It has been just 3 months that I have been planning my trip back to Kenya. It has come around so quickly and this has meant a lot of fast work to get everything organised.
- What was I going to do there?
- How could I help the most?
- Who could I help?
- How much money do I need for these projects?
- How much do I need to live?
HOW AM I GOING TO GET THIS MONEY!
Unfortunately to make all of this possible I needed money for the projects to actually go ahead. I also needed money to live while I was volunteering and not earning money for 6 months. After sitting with an adviser early on I made the decision to work my little but off and save to support myself. All I needed was money for the charity projects to go ahead. I wouldn’t say I have a bad relationship with money but I just despise with how it controls our world so much. I won’t get started on that right now though.
My original fundraising budget was $6k AUD, based on $2k per charity. The minimum the I needed was $1400 so that I could buy at least 100 kits from Days for Girls, $1785 for building supplies with GEF for the homes I would help build and enough cash for some school supplies like text books and toys for the children in hospital while I was working for the Lee Sisters Foundation. This was only about $3500 that was essential, but raising $6k meant that I could also give each charity some extra money towards their very worthy ongoing projects that I could help with while I was in Kenya. Once I had this decided it was time to get working.
Where to start? Fundraising money was something I knew nothing about, and not something I was very comfortable with. I set up my Gofundme page first and started posting on Facebook. This was a great start, sharing the photos I had from my last trip and the projects that I was going to be involved with this time. I was very naive though to think that just social media alone was going to get me to the $6k we needed. The funds very quickly slowed once my closest friends and family had donated and the normal circle of friends had all been spammed by the Facebook posts asking for donations. Sorry, not sorry!
This was not enough, I can’t just ask for money, and I didn’t feel very comfortable with it either. But how could I reach people more? how could I get them to feel as passionate about the cause as I did? I needed to really pull at heart strings and get people to relate somehow to the projects I was working on. This took research more into the charities and what they work on and how they make a difference along with some powerful photos. This made more invested and driven in the the whole purpose of fundraising, I really need to just tell the stories for people to relate to. This worked for a little while too, and I thank you for all of those amazingly generous donations!
I still had a long way to go and I was getting a little discouraged, what else could I do? I am just one person!
I held an African themed dinner at my house which raised $260, well that was easy! It was nice to have the girls around for dinner and talk about my journey, so then I did a couple more events. A picnic in the park with family and friends which raised $1000 and a High Tea at Mum’s house $690.
A contact at work mentioned to me that one of the local cafes had done a few fundraising events before. This sounded like a nice idea but a bit out of my reach. I don’t know why, but I was limiting myself, why did I think I couldn’t do that? At the time I felt like it was too hard, I didn’t have a big enough circle of people that would come. I had to change my way of thinking, I had to think of the children. It wasn’t up to me to decide what I could or couldn’t do, it was all for them and so I had to try.
The previous fundraising events at this Cafe had raffles and games so this was something else to consider. Hmm…. I had never got raffle prizes donated before, it was not the funniest or most comfortable thing to do, asking for things for free. I began contacting the businesses in the local area, walking the street, calling and emailing to see what I could get donated as raffle prizes. It was very time consuming but so worth it, some businesses were so generous. Once I had a few I couldn’t stop otherwise it would just look sad so I contacted many more in New Farm as well. I decided I would do this for the Picnic in the Park and High Tea as well, we end up with some really great prizes!
I found people really loved the fact of knowing exactly where their money was going and what they were contributing to. I worked with each charity to find out more about their projects and what I might be able to help with so that I could share this with every sponsor and supporter at events. Each event got bigger and was more successful, by the last one, my little chat about my journey turned into a little presentation about the foundations and I showed some great videos about them and their work. I spoke about what I would be doing there and how the money contributed would help with those projects.
The fundraising dinner, which was held at The Shingle Inn, Bulimba was a huge success! I was so happy with how the night went, I think everyone had a great night with delicious food, drinks and company. Having an event to attend, a night out where they get something for their money made a huge difference. Everyone was so generous and I am so grateful for the 40 incredible people that donated and supported me. We raised $2500!!! I was so excited that the next morning I called Sanna from the Lee Sisters foundation to tell her the fantastic news. We both got a bit emotional realising what would be possible with this money. She told me that she had been kept up at night worrying about some of the struggling people she has met in Kenya but now we would be able to help them! I could not be happier!
Asking for money, raffle prize donations, and speaking in front of a crowd had me way out of my comfort zone but I had to get past that as it was not a choice, it was a duty for me to raise what was needed. It was a lot of work to organise events and raise funds, it almost felt like a second job, but it was so worth it! I am happy to say as of 5th Feb I have raised $7110, more than I could have imagined. This has made my heart so full to know that the projects we have been planning are going to be possible.
With this money I have been able to:
- Order 200 reusable menstrual kits from Days for Girls to distribute in slums and regional schools around Kenya
- Contribute towards building supplies for the 6 houses we will build
- Donate to a project for a struggling family where I will help to build a chicken farm
Friends of friends through the power of Facebook have donated school supplies such as teachers text books, exercise books, pens and pencils, classroom posters and toys for the children in hospital and filled up 1 and a half suitcases for me to take with me. I cannot wait to see the faces of the children and teachers!
Special mention to:
- My Mum to coming along to all of my fundraising events, selling raffle tickets, donating prizes and holding a special event at her house
- My friends and family who have donated, attended events and supported me through posts and shares on social media.
- The Shingle Inn Bulimba for letting me use their venue and staff for a good cause
I want to say a huge thank-you to everyone has donated and supported me and my projects so far:
- Woolworths for providing giftcards to purchase the food for the picnic in the park and the high tea
- BWS Bulimba
- Libertine Perfume
- Brisbane boxing
- Tony and Guy
- P’nut noodle
- Active Life Gym
- Rachel Mack Hair
- Inna Bliss Yoga Studio
- Star fire Jewellery
- Baskin Robbins
- V Travel Network
- On The Go Tours
- Lynda Petterwood
- Bio Me Eco stores