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fundraiser

Books for Bricks

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Books for Bricks

“Books for Bricks”

By: Petey John Cunningham

 

Me, holding a poster we had made for the event.

Me, holding a poster we had made for the event.

A few weeks before I arrived in Nepal in December of 2015, I confess that doubt weighed heavily on my mind. I’m an international affairs student at Northeastern University in Boston, and much of my degree has been spent learning about international development. Despite my decision to volunteer, I’d heard countless examples of irresponsible or exploitative development practices and feared that those practices, or worse, awaited me in Takure.

"I was relieved and grateful to find an organization as responsible, caring and hard-working as Conscious Impact proved to be."

Sale day, with my Nepali friend Raj manning the booth!

Sale day, with my Nepali friend Raj manning the booth!

The ten days I spent with the Conscious Impact team tore those fears from my mind, root and stem.... I was relieved and grateful to find an organization as responsible, caring and hard-working as Conscious Impact proved to be. Upon my return to Boston in the fall of 2016 after a semester studying in London, I decided that I wanted to raise funds for this cause and organization that to this day remains so close to my heart.

My Momma, helping to sort and organize books!

My Momma, helping to sort and organize books!

During my time in London, I attended a $1 used book fundraiser hosted by Amnesty International. I decided to bring the idea back to Boston and host my own series of book sales within the Northeastern community, on behalf of Conscious Impact. This approach heartily appealed to me because it creates value for both the giver and the receiver, donors get wonderful new reading material, and the people of Takure get the funds they need to rebuild.

Conscious Impact’s official Sales Associates!

Conscious Impact’s official Sales Associates!

I sent emails to bookstores, libraries, professors, family and friends, soliciting book donations from as many sources as I could imagine; I parted with much of my own personal library. At one point, over 800 books sat in my Mom’s living room; you can imagine how appreciative she was of the clutter! I used my connections with two groups on campus, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) and the NU Buddhist Group, to have the sales officially sanctioned by the university and, in October, I held my first sale. With friends and family staffing the tables, and speakers blaring our favorite music, the “Books for Bricks” vibe was more ‘party’ than ‘bookstore’!

Northeastern’s mascot Paws striking a pose!

Northeastern’s mascot Paws striking a pose!

The fundraiser cost me no more than time, and the gas I used driving my mom’s little red Chevy to transport boxes, first from the donors to my home, and then from my home to the sale sites. Each book cost only $1, but customers were, of course, encouraged to donate extra if the urge struck them. Often enough, they generously left me their change, or an extra dollar or two. All in all, the sales raised $1573.87.

I have to take a moment to thank all those who helped: my fantastic friends, my many book donors, and my incomparable mother. Their assistance made all the difference.

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Drink Good to Do Good

Drink Good to Do Good

In December some friends and I hosted a guest bartending fundraiser at a popular bar in San Francisco, CA. In large cities you might be lucky enough to find bars/restaurants that open up their businesses to do something similar. Essentially, during a low traffic period of time (in our case, a Saturday from 6-9PM), you and a group of friends can go behind the bar and make drinks, and all tips (possibly both cash and credit depending on the business) will be pooled and donated to your initiative. 

Depending on how well you advertise, you can make anywhere from $100 - $2000 dollars. On top of the tips earned, another volunteer and I donated several items to be raffled off, mostly a bunch of leftover souvenirs from Nepal. The more people drink, the easier it is to get them to buy raffle tickets ;) 

I organized the fundraiser in conjunction with a friend also raising money for a volunteer trip to Peru. After splitting costs, we raised around $400 for Conscious Impact.

Aly's Poetry Book Fundraiser

Aly's Poetry Book Fundraiser

My second fundraising effort was through a personal poetry book that I printed myself. I bought a bulk amount of paper at Paper Source and printed about 80 copies through multiple avenues, such as a printing room at a friend's former art school and Office Depot. I bound the books myself using hemp cord and gave them as gifts for minimum $10 donations.

I advertised this fundraiser on Facebook and Instagram.

I asked donors to email me their address with a screenshot of their donation so I could ship the book over to them. 

In total, I spent about $400 of my own money on materials, printing costs, and shipping costs. I absorbed around $330 of the profits gained to reimburse myself.

I raised $1,534. 

...with an average donation of $20.45 per person. 

You can read the poetry and writing that was featured in the book on my blog, alysonnoele.com

Dillion and Tayler's FundRAGER!

Dillion and Tayler's FundRAGER!

With 7% ($210) of our funding left to raise after closing our Generosity page, we decided to throw a party.

