Amal has always boosted our morale about how we can take on the world If we wanted to. And its four principles have always been a great help. But then, they came up with a “Fund Raising Campaign” for The Edhi Foundation. Our batch was as enthusiastic as they are for breakout rooms. The project was simple, to collect funds for the foundation as there was a significant drop after the death of Edhi sb. Who wouldn’t want to contribute to such a noble cause? But before I give you a whole walkthrough of what happened when we set out for such a constructive cause, let me give you a brief introduction of what the foundation is;
The Edhi Foundation is a multi-dimensional organization that goes with the catchphrase “Live and let live”. Its exceptional services in areas such as giving free shroud and burial services to unclaimed dead bodies, a refuge for the disabled and impoverished people, orphans and abandoned children set it apart from other social welfare service providers. I have shared a link If you wish to know more.
Edhi Welfare Organization - Serving Humanity in the Spirit of All Religions
Abdul Sattar Edhi was born in 1928 in a small village of Bantva near Joona Garh, Gujrat (India). The seeds of…
It should have been easy to collect donations after all it was for Edhi Foundation which was not only famous nationally but its fame ranged to international grounds too. We didn’t dwell on the project title that would have augured the series of events in the next two weeks. If only we were that perceptive. So with a twinkle in our eyes, rainbows and flying cherry blossom petals behind us with the “best epic Inspirational Background music”, we set up a meeting to strategize our grand plan. You can sue me for the wild imagination later.
Our goals were simple:
· By generating captivating, relevant, and honest content for our charity’s cause, we hoped to elicit an emotional response and motivate action.
· We choose to capitalize on the notion that deep within every human being lies a fundamental yearning to do good.
· And that even with our restricted approach as all 7 members being in different cities, we could individually work for the cause.
Anyway, after a one-and-a-half-hour meeting, we came with this plan;
· Phase 1: Start asking individuals, one-to-one, for donations in the first week
· Phase 2: We would use social media platforms to encourage and motivate the donations.
We started on Monday, August 30th 2021. Dropping messages in our WhatsApp groups, asking people we meet, our relatives, friends etc. Everyone, we could reach out to. We contacted our hostel fellows, work colleagues and as many people as we could go to in the span of 14 days. Along with that statuses were posted, posts were created and we also kept tabs on people who promised us to donate or told us they would get back to us. Due to Covid-19, we couldn’t hold a real campaign as a group so divide and conquer was our main approach. We suspected online persuasion meaningless and hoped to gain more through a one-on-one or door to door approach.
Then came our first donation and that too of Rupees 5000. It was a good start. The beats of the music increased and so did our enthusiasm.
After that, it was pretty much a flat line. It was a gruelling process of convincing people, facing rejections, being stared at as aliens and even ridiculing. As I mentioned before how excited we were and how easy we thought this would be, well, in the first week we came to a mind-boggling realization. I can give you a dramatic and tragi-comical story of our failure and rejection but I assume you get the gist as I have been ominous from the start. But one thing we realized was that Fundraising is an opportunity, a privilege and most importantly a responsibility. And somehow for us, it was a series of rejections. The morale was down, twinkles dimmed, and the song slowed down to the saddest tune. It was time for another meeting and there we decided to make a donation from our side. That’s how Rupees 500 were added to the donation list. It was better than nothing and we decided we just wouldn’t stop.
The deadline for this project might have ended but we promised to keep this personal project running and keep on collecting funds for the Edhi Foundation even without that push from Amal because it wasn’t about project marks anymore. It was because when you demonstrate effectiveness, you earn the right to reach out to the community for funding to support your initiatives. And that’s what we decided to do.
While working for this positive cause, we encountered several obstacles;
· Coming up with an honest but effective message to send to potential donors.
· Staying motivated throughout the rejections.
· Individual Collections
· Convincing people of the authenticity of the campaign
There were many things we learned from this activity and although, our collected amount was not much compared to others, we were still proud of it. Here are some valuable takeaways;
· Fundraising needs to be reframed as people consider it a “Necessary Evil”
· Fundraising is an opportunity, a privilege and a responsibility and it’s our responsibility not to abandon the people relying on us
· You’re inviting others to join you in creating the world a more compassionate, just, harmonious, loving, and beautiful place.
· Rejection is a redirection like it directed us to make personal efforts when asking people didn’t work out for us.
· Failure builds character, it teaches you to find alternatives rather than accepting defeat.
“Fund-raising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission.” Henri Nouwen
At the end of our 14 days, we came out stronger and more of a realist than we were when we started. It was our first time, collecting funds and asking for money like this. At the end when we were all discussing our reflections, we realized how many people we disregarded when they came for donations and how many times we, ourselves just swiped away a post that was asking for funds. This activity taught us to keep going in the face of rejections and failures. It instilled in us the desire to do well. On the sidelines, it enhanced our communication skills, elicited empathy, and helped us understand that fundraising is much more than just begging for money. This was not begging; rather, it was a request for people to assist us in our mission and vision, as well as Edhi sb’s vision and purpose.
As the circle leader of Group 7, I’d like to thank my team for their contributions to this project. The arduous process of posting and dropping messages every day, calling organizations and asking for donations, attempting to persuade them, and never giving up. I am grateful to them for doing so much and being so supportive. And we, as a team, are grateful to Amal, Sir Saim, and Mam Wajiha for inspiring us to embark on such a project. Although it was all new to us, they made sure we understood and helped us overcome our fear of rejection and failure in such a wonderful way. And, while we are still a long way from overcoming our fears, this initiative has provided us with the nudge we needed in the right direction.
Negative & Positive Reflections
These are our thoughts on the project, and despite setbacks or rejections, we remained motivated and worked hard until the end to accomplish something worthwhile. I hope this inspires you as well.