Thursday, November 20, 2008

Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD!

Everyone is feeling the pinch in these difficult economic times so it often takes an enterprising and imaginative spirit to keep from slipping into the financial red. My little 200 year old church on the hill, with its dwindling congregation, is no exception.

We are constantly struggling to raise enough money to meet our operating costs and fund outreach programs like supporting the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, missionary work and disaster relief. But as the expression states, when times get tough, the tough get going. And the 'tough' in this instance were the ladies of our Serendipity Circle.

Spurred on by high hopes and good will these ladies organized our first ever (annual?) pasta dinner and live auction. Every church member was encouraged to donate a service or item for bidding. The idea behind the service is that each of us has unique talents and skills that we can share with others. For some this was 15 hours of yard or house work while for others it was 8 hours of handyman work (plumbing, electrical work, painting, etc). A lawyer offered to prepare two wills, someone donated a cord or half cord of fire wood and a family donated their time share property.

I was 'voluntold' to offer to teach a class in American Sign Language. I figured I could teach four one to one tutoring sessions in my home and possibly raise as much as $200 for the church. As the event neared I was approached by several people expressing interest in the lessons. My 'item' was going to be part of the live auction (there were 76 items in the silent auction, 14 in the live) and I was beginning to wonder how the bidding would go.

The pasta dinner/auction took place this past Saturday and the ASL lessons were the hot ticket. It turns out that six people were interested. So, instead of asking them all to continue to place individual bids I was asked if I would consider teaching a class so everyone could participate. I said 'okay' and the bidding closed. Each person agreed to pay $110 each which brought in $660! Pretty cool.

In total, the pasta dinner/auction brought in about $8,500. It exceeded our expectations and was a wonderful evening of fellowship. Now if I could just figure out a way to make some extra money for myself. Anyone interested in learning sign language?

14 comments:

MarmiteToasty said...

The friend that I went to visit in Maine last year over the summer is fluent in sign language and I was fasinated by it all, as it is so very different from our British Sign language, well, except maybe rude signs from road rage people, I think they are the same the world over.....

And when we went to a openair concert I was again fasinated to see someone signing on the side of the stage....

x

mouse (aka kimy) said...

it is so wonderful when a fundraiser exceeds one's expectations instead of the other way around!

and how great that your contribution netted so much!!

lettuce said...

hey gary!

LG's primary school used to have auctions like these - its always really interesting too, to see what people can do/offer

congrats. on your purchasability! :-)

and have a good weekend

Dumdad said...

Wow, $8,500 - that's impressive.

Dumdad said...

Oh, I meant to add :

Bon weekend!

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Having been in fund raising for 20 years, I certainly know that right now is one of the most challenging times ever to encourage people to give. But when there is passion and commitment that you obviously have, there is no limit to what people will give. And the satisfaction for what you accomplished is even richer. Way to go!

WAT said...

And you go to church and help out like this too?

My God. Someone is going to snatch ya up and ask for your hand in marriage soon.

DRAT!

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Awesome! Nothing like a goal reached (or exceeded) to make the day brighter.

Salty Miss Jill said...

You have a golden heart, Gary. :)
Hooray for the $ raised!
And the irony of ASL course being part of a silent auction is terrific.

Squirrel said...

Bravo Gary! It is such a hard time to have a successful fundraiser. Impressive work!

"Just David!" said...

that's sooooo cool!

Barbara said...

Bravo to you for such a unique contribution. I've made great friends through auction purchases like this. I'm sure they will all enjoy your mini-course in ASL!

Gary said...

Thanks everyone for your supportive comments. We are all part of so many 'communities' and I feel like I have my place in the blogosphere because of the relationships that have grown here. It is our connections that make life important.

Joseph Campbell wrote "of the unity of the race of man, not only in its biology but also in its spiritual history, which has everywhere unfolded in the manner of a single symphony". Together we create the music. And as ABBA sang "Thank you for the music".

joyce said...

ah, you are a good find.
Times may be tough, and people may appear to be selfish, but then.....

Life surprises you with its generosity and grace and bounty!
And community and relationships.
People. Not such a bad idea after all.

congrats on your fabulous fundraiser- that is remarkable.

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