There are so many things that I have done and become somewhat of an expert on in the past year that really never existed in my pre-Peace Corps reality. One of those things is Fundraising. I have given numerous trainings on fundraising throughout Moldova, in English and in shaky Romanian. I have given these trainings for Moldovan youth, other Peace Corps Volunteers, NGO Directors, Peace Corps staff and others.
The idea of fundraising or of organizing local fundraisers in America, is common place, but in Moldova it is much less so. In Moldova there is a prevailing attitude that fundraising will and can not be successful. I spend a lot of time giving examples of all the successful fundraisers that have in fact been done in Moldova. I spend a lot of time defending one the defining points I stress during every fundraising training – “All the money you need to succeed is in the hands of people you already know, or they know.” The greatest challenge you face in fundraising is how do you tap into this money?
One of the great moments of success I had here was after I had run many fundraisers and I ran my second large-scale one in Balti, I had a co-worker who had been initially skeptical about the feasibility of local fundraising, (“it doesn’t raise as much money as a grant,” “it won’t work,” ect.) who suggested that our organization should run a local fundraiser every quarter and then began to suggest and work on fundraising ideas with me.
While Fundraisers are not common in Moldova, they are done and done with success. The largest scale fundraiser I have heard of in Moldova, is the annual Hospice Angelus Charity Ball in Chisinau, which costs 100 euros per person to attend and all the profits from which go to benefit the NGO. While the largest fundraiser I have organized alone was the charity concert, I have also participated in a leadership role in many others, for example: here and here) all of which not only serve to collect money for an organization, that the organization can spend as they please (ie not allocated in a budget line of a grant) but also acts as great PR for the organization and for fundraising working in Moldova. More than that people in Moldova, both within civil society and in the public need to become aware and invested in the charity work that is ongoing instead of relying on their government or outside donors to provide the means for these services.
This past weekend I ran what was by far the smallest fundraiser I have ever run in Moldova. The volunteers from my organization worked with me to organize a table, selling hand-made greeting cards (made by them) and face painting. We raised about 400 lei (35 USD) including the donation box, which accounted for about half the money raised. However, this project was a good chance for the girls to actively organize and participate in something, while working as a team. It was also a chance to get CASMED’s name out there again, with a group of volunteers in the center, during a busy time of day, talking to people about the organization. Furthermore, for me, every one of these fundraisers is a chance to prove that local fundraising in Moldova can in fact be done.
If you are interested to check out a short Prezi I made about Fundraising, check it out here: http://prezi.com/net0hfi63mg-/fundraising/#