On Organizing a Fund-Raiser for the First Time In My Life.

It happens too often; when something awful happens elsewhere in the world, be is Tsunami in Asia, Hurricanes in the SE, Earthquake in China, and now Earthquake in Haiti - I feel at a loss as to what to do. All I can do is channel money to those who can actually Do Something.

I'd been bouncing the idea around in my head for a few days. I could do a fundraiser - photograph families for a day, and the money would go to a Haiti-relief org. It would be called: GINKGOPHOTOTHON. But I could go crazy, driving from one home to the next - wait, what if I tell everyone to come to me, at a central, picturesque location? And then... what should I charge? How long should a session be? Short enough to not feel like a weighty time sucker-upper, but long enough to make a not small (but not too big!) donation seem worthwhile. I settled on 30 minutes for $75.

Am I forgetting anything? My other half, a far more practical person, asked about tax deductability and paperwork. Um. Do *I* get the tax deductible or do my clients? Are my clients paying me, and I make the donation? Or are they making the monetary donation, thus getting tax deductableness, and my donation consists of time? I decided on the latter. It wouldn't be right to say: Thanks for the check, I get the tax-deductible on this. But think about things like Benefit Concerts - who gets the tax deductible? It can get nitty gritty.

The Doctors Without Borders website had some info. I decided to go with them because... though physically unscathed survivors have lost everything, at least they have their functioning body. Scathed survivors don't even have that. But really, one can't go wrong with Red Cross, Oxfam, etc. I must admit I'm partial to DWB because I like how Medicins Sans Frontiers rolls off the tongue. Anyways, I was saying, there is a whole section with info on how to fund-raise. They even have a kit. So I think I'm doing this right. It's as simple as collecting the checks made out to DWB, and then DWB will send letters of acknowledgement/tax deductibleness to the check writer. BTW, "acknowledgement" is one of those words that looks weirder and weirder the longer I look at it.

Next! Choosing a day. Has to be a weekend. And it has to Not Rain. It's been pouring all over California recently. I've been checking on weather reports frequently, and it wasn't until I saw that Saturday is supposed to be sunny, did I proceed. This was the major factor holding me back. Weather.

Location: I wanted to stick to one area: San Mateo Central Park, which has a lovely Japanese Tea Garden, large kids' playground and a charming rose garden - not to mention, easy parking, and is a block away from many lunch options for myself. Location choice was closely tied to targeted participant base - a certain mother's club with whom I've experienced some popularity. I contacted a few client-Moms with my freshly written ad:

Haiti needs our help!

I am hosting a Haiti Aid PHOTOTHON on Saturday Jan 23, in San Mateo Central Park.
100% of contributions will go to Doctors Without Borders efforts in Haiti.

For your tax-deductible contribution of $75, you will receive:
Half hour mini-photo session with me
CD of all original hi-resolution files (100+ photos)
Your choice of 25 edited photos.
10% discount coupon towards a future photo session with me
Acknowledgement letter from Doctors Without Borders

This is an opportunity to capture candid photos of you and your little ones puddle splashing in rubber boots, take those head shots you've been meaning to get, do pet portraits of your furry best friends, photograph baby in that outfit the grandparents sent a few months ago!

Limited time slots available. Please contact me ASAP for a spot.
One of the moms posted this on the club bulletin.
Then, I waited to see what would happen.