Monday, July 4, 2011

It's like a tootsie pop.

I'm now going to compare our recent fundraising to eating a tootsie pop.  Attempting to do this is similar to the task required of our fundraising committee several weeks ago.

We had planned an event.  It was to be a talent show/fundraiser.  How that idea materialized from the depths of the ether, I'll never know.

As we prepared the acts for the show, it became increasingly clear that it would be an utter disaster.  How does a talent show relate to fundraising?  At all?  How does one segue from a back-flipping staff member or a deaf eight-year-old armed with a violin to asking an audience for money to support their church?

Fortunately, two things came to the rescue of this event.  First, this wasn't a normal crowd - these were Scientologists - interested in expanding the church and in bettering society and, fortunately for me, very forgiving.  Second, we were all blessed with the presence of the lovely Fran Turner.

Fran is one of my favorite people.  She is gracious with a capital "G."  Her heart is huge.  Not too many people that I know have the ambition to retire from their job of decades so that they can then work full-time at a church - however, this is exactly what she has done.  She has become our Public Executive Secretary - no minor role, and not your typical "volunteer for a little bit each day" sort of position.

Before the event, Fran came to me and expressed her desire to become a Humanitarian.  She had been working toward this status for quite a while, and she was close.  She wanted to get it done.  Dawn broke inside my head, and I realized suddenly how "talent show" and "fundraiser" went together like peanut butter and chocolate.

Johnnie Brock's has great hats.  Soon, I looked like this -

At the beginning of the show, this lovely lady was my first (and only) hypnotic subject -

Soon, we both adopted our respective roles -

Fran then "hypnotically" donated each time I touched my hat, and was "compelled by forces unknown" to match every donation made by the audience.

Talent show + classy lady with a penchant for being a straight man = the first-ever talent show/fundraiser!

The audience that night had a great time.  The entertainers also enjoyed themselves immensely.  Alvah played "pinaner" and Andy started a sing-along as he lead with the tuba, Sheila and Susan Lograsso each performed stunningly, Kevin broke boards, and Ashley and Wesley danced beautifully.

Speaking of dancing... Matt D was not on the ticket as a performer; however, Sherry dragged him on stage and, waving her credit card wildly, created this...

In short, the evening was messy and impromptu and thoroughly enjoyable.  I wouldn't give up the memories of being with those guys for anything.  Some people go many months without laughing as much as I did that evening.

Funny thing, I never would have had an opportunity to experience that without the persistence of all the people that made it happen.  It would have been very easy to call the thing off a week or two before it occurred, based on any number of factors - including the fact that event itself made no rational sense.

However, many of our events have had similar traits and have also been enjoyable in their own rights.  Not all of them have been high-dollar events, but each has gotten us a little closer to our goal - a completed building and a renewed ability to help others. 

Some might lament that it would be better if "somebody just won the lottery and wrote a big check."  However, I have come to the viewpoint that our method is best.  It's better to travel the road and take each step, and enjoy the company along the way.  The way to enjoy a tootsie pop is to keep at it. 

To see some photos of what the St. Louis org will look like:

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