The Wickeds continue to celebrate Sheila Connolly’s book birthday for Razing the Dead. Today we’re talking about our best fundraising efforts, in honor of Nell Pratt and her many adventures in the Museum Mysteries.
Liz: There’s something so gratifying about asking for money for a good cause. One of my favorite fundraising experiences was chairing a live and silent auction for an animal rescue group I worked with – we raised tons of money for the furries. My most recent experience, though, was the annual fundraising breakfast for Safe Futures, a domestic violence and sexual assault center where I’m a board member. We raised a record-breaking amount for the organization and it was so satisfying to be part of that.
Sherry: This is a twist on fundraising. When I lived and worked in Cheyenne, Wyoming I was asked to help with the marketing for a campaign called Schools for Cheyenne’s Future. We were trying to get a slight increase in property taxes to fund renovations. It’s not exactly a popular issue especially for people who no longer have kids in the school system. I managed, through the marketing campaign, to show how the schools were used for other events open to all. The evening the votes were counted a group of us sat around a TV watching as the votes trickled in. It passed by a landslide.
Barb: My admiration for people who raise funds for non-profits is boundless–mainly because I would be so incredibly bad at it. Good, highly productive fundraisers whose vision and passion are aligned with the organization they work for are as rare as hen’s teeth and should be treasured. A friend of mine once told me you should never start a rock band unless you’ve found your bass player, because the good ones are so rare. Same thing for non-profits and fundraisers.
Julie: Liz, as someone who runs a non-profit, your attitude it is my dream board member’s. StageSource does some fundraising efforts throughout the year, and we do have donors who help support us. And we contribute to some fundraisers as well–I was auctioned off for a lunch date recently! If anyone has a fun idea for a fundraiser for an arts service organization, I’m all ears!
Edith: I love donating naming rights. In fact, a woman bought naming rights to a character in ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part at at StageSource auction. I wrote her in as a farm subscriber, blah, blah. Then to my surprise she turned out to be an undercover DEA agent! The woman who bought the rights is delighted and has become one of my biggest fans. I did the same for the Merrimac River Feline Rescue Society at their annual auction last fall,
which is incredibly well run and raises lots of bucks. They decided to feature my naming rights in the live auction and put me right up on the stage with auctioneer Randy Price (well-known local newscaster), with a massive photo of my book cover on the screen behind us. The rights went for something like $350! We all had fun, and the winner became an environmentalist schoolteacher in Farmed and Dangerous who even asks Cam out for a date. But I wouldn’t want to work at being a fundraiser full time. I even hate to accost strangers at a farmers’ market where I’m selling books to say, “Do you like mysteries?”
Readers, share fundraising stories in the comments below!
Long ago, I worked at a fine arts museum. The annual gala/fundraiser was a big and fabulous event, but when you are on staff–well, let’s just say I get it when a murder mystery is set at a big fancy gala! I have worked for two non-profits, and it’s a different mindset. I wish I had some fabulously creative Idea to share.
Sherry, I love the visual of you all watching election results!
So have you ever set a story at a big event, Ramona? The night we watched everyone was tense but me — the naivety of youth I guess!
I worked for years answering the phone at a public radio station fundraiser.
I always thought it looked like it might be fun to answer the phones for one of those and I bet it is a lot more work than I think it is!
Ooh, I did that with my workplace for WGBH in Boston – it was fun, they fed us really well, and we got work credit, too.
I don’t know if it’s common knowledge, but I was a professional fundraiser for several years, for non-profits, a women’s college, and a couple of political campaigns. One of my ulterior motives for writing the Museum Mysteries is to make the point that non-profit museums and historical institutions don’t have a lot of money, and there are things they simply can’t afford to do (like install modern security systems and add staff or sometimes even repair a leaking roof!). Oh, and the other motive was that all those detailed personal records collected by institutional fundraisers come in very handy in solving crimes, because we knew (literally) where all the bodies were buried. I did get to plan some really interesting parties, too.
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