Wednesday, September 25, 2013


When I worked in the arts I had to do a lot of fundraising. Fundraising meant many things: writing letters of appeal to people, foundations, corporations and grant-giving agencies, putting on events and stalking rich people to sit on my boards of directors.  I hated it but I was good at it.

Now I am being for PAL Vancouver the board member I forever prayed for whilst working in my past. I have raised $91,000 for PAL over the past eight years and I actually have come to love doing it —  largely because I am a volunteer; it is not a job. If I fail, no one can rag at me.

And I am a bit of a loner. At school, I preferred solo projects to group projects. With PAL, I couldn't stand board or committee meetings.Too many people were all talk and no action; too many people voiced opinions were more about their egos than our purpose so I preferred to do fundraising for PAL alone.

Recently, I reached a point of frustration with PAL. I lost confidence in some of the decisions they were making and not making so I contacted the committee head responsible for special events and individual donations and asked for a meeting. That meeting has led to a wonderful outcome.

I wrote about my friend Dawn's and my proposal to launch a fund-raising campaign for PAL called Getting to Know You a few posts ago (Another Time Waster) and today it launched with the first meeting of the Campaign Team at my house. I am co-chair with Dawn as we get started; Dawn will have less and less to do as it unrolls and I will have more and more to do.

Dawn has led an arts organization that implemented the development model we are following so she is our campaign strategist. I am the working body. I lead the rather large group of board and resident volunteers who are going to execute the plan and I am really excited about being part of a team.

it began with my play, Knock Knock. A team put it together and staged it. I was at the centre of the team, as I am with Getting to Know You but in rehearsal and with this campaign, I am not the architect and that really appeals to me. In rehearsal, the director was the boss; with Getting to Know You, Dawn is the boss.

All my life, I was the boss. I was either the head of the whole organization or the head of a department with staff. Not being the boss, but being a primary organizer and executor, is wonderful. As we get going, I may experience frustration as more and more people get involved, but I believe in our plan and if it works, I will be very proud and happy. The Getting to Know You campaign is teaching PAL how to fundraise and I think this education is more valuable to the society than the $91,000 I have raised to date.

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