The Fighting shoulder to shoulder with the poor program involves that the team has to fundraise $1200 US per person. In theory this should not be a problem, because the amount of team work and many ideas we had from my part I thought it would be a piece of cake. Like any other project there were many problems that we as poverty fighters had to turn into challenges and work as a team towards a common goal.
One of the biggest challenges we came across was to fund raise in a poor country. St. Vincent is the third poorest country in the region, thus making money is sometimes a form of luxury. We have done actions in poor communities in St. Vincent and therefore we have seen the effects the lack of money have on a family. So we had to think of other ways than the local population to receive funds. Some of the ways we made our fundraising money was to have a snack shop at the Richmond Vale Academy. We sold chocolate, cigarets, chips and soft drinks, we tried to keep a good stock of locally or Caribbean products.
Many of the ideas for fundraising were very creative and full off sparks in the first few months. We had a list about 20 things that we could do, from designing t-shits and selling them online, to sending letters to Ellen DeGeneres asking if she could donate. We have thoughts about making fund-raising parties in Norway and in the US. We talked to tourists arriving the harbour trying to sell handmade jewellery and bracelets, however because of language and communication difficulties this was unsuccessful. In the end finding advertisements for the Richmond Vale Academy newspaper gave us the last push, where 60% of the advertisements to towards printing the news paper and 40% goes towards our fundraising.
Earlier we had set up a GoFundMe page, where most of the contribution came from friends and family. After a while we saw that we needed to focus on our strengths, and from there fundraising became easier. Mariana is very talented when it comes to artistic ideas and being creative, therefore when she had the opportunity to paint some paintings for the Hiking and Diving Centre she took it head on. Manal’s friends and family were definitely one of the best contributors to our cause. Without them we would really be struggling. We started with massages and created a stable flow of fundraising through that.
As a conclusion we think it would have been easier to establish easier and more effective ways to get donations if we were in a developed country. We could have targeted the local population as well as other forms of fundraising that would maybe work in developed countries. When focusing on our strengths and putting more time into that we saw a change in our interest to fundraise as well as our commitment to the cause. Personally I have learned about the difficulties and challenges about fundraising, and from now on when friends or family members are fundraising for a good cause, even small donations are appreciated, and I will help in anyway I possibly can.
A big thank you to everybody who has donated money to our cause, we are exited to do humanitarian actions in Belize and Ecuador. We are ready for new chapters and adventures that will meet us in the projects.
Lillian Harmark Lie – Fighting Poverty Team #8