Overview

We charged $5 for admission at the door, which got attendees access to a keg, some pretzels and chips, and performances by 5 musical acts. If they were not into drinking beer (or at least, the beer provided), they could buy mixed drinks at a staffed bar for $3/ea. If they were feeling like they wanted something more substantial than chips or pretzels to fill their stomachs, we offered bowls of dhal bhat, served at the bar for $1/ea (Dhallar Deals!!!).

We raised $1,074.04!

 

Party Planning

We had 8 friends that volunteered to work shifts to create the party. One of them was the dedicated ‘sound guy’ for the night, helping bands/solo acts setup and teardown. He also managed the mixer and made sure the sonic waves kept bumping their bump. The other 7 rotated through one hour-long shifts at the door (taking money for admission) or at the bar (mixing drinks). We had a schedule of everyone’s shifts made a day in advance and made sure everyone received an electronic copy.

The PA system was donated for use by one of Dillon’s coworkers. All of the musicians were willing to play for free. We happen to utilize enough ‘cool’/groovy lighting in our household (color-changing LED bulbs, laser-like projectors, etc.) that we did not need to hire anyone from the outside to take care of lighting (although we did have a visual artist/audio engineer offer to take part in any future events that we throw for free).

Our goal was the cover the cost of the party through admissions alone (this gave us an estimated attendance goal). We made a point to reach out to people individually to find out if they were coming, and to let them know to invite all of their friends. We made sure to let people know about the event during the weeks leading up to it whenever we were at other parties/bars.

We made sure to let all of our neighbors know what was going on, and gave them our contact info in case they needed to reach us.

Facebook event

*Special note: We had a friend’s parent agree to match all of the contributions given that night, effectively doubling the impact of every dollar earned.

 

Turnout

About 60-70 people showed up. Fun was had. Musics were played. Bodies danced. We tapped out the keg much faster than anticipated, and ended up having to make a run to the grocery store to get more beer mid-party. All of the dhal bhat was eaten, and almost of the liquor was consumed by the end of the night.


Budget

$95.00

$12.00

$99.27

$63.99

$25.00

DONATED

$36.38

$14.32

$345.96

Keg

Tap

Liquor Store Trip

Safeway Trip

Last Store Trip

Chris' Store Trip

Last Minute Booze

Ice

Total: 


Breakdown:

  • Keg: Handful of Hops by Stormbreaker (roommate is an employee, we got a good discount)
  • Tap: Rented
  • Liquor Store Trip: Self explanatory
  • Safeway Trip: Mixers, Cups, Straws, Cocktail Ingredients
  • Last Store Trip: Snacks, remaining ingredients for dhal bhat (our household already had 25lb buckets of both lentils and rice)
  • Chris’ Store Trip: Extra cups and ice
  • Last Minute Booze: 2x 24 packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon
  • Ice: Self explanatory

Return

$710

$364.04

$710

$1,074.04

Gross

Profit

Matching Donation

Total Profit


Rose's Raffle to Rebuild Nepal

Rose's Raffle to Rebuild Nepal

Before I starting working with Conscious Impact in Nepal, I was managing a cafe in Northern California. I exchanged my tip jar for a raffle ticket jar during my shifts and the other employees graciously kept the jar out on the counter during theirs. I live in wine country, so a couple weeks prior to starting my fundraiser, I called all the local wineries and restaurants in town. I even reached out to friends who offered services are masseurs, hair stylists, and horseback riding instructors. There wasn't a single person/business who turned me down when I asked for a donation. It's incredible how excited people are to give to a good cause and support folks volunteerings in their community. 

The only cost of setting up this fundraiser were the tickets, which cost about $5.

I created a spreadsheet to keep track of all of the donations. When someone bought a ticket, I had them write their full name and phone number on it. Because I had a couple of months to fundraise, I left the raffle open for two months. Tickets were $5 each, so $20 for 5. I found that most people bought 5 and it gave me a great opportunity to talk about Conscious Impact.

I raised $1,653.

Alyson's Painting Fundraiser

Alyson's Painting Fundraiser

My first fundraising effort was an art gift fundraiser, where I offered donors the option of receiving a painting as a gift for certain tiers of fundraising. I advertised predominantly through Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, I created an event, inviting all my friends to donate in order to receive gifts and support Conscious Impact's work in Nepal.

I raised $1,500!

$10 donations were gifted hand painted thank you cards

$25 donations were gifted small 5x4 watercolor paintings

$50 donations were gifted medium-sized 6x10 watercolor paintings

$100 donations were gifted large 8x12 watercolor paintings