The Art of Fundraising – Bhumi Fellowship

The Art of Fundraising

Author: Monika Thangavelu

On the day my fundraising campaign was out, I was excited but equally nervous. The target was 1,35,250/- and I had only 15 days starting from Oct 15th. This was my first experience of an online fundraiser. “What can I do to achieve this target?”, was the one question that kept lingering in me.

It was in October 2021, when things were getting back to normal and there was hope that schools would begin soon. And the happy news surfaced, “November 1, schools will be reopening!”. It’s been two years since the children have seen the school gates. We were all excited at school. Teachers informed the parents about the same.

The idea of fundraising for “school uniform and shoes” came through a conversation with a parent. Vineeth’s* Mom said, “Ma’am, I am afraid my child doesn’t have a good dress to wear to school.” And added that she will be unable to buy one by the time school reopens. I realised the importance of uniforms and how it can stand in the way of a child’s confidence to attend school. I also understood school uniforms help address the socioeconomic divide and ensure all children are equal.

Like Vineeth, tens of other children at my school came from the community of daily wage earners. Their families were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and they are still struggling to meet their daily needs.

As a Bhumi fellow who works at the school, I thought of raising funds for Vineeth and his friends to be able to buy uniforms and shoes. That’s when Vaishnavi (Executive Director, Bhumi Fellowship) introduced us to the ‘Give India’s 100 Heroes opportunity’. Things started falling into place then.

I was clear with the cause. The next step was to design the fundraiser. The whole process of working on the design was interesting and very new to me. I was advised to keep the design

– Compelling;

– Clear;

– Credible;

– Consistent and

– Customised.

On the day my campaign was out, I was excited but equally nervous. The target was 1,35,250/- and I had only 15 days starting from Oct 15th. The process seemed seamless in the beginning. I contacted the people in my circle and everyone showed their interest to help.

But, after 5 days I was stuck. I was running out of time. All children had come to school to give measurements but I was at 50,000/- only and there was no progress. I was perplexed! Halfway through the fundraiser, I learned

  • being consistent was vital;
  • understanding my audience and customising designs;
  • reaching out to people without judgements;
  • importance of sharing progress and impact;
  • ensuring people believe in the work we do; and
  • being open to feedback from team-members.

Out of everything I did, posters made a huge difference. I ensured it said a story, stated progress and communicated the purpose to the audience. This helped achieve my target.

Within 11 days I had 88 supporters and raised 1,58,929/-. It benefited 187 children of Grades 1 to 5 at my school. I am grateful to all those who supported the cause and donated.

On December 1 we were able to #CreateJoy by distributing the uniforms and shoes. One child’s eyes broadened as she opened the uniform cover saying, “It is blue and new!”. There were lots of cute conversations between parents and children and to hear their exchange of words, I felt happier. Well, it was a cloudy start with questions of uncertainty, curiosity, and dilemma. However, after getting accustomed to the process of fundraising, it was interesting, intriguing, and enjoyable too.

We’re looking for change-makers who are passionate about transforming and bridging the gaps that exist in the educational ecosystem. If you think you have what it takes, register now on the Bhumi website!

 

#BhumiFellowship 

About the Author:

Monika believes the lines of W.H.Daves, “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare”. So, she spares time to admire things around. She loves to explore and learn. At the moment, she is learning to write blogs!

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