakesale fundraiser, a piano recital for three, and a Denny's benefit night with my anxieties carefully tucked into an awesome looking two-piece suit, I confess. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.

However, I am cluelessly trying very hard. And, lest I sound too downcast, let us recount the positive. My first fundraiser caused me to have some very good thoughts about all the folks around me that I am so thankful for, and my second fundraiser found me seated behind a very handsome grand piano and playing my favorites for some favorite ladies. Thanks mom, grandma, and Mildred for attending. In regards to my third fundraiser, well, I won't say practice makes perfect, I'll just suggest that prayer and planning come highly recommended.

When I called Denny's four weeks ago and booked their family room for a silent auction event, I had no idea how involved the whole evening would become. First, I got flyers out about the event, and then I started scavenging my own home for possible auction items. The next Saturday, I took my flyers to the mall and started canvassing businesses for donations of gift cards and small merchandise. In this endeavor, I will thank heaven for the generosity of individuals, because aside from Sears, most said their hands were tied by the corporate office. Donations I did receive, came from people who were willing to purchase items from their place of employment and donate them personally.

On Friday, a week before the event, I received a phone call from Denny's asking if I would be willing to come in at 2:00 and meet with a manager about the event. I thought they just wanted to meet me (I had arranged the event on the phone) and get some paperwork; however, when I arrived the next day (mercifully, dressed to the hilt because I was going straight to my piano recital fundraiser from there), I realized I was there for a MEETING. The manager ushered me to a table, where another manager and a district manager waited with their laptop computers and calendars. I had to pitch my whole event right there.

Nerves and all, I blundered through, and in spite of having no idea what I was doing, I left an hour later with Denny's totally on board. They let me post a large poster board sign, flyers, a tip jar, and table tents for the entire week previous to the event. In addition, they sent e-mails about the event to the 2,600 people on their mailing list. I no longer felt like I was in the effort alone. Not only was Denny's a great fund raising partner from start to finish, but once again, family and friends rallied around with auction items, ideas, encouragement, and helping hands.

So how did it go? Well, that's coming in another blog. I am very close to having a final total for the event, but I'm not quite there yet. Suffice it to say, it went better than the first two fund-raisers. Trick-or-treating with the kids did make me think that my approach has been all wrong though. I need to follow Olivia's sage advice. (Olivia is a fashion savvy, little girl piggy, on children's television). Olivia's Rule-of-life #14 is that there is no problem that the right costume can't solve. What I need is the right costume—maybe Hello Kitty?--and then a super-cute candy/money bucket. Then when people open the door, they'll listen to my LLS pitch, and throw all of their available funds into my super-cute bucket and wish they had a Hello Kitty outfit like mine. Naw. I think I'll stick to prayer and planning. With my luck, folks would just call the police. =)

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