It was painful to hear and watch.
We were attending a conference where the meals averaged $25 for breakfast, $35 for lunch and $55 for dinner. “I could feed 40 girls for almost 5 days with what I just paid for lunch.” My fellow attendee friend has been traveling to India for over 20 years. Each year, she spends 6 weeks there, working among three orphanages she supports there. Back in the USA, she lives the other 46 weeks like a pauper, saving everything she can to feed those children she looks to as her own. She was attending the conference with me because she was receiving a grant for her work there. But the values conflict was evident. In a way, our event’s costs were incongruous with the very groups we were claiming to support.
Last year, a friend told me of an annual event where outrageous sums of money are paid for fancy cakes and pies, over bid vacation packages and win themed gift baskets that’ll eventually end up on the “nice basket shelf” in people’s garages. All money raised goes to a good cause, but like the cost of meals at the grant recipient’s conference, he’s wondering to me if they are sending the wrong message?
Years ago, I heard of a much different event. The menu of rice and beans rested on paper plates, with spoons and forks placed on inexpensive napkins. The event was packed. People wore street clothes, brought their families while media presentations were made showing where raised funds would go—one could see the very people one was helping without the distraction of whether you were having the Beef Wellington or Chicken Kiev. It also sent a congruous message-money mattered. Whether $1 or $100, every dollar counted. Like my friend’s life, the event conveyed a consistent, harmonious message.
Next time you do a fund raising event for 200 Orphanages World Wide, consider a fundraiser that intentionally conveys the very message you mean to send—get creative, build on this one example above.
We can’t wait to hear your report!
C Fred Cornforth
Chief Executive Officer
CDI Group of Companies