Sometimes you learn the most about grassroots fundraising efforts from the local — and I mean really local, as in neighborhood — paper. The April, 2012 Rockridge News, for example, is where I came across an interesting story by Don Kinkead, about St. Augustine’s Church’s efforts to raise money for the Tonga Parish Mission.
Apparently Father Mark Wiesner was moved, after visits to Kenya, to raise money to help orphaned children there. The area has been hard-hit by HIV-AIDS. He could have just passed the collection plate and asked that parishioners add a little extra for this cause, but . . .
He chose to do something a little different. And different, in fundraising, is often a great way to get people’s attention. Fr. Mark did pass the collection plate alright, but instead of asking for people to put money in, he asked them to take envelopes out. Each of those envelopes contained some seed money, in varying amounts. The total withdrawn from the church’s coffers for starters was $12,100.
Then he challenged the recipients to go forth and raise some real money. “The excitement has been phenomenal,” he is quoted as saying. As of the article’s publication, results included one man using the money to buy $25 worth of candy to sell at his workplace, which raised $150; a ten-year old girl using her $25 to set up a lemonade stand, raising $184; and 20 parishioners banding together to plan an artisan fair to be held on church grounds, profits yet to be determined.