What I learned about fundraising at camp
I am a huge camp person. Anyone who knows me knows this about me. The picture on this blog is an example of what a crazy camp person I am. I actually convinced my husband and son to build me a camp-like tent in my yard in Vermont. This is the place that I rest and read and watch the birds and my chickens. Sometimes I even think up blog topics. It is a truly magical place. Ok- but back to camp.
So this weekend, I was at a chapel service at camp. It was Parents Weekend in the middle of the season at the boys camp called Lanakila where my son is a counselor. The place was crawling with kids and their parents. We had a near mystical chapel service in the woods, complete with beautiful music and wonderful storytelling about the things that are really important in life. And then.. it was time for the offering.
The Assistant Director talked about the cause that we were supporting with our offering- Village2Village, a village in Africa that Lanakila has adopted. There are a number of ways that the camp supports this village. A former counselor has taken groups of kids there to do service. They have even bulit a re-creation of the castle that is one of the iconic landmarks at camp.
But here's the point of the story. During the chapel service the camp folks were asking for our support of this cause through our offering. They were asking for support for this place on the other side of the world. They had some pictures that were great and helped people connect with the cause. But then, the Assistant Director, Bryan, told us that two young women from the village were there on Sunday. They had come thousands of miles and were willing and happy to talk to us. They were introduced and stood up to great applause. It turns out that these were the first two girls from this village who had actually enrolled in college. And suddenly, the ask became much more real and much more personal. This was not just a place on the other side of the world, but this was a place with real people who cared enough about our gifts and our commitment to them that they had traveled up to the woods of Vermont.
I don't have the numbers but I'm willing to bet that the offering on Sunday were more bountiful and generous than usual. When you tell compelling stories, when real people speak from their hearts about the need, people are moved to generosity.
Our clients are raising money every day on our platform. And we know that when they are able to tell a compelling story about their organization and their impact, they are more successful. That's why we launched the feature on our home page called Goodness in Action. If you are an organization doing good work and having impact, we want to share your story.
So here's to compelling storytelling in fundraising and in life. And I can't help myself.. here's to camp. May every child away at camp this summer have the same magical, mystical experience that I had.