What I’ve Learned About Media and Fundraising…

The last couple weeks were super jam packed as I geared up to host a Kelowna area fundraiser this past weekend. The weeks leading up to the event were filled with media briefs, sending invitations to the various local area women’s groups, inviting friends, interviewing with local papers, being interviewed by am1150, a local radio station and securing donations for a silent auction at the fundraiser.

So here’s what I learned…hosting a fundraiser is A LOT of work. People are generally only interested in what they are interested in. If your cause or you personally aren’t important to them then they aren’t going to show. In my case my parents were able to extend invites to their neighbours and friends who made a great effort to come. I also was lucky enough to have a great group of local friends who made time to come to the event and support me and raise money for New Light India.

I approached local area businesses for donations to be used in a silent auction where all proceeds would go directly to New Light charity. In the Kelowna area there are many businesses ranging from wineries to restaurants that are owned by people of East Indian decent. I had just assumed that they would be on board with our fundraiser and donate to our cause. This was not the case. It brought up a lot of questions for me regarding why this might be, and the role of the caste system outside of India. I also emailed several women’s groups locally who had involvement with charities similar to New Light, or had been involved with events in the past involving the Half the Sky Movement. None replied to my formal invite to the fundraiser, but boy did I try!!!

While trying to secure more media attention I had an interesting interaction with an editor from a local online news agency who boldly informed me that 3 girls driving a rickshaw in India raising money for charity was, in fact, not a great story. He believed that since our sole purpose for doing the Rickshaw Run was not for charity then it really wasn’t much of a story, and then suggested that we support the Kelowna food bank instead of a charity based in India. Then they might cover it. This was super helpful information and I had to bite my tongue not to reply that “Sir, you are missing the point. We are 3 girls driving a rickshaw in India to support a Indian based charity that supports women. THAT, is the story.” But I didn’t. Instead I channeled my energy into bitching about it weeks later, and joking that I’m going to call this guy before I make any life decisions just to see if he thinks I’m on the right track.

So now to the fundraiser details…It was this past Saturday at Little Straw Vineyards from 4-7. Little Straw had arranged for attendees to have a wine tasting, a glass of wine and some Indian inspired appetizers. My side-kick Jen had flown up from Seattle and we ransacked my closet to find Indian appropriate attire. A few years ago in Delhi I bought an Indian printed tunic top that I had never worn up until this past weekend. Who knew that tunic top would make its debut at a charity fundraiser in support of Indian women?! We had just under 30 people attend: some old friends I’ve had for evs, some family, some friends and neighbours of my parents, some art contacts of my moms, and a lovely couple that had read about it online. I was really happy with how the event went off, and we couldn’t have done it any better!! When the event was over we ended up raising $835 for New Light!!! My original goal was to raise $500 and we far exceeded that!!

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So here are the numerous thanks yous to the hard working people that helped pull this off!! To my Mom- thank you for the numerous hours you put into getting media attention for the event. Thank you for emailing every contact you’ve ever had since the time email was invented. Thank you for your unwavering support and excitement for the event. And thank you for donating your artwork to the silent auction. To Pops- thanks for going door to door to all your neighbours even when Jehovah’s witness were competing on the street with you. Thanks for being my personal assistant and photo copying or scanning whatever I needed. Your computer skills are definitely coming along! Thanks for being the informal bouncer/ Walmart greeter/cashier for the fundraiser. You did a great job!

Thank you to Tina and Trevor at Little Straw for helping us pull off a very successful event, and donating a gift certificate to the winery for the silent auction! The food was great and the wine was superb!! I’m quite sure I could drink a couple bottles of “Tapestry” wine very easily. Thanks to Louise Adams who kindly donated art work and her beautiful art cards for the silent auction. Thanks again to Rollingdale Winery and La Cucina restaurant who donated gift certificates to the silent auction. Rest assured that they found good homes! Thanks to my dear friend Kelly’s husband Grant who was able to rally the troops and made sure people came to the event. I appreciated this immensely as I know what an obstacle crossing the bridge can be!! Thanks to my long time friend who has earned himself the nickname “No-show” over the years. “No-show,” thanks for showing!! Many thanks to Jen for flying up from Seattle to help with the event. And lastly, to Kirsten for taking photos of the event for Westside Weekly!!

For any of you who didn’t make it to the event but have a burning deep in your soul to help women and children in India….well good news, you still can by getting your credit card out and clicking here!!!

I’m looking very much forward to resuming my pre-fundraising life!!

Kristine (India bound in 6 weeks and counting….)