When we left you last Sunday with the posting on “Helping Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Victims“, I was still contemplating how to use my/our personal talents to help raise money for the cause. As I’ve mentioned in earlier postings, I’m not so clever in arts and crafts. So, finding talents I could use to raise money was no simple effort, and frankly, frustrating. This particular disaster hits a personal chord. Though a second-generation born American, I hold a soft spot in my heart for the country of my ancestors. I want to do something extra special to help and support.
What could we do?
After not a small amount of digging about — through my brain and bookcases — I decided on two things that I do well, enjoy doing, and that maybe we could somehow make “monetizable.” Meanwhile, Nils was prepared to look into providing the venue and “market” (his workplace and colleagues at Ernst & Young Austria).
Throughout the week, while watching DVDs, I made tiny origami cranes (a symbol of honor and loyalty, as well as peace and good luck), something I’d learned to make as a child. Later in the week, I did what comes naturally: I baked — an oatmeal raisin recipe that’s usually a hit. I had no idea if my cranes and cookies would be incentive for people to give, but it was what I had to offer.
Last, but not least, after some research on relief organizations working in Japan, Nils and I chose to have the donations go to the Austrian arm of Doctors without Borders.
Through small effort on our part and the generosity and enthusiasm of Nils’ management and colleagues at Ernst & Young Austria, we raised more money than either of us imagined possible! We’ve already sent off the monies we collected to Ärzte Ohne Grenzen (the Austrian arm of Doctors without Borders)
Why was this successful?
- What we observed this week is that people easily get into the spirit of giving when there’s a sense of community and joint effort. Of course, Nils’ company, so readily willing to match employee contributions, certainly added incentive and challenge to give!
- We believe that doing short, time-limited events like this create a certain urgency and desire, i.e., “It’s an ‘event’!”, encouraging people to take action or join now/today.
- It’s about making the effort: Did people give generously in order to take an origami crane home, or have an oatmeal raisin cookie? Of course not (that would make those very expensive cranes/cookies ). It was about making an effort and getting involved in the spirit of the effort/event. The cranes and cookies merely provided a catalyst.
What can you do?
As you can see, figuring out how we could personally have some kind of Impact wasn’t immediately evident. But, what we did and how we did it were really quite simple. What talents or hobbies do you have that might be the catalyst toward a giving project in your office, church, or club?
*based on today’s exchange rate, that’s $819. U.S. / 505 GBP / 823 AUD. Double that amount to include the matching funds.
p.s. – In the spirit of this Impact Effort, Nils donated along with his office toward Doctors without Borders Austria. An addition personal “family” donation has gone toward the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California‘s Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.