Here’s the lesson I learned today: don’t hang your hopes on one of your fundraising events until you’re sure it’s going to happen. It could very well end in disappointment. I did just that and got the bad news today that it wasn’t going to happen. In this scenario it was difficult not to take it personally initially. It is easy to dwell on the negatives. James and I took a walk to pick up some dinner and spent the entirety of it coming up with new strategies. Fundraising can be very frustrating. I work within an incredibly generous community of people, but accessing the entire community is not necessarily possible, and if it is, it could be difficult.
I think one of the greatest challenges I have with fundraising is trying to do it in a city where I am a relative newcomer. I am not nearby my family to press the cause in person. I depend on handwritten letters, facebook posts, and an internet forum where I’ve developed many friends over the years. It feels like is a weak sense of community in St. Louis– but perhaps it’s for being too large more than anything. I’ve been turned away for seemingly small things, like doing a bake sale, or having a plant sale at farmer’s markets. It surprised me because I’m from small, tight communities where helping is second nature. In cities, where need is more obvious, there’s almost too much charity– so much that some get pushed out. I think it must be the concentrating effect of the city.
Nonetheless, I have been completely floored by the warmth and support from my favorite internet forum. These are people who I have mostly never met, though we’ve bonded on the net over pop-culture, trivia, politics, and humor. Their collective generosity shouldn’t be surprising, but it is. These are people who made cartoons of me when I first forayed into triathlons, who gave me a hard time for picking James from amongst their ranks, who will destroy any poorly formed (or hey– even a well formed) argument I make, who wait with curiosity to see what ridiculous menu I’ve cooked up for myself today, and the list could go on. I would like to recognize these folks, because they truly overwhelm me!
Rebecca, Tim, Eli, Andrew, Edward, Allison, Christian, Bryce, and of course (though perhaps he shouldn’t count) my partner James.
Thanks to their most recent donations, I am now over 20% of my fundraising goal. Cheers, friends!