...Maybe you should listen
This isn't really about food per se, but the truth is, I have quite a few readers whose interests and jobs stretch through an unbelievable number of possibilities, and I can't think of a better place to spark some community and interest.
So, over the past year the same recurring theme has been coming up. It's been growing, it's been frustrating me, it's made me question philanthropic organizations, and it has made me cynical. Last night, when I was at the Slow Food Ohio wine judging, I was talking to a super cool local business owner, and the issue came up again and it hit me. Maybe something is trying to tell me something.
First of all, I am not going to pretend to be an expert on what I am about to talk about. I know this irritates some of you, but you have to start somewhere.
About a year ago, I was approached by a few local non-profits who thought I would be able to offer them something. Unfortunately, even though they sought my input on things like that dreaded term "social media," and wanted my advice on how to get young people involved in their organizations, they didn't really want to listen to what I had to say.
Our major sticking point was about money. These institutions were stuck in what I think of as an old-school mindset of going to the richest of the rich to get their funding. Over and over I suggested they shift their thinking a little bit, to include a younger and/or less affluent audience. Instead of $150 fundraisers, how about we have some $30 fundraisers? Instead of the same old tired walking around in pretty dresses and having our pictures taken by whatever lackluster media outfit is being represented, how about we target a larger, more diverse demographic of younger, more artistic, more creative, more diy sorts of people?
I was practically laughed out of one institution, but I still believe I have something here.
Recently I was at a meeting for WCRS, and I brought up this topic. I was relieved to hear the folks from Simply Living and WCRS had already thought of this and were totally on board with asking lots of people for a little.
Even people who benefit from some social services might be able to donate time or money to other social services. I know some volunteer organizations who ask the recipients of their services to volunteer in another area of the organization.
If anyone has doubts that this sort of thing would work really needs to investigate the phenomenon of fundraising surrounding our president-elect - asking for small amounts from millions of people - and getting a record amount of money - has turned the idea of fundraising on its head.
So, who's in? If you work for of know of a non-profit who would be interesting on working on "micro fundraising," please leave me a comment. I want to focus on households who want to give back to their community but are making less than $50K or so a year. I think there are a lot of us out there. If your company encourages micro fundraising, I would love to hear about you.
If you have anything to offer - maybe a restaurant who would be willing to donate food, an designer willing to donate fliers or logos, a printer who will donate or offer low-cost tees and bags, who knows what all?
We probably won't be able to get off the ground until after the New Year, but I would love to see our community come together to raise money for some great organizations. It certainly isn't going to be any sort of Columbus Foundation, but maybe we can think of some sort of cheeky "other side Foundation" name.
I'd love to hear some other thoughts, if anyone is interested.