When your efforts are spent on trying to change the world around you, it may not take long before they are spent. The needs of this world are too much for the select few who care enough to try to do something about them. If you are not careful, you can burn out and quit caring altogether.
I remember an experience where my “care” was put to the test. The beginning of summer brings about the end of the school year. Many local families could not afford the extra financial burden it placed on them to provide more meals for their children. Some people saw this need in my community and decided to do something about. For me, it was the first time I ever led a small team to raise money to benefit a local food bank and I was stoked. If you’ve ever tried to raise money for a fundraiser, you probably discovered that not all people are equally concerned about raising the funds. For me, it was an eye opening experience.
Some people were excited to contribute. They were a select few among the masses who have realized how wonderful it is to give, rather than receive. There were many happy to give. Next were those who gave out of guilt or embarrassment, with the “what will people think of me if I don’t give” mentality. Finally, there were those who resented being asked to give anything in the first place. Perhaps they believed that with their limited supply, they could not afford to give or simply had better things to spend their money on. How many from each category encountered on a given day may determine the wind in your fundraising sail.
Looking back, I have the imagery of myself then as one of those cheap fireworks that starts out shooting sparks everywhere and quickly fizzles out. I was so excited to help in the beginning but after experiencing enough negative reactions, I lost my excitement. I almost gave up all together but I received some encouragement and even a helpful tip that helped another person successfully raise funds. Beyond the generosity of givers, there was a way to obtain further donations, made possible by offering something in return.
This started the planning of a hot dog cookout day. It became a project that involved time management, resources, planning, and ordering. I had no clue what I was doing but my excitement returned the moment I started up again. I found a local grocery store that agreed to sell me goods at their cost, so I was able to get the hot dogs and buns cheaper. I kept watch for coupons in the flyers that came in the mail to find deals on soda. I put out a couple hundred dollars of my own money to buy all the supplies. Talk about motivation! Sell hotdogs or eat them for the next ten years. Working with a handful of volunteers, hot dog day came and we made it through the chaos of it all. In addition to the three hundred dollars donated earlier, we were able to raise over six hundred dollars more in profit to give to the local food bank.
The amount may seem small but to me it was huge. It was even more significant because I almost quit along the way. Just when I felt like giving on people, I was challenged in a new way to find an alternative method of raising funds. Helping charitable people secure nearly a thousand dollars worth of groceries to help our community; yeah, it was totally worth it!