Thursday, March 01, 2007

Non-Profit Fundraising - A Poet's Guide

Growing up in a Chorus wasn’t always easy. There were eyes everywhere, watching, judging. There were also mouths all around, ready at a moment’s notice to tell you what you were doing wrong. As a teenager, the amount of nosy, no good, busybodies seemed to multiply exponentially with each passing year.

We fought the power in many secret ways.

Every year, the Chorus does a fundraising drive, as does every non-profit organization in the cosmos. Each person in the Chorus was responsible for writing 20 letters. Writing. Not typing. No one checked your work. You got a little note if one of your letters produced actual donations.

With each passing week, the people that ran the fund drive would hound us for our letters. Naturally, we would never write them. That is until one year, when we were forced to sit down before a rehearsal and actually produce them. Ooohhhhhh, we were not happy.

So we did what any teenager would have done. We got creative with our letters. One friend of mine smeared his writing with water, asking the reader to please excuse his tears of sorrow at having to beg for money on the Chorus’ behalf. Another wrote agonizingly long stories of how he spent his day, describing in excruciating detail how he put on his clothes, ate his dinner, and rode his bike to rehearsal. I chose poetry. Like this little gem.

The Chorus sings of joy and bliss
Wherever they may go
But we can’t do it without your help
So please cough up some dough.

We had quite a good time.

And no one checked out letters.

Somebody I wrote to donated $50.

I remembered that as two short weeks after rejoining my old Chorus, I was handed a bag full of envelopes and told to write my letters. Dear God help me, the flashbacks are coming . . .

Here’s my creations for this year.

The Chorus of Westerly sings every year
Their voices ring out to bring you good cheer
You’ve been to our concerts. You like us. We know.
So why don’t you give us some of your hard earned dough?

There once was a man named Kent
Who conducted wherever he went
If the Chorus went flat
He’d don a hard hat
And bury them neck deep in cement

I did some haiku also.

The Chorus is great
Please give some of your money
To keep us singing

Adults and children
Making beautiful music
For pennies a day

It’s better than sex!
The Chorus of Westerly
Live performances

Fundraising is hard
Why don’t you make it easy
And donate money

But this is my favorite from this year’s bunch:

    Thirteenth Night

The jesters won’t juggle
The king’s pronounced dead
They’ve fired the dancers
And sold the Boar’s Head

No Morris bells ringing
No Chorus kids singing

The stage is now silent and black

Without your donation
To our organization

Twelfth Night might never come back.

I’ll let you know how much money I rake in