How did the fun in fundraising disappear?

                                                                                                             TIM BERRY IS SEEKING HELP IN
                                                                                                             ENTERING BOSTON MARATHON.






So I started off with this notion that it was at least doable. Often I have said we don't start with  cannots. You got to start with some form of believing that what you are seeking can be done. One must believe that what you say you can do you can do. And so here I was wanting to do the right thing by a friend and realizing as well that I was not the person for the job. And yet if only I wished and practiced and listened to enough information and just got the proper state it would all work out. And then I thought of times that I was successful in raising money for others. I would write about them. Asking those I know would give would be easy and still that feeling lingered. Break that pattern of negativity. One must begin even though, "they didn't see the whole staircase..."

One of my first fundraisers was selling my sister's candy bars for a school fundraiser. I remember sticking my foot in the door as I had learned on the Rockford Files (an old detective show). When the woman asked where I had learned this. I told her so. She closed the door twice on that foot before buying.

Later I realized a quicker way to sell those candy bars. Stick them them in the fridge. My Aunt Marge would come over and ask, "Can I have one?" "I would tell her to take two." My dad and mom would snitch one during the week and my sales went up all without much effort on my part. Soon the box was gone. Insert another box into the fridge. "Do what works..." Let me remind you this was a time when you didn't get candy or pizza each day. That was a rare treat. That was a time that when driving in the car with the side vents down on a humid day or going to the pothole to feel the cool breeze was considered air conditioning. Speeding in a car was air conditioning. And even though we had an air conditioner, it was only used in one room. Imagine that. Does anyone remember those times?

Another time I convinced my mother to let me volunteer for Teddy Kennedy. I raised some money there although only in the 8th grade. One day Teddy was in Scranton, Pa at the headquarters and a man was right beside him whispering in his ear. He came to me shook my hand and said, "Paul we certainly could use more people like you in this campaign. Thank You. Thank You..."

The man behind him knew everyone's name. 

Another time I did well selling raffle tickets to win a car. It was fun. 

I raised money for WHO in the Harry Chapin Fun Bicycle run. It was a 25 mile course with one nasty hill. A lot of people gave up. Today that course would be a jaunt. Times change.

One priest in town that my mother worked for was known to be irascible. Who knows what he went through? The previous one was so nice to my mother and one day I came to visit and the regime had changed. No more visits for Red Cheek Apple Juice that other priest used to provide willingly. So now I am met with a new challenge. I was collecting for some cause and needed to eat the toad first, (or doing the hardest task first) even though I didn't know that expression at the time.

Working in the grocery store find opportunities to sell was a nice diversion from providing knock their socks off customer service.  I gave a one minute coaching with a employee about how to win a contest selling Shamrocks. "You ask and learn to ask a few different ways in one sentence. And you ask everyone and you ask again. And after a few days of this it might get boring. BORING. And then that's when you still have to ask and bring back the fun into the process. And soon it seems you offered others the chance to be compassionate and seem to have none left to ask and you press on." Sure enough I won the contest. My supervisor's picture appeared on the wall instead, she didn't do the selling and yet got the credit.  My main boss wanted to know what I did to beat all the other stores. I called over the person I had coached and who had called in second and asked her about her process. In summary,the only difference was that she quit earlier in the game and admitted it. I kept on asking.



In sales this means you do the hardest part first or deal with your hardest customer first. I told Father Stuffy that Monsignor from another parish had contributed a higher amount-knowing that this would create spirit of competition. And it worked.

I ask, "What is my next step?" "Would I rather be complaining or amazed?"

Will God use my mistakes and my bitterness. Sometimes I am afraid to be amazing. Sometimes I am gutless. Shame. Is that what life taught me?

Two nuns were collecting for their cause at Saint Pete's in the Loop. I started their facebook page. They didn't want to do it. Anyway I later reminded the priests that these nuns collected more money on a rainy Tuesday in a shorter time than the whole church did on Ash Wednesday their busiest days.

At Saint Michael's a group nuns was handing out literature and prayer cards. I didn't want any. I thanked them. They asked again and again and repeated the same behavior. Nicely though. I just didn't want any more papers. Finally after they left I took a prayer card. One day months later something told me to pick up that card. I did. Doing that put me in a state of awe. Looking at the picture I became aware automatically that I knew the artist. He had lived with my family many years ago. That was a nice surprise. Also collected for Mercy Home and a few others-so many times that I was successful in collecting. Sometimes I really didn't do much asking.

A few people were quite generous beyond measure when I was the poor. When I shut the doors people would ask what happened. I would tell them, "The Director failed." I was that Director. Mistakes will be made.

Another opportunity to practice deep breathing.  Another study in not getting where I wanted to go.

Did I want to take on this task in the first place? Not really. The fun in fundraising was long gone. As a child there was still some play in this whole process. So this time with this project it just didn't work like I thought it would. And I was left feeling disgusted and frustrated rather than chipper and fulfilled. Remember Little House on the Prairie where they would just pass the hat around if a problem occurred or they would break their backs to help another one out? So in the end I was far from reaching my goal and all that pollyannish belief. How to deal with not succeeding? In a all things give thanks.  How did the fun in fundraising disappear? How to put the play back in the process and doing just because it was pure fun?

The curiosity is that about a year ago, I saw an article about two individuals that were allegedly down on their luck and a homeless individual gave them money for gas. It was a real tug at your heart story. I didn't believe it at first and then told myself to be trusting only to find out that my first feelings were real. We hear all these platitudes about helping or teaching one to fish and then what really happens?

Interesting. I guess I just didn't sharpen my ax well enough. Sometimes it is just one more step.


Dedicated to Andrew McIntire and clan.




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