Saturday, 14 December 2013

Fundraising = Keeping Busy = Happiness

I have been the busiest I've been in about 2 years these past 4 weeks, heading up the IWCD's Annual Charity Bazaar committee, and I've been the happiest in myself for a long time.

The other committee members have all participated in the Bazaar for years - it's always the way, the same few people volunteering their time, all the time, so they knew what to do and I happily left them to it.

My role was to simply co ordiante the vendors. MrsS who coordinated the event the past two years shared detailed summary notes and spreadsheets (which was of great assistance) and she emailed all the vendors informing them of hte date and venue, and introducing me as this years coordiantor.

Within a few days several vendors had emailed me requesting a table.

Too easy!

We had a quick committee meeting to ratify a few things and enlisted the help of MsS (a different MsS) to coordinate a raffle.

WELL! We were inundated with prizes from local businesses, that we decided to have a Silent Auction as well.

MsL suggested we sell raffle tickets BEFORE the event, as some people can't make it on the day, while others can sell to family and friends. Everyone agreed, and 25 bags of raffle tickets were prepared and given to members at the November meeting (14 ladies happily agreed to take them and sell tickets)

Meanwhile, more vendors were coming on board. I did not have to approach one! They all came to us, such is our reputation as a group of shoppers as well as the desire to help raise money for Alzheimer Society, Ireland.

We established a closed group on Facebook for members only and each time we received a donation towards the raffle or silent auction, or a vendor signed on we posted a thank you and a link to their website and/or FB page. It doesn't sound like much, but it all takes time.

Members were busy baking cakes, delving into cupboards for things to donate to the bric-a-brac stall, and clearing out books and DVD's. It's always tricky cos even tho you ask people to let you know what they are bringing, you don't know til the day.

Our only sources of revenue, and therefore donation was the raffle, silent auction, the nominal fee we charged the vendors, the 3  Club stalls and a 2 euro donation from non-members.

MsS and I had a fun morning wrapping the raffle items, and preparing Silent Auction pieces, while getting to know each other a bit more. We chatted, had a coffee or two and a new friendship started to bloom.

Tuesday December 10 arrived. G kindly took MissM to school so I could get to the venue by 8am to make sure everything was in place before vendors arrived at 8.20am to set up. The room was less than ready when I arrived at 8am. Stress levels increased. It was quickly fixed but should never have happened in the first place.

Vendors started arriving to set up as did the Committee members to receive cakes, books and bric-a-brac. The raffle and silent auction prizes looked fabulous on the table for everyone to see.

Doors opened at 10am.

Members and friends started to fill the room and shop, and talk, and shop.

I got busy on the microphone thanking the vendors by name, detailing the silent auction items and drumming up business for the raffle.

There was a buzz in the room.

Lots of conversation.

Vendors were busy!

By noon it was all over.

Vendors were packing up.

Unsold books, DVD's and bric-a-brac were boxed up for delivery to St Vincents de Paul.

Our treasure worked very hard adding up all the money.

We raised 3,500.25 euro in a few hours for Alzheimer Society Ireland.

What a fantastic feeling!

Someone said this might very well be a record amount raised at our Charity Bazaar, and how wonderful if it is.

Everyone always works so hard for these events, and you never know how they are going to unfold.

How I've missed being part of a team, the social network that's developed as a result of working together to a common goal. The conversations when a difference of opinion or direction takes place. Knowing when to back down, or when to stand your ground. Learning other ways to do things. Repeating successful ideas from previous experience. Making a new friend or two.

The fact you do all this AND help a worthwhile cause is very rewarding.

There's a few more thank you emails to write, and then once that's done I'm ready for the next event.

Bring it on!

With friendship

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