The participants in the Bowling event
What our organization was trying to achieve and why
In the Project "Character and Leadership Training for Thai Youths" , the aim of the Foundation for Life was to help Thai youths be persons of good character, being able to challenge themselves and others in doing good, and buidling their future upon moral and just values. In order to do that, we have to painstakingly take time to be involved in their lives, instill right values and being exemplary in action.
The nature of this type of developmental work is for the long term, and thus, the funding needed to sustain it, has to last a long time too. In order to fund our activitites for the children and youths, we needed to attract both volunteers and donors, to help in giving to and raising the funds to this end.
The idea or method that we tried
One idea that came up was to organise a Bowling Event to raise funds for the Project. The committee had seen this done by an eduational institute and thought that it would be a good idea and something that we could try for ourselves. We were to encourage friends and well-wishers to form teams of 3 to bowl together, and registration fees were incurred. In this way, we hoped to be able to raise the funds for our project.
Why the idea or method failed
In our enthusiasm to raise funds, we were focusing on the details of how the event should run, the target amount to aim for, and then we realised that our grassroots leaders and volunteers were mostly truely grassroot level people, whose contacts, friends and supporters were mostly family members, fellow employees and villagers. In addition, they were unlikely to be bowlers, either!
As bowling is a sport geared towards the population who are better off financially, and who lived in cities where bowling alleys are in existence, our reach for donors were limited to city dwellers who have an interest in bowling, or who are bowlers themselves. On top of that, although we had about 50% of our members living in the capital, the majority were from the poor to lower income groups. Basically, we did not have enough participants to offset the rental charges of the Bowling alley.
To put it bluntly, we did not have the clout for a bowling competition as a fund-raising event.
What we learned from the experience
We learnt through this experience that if we want to raise funds, the more participants, the merrier. In order have more people involved in the fund raising event, the activity has to be one that most people are able to easily participate in.
Secondly, we have to expand our areas of influence and find ways to reach out to a wider audience, than just friends and family alone. While at the same time, each individual volunteer or member need to have a sense of urgency about the project and the current needs, that having enough funds will help to fulfil.
Lastly, we needed to effectively and simply put our ideas across to people so that they can see and appreciate the needs of our project.
How our organization is using that experience to improve our work
From this experience, we have included activities that most people are able to take part in, for example, participating in a walk rally.
In order to widen our publicity, we were very fortunate to be included in the Global Giving network, both in the US and the UK, and we will work at being on this network as it increases our visibility.
Meanwhile, we are still striving to instil a sense of urgency to our workers and volunteers, that children and youths need help urgently before it is too late to help them form good habits and traits that will carry them safely through an unchartered future, and therefore the urgency to have the funds to enable the developmental work to go on.
Finally, it is an on-going effort for the Foundation to communicate effectively to those within and outside our walls, so that lives of Thai children and youths may be strong from inside out!
Hence, to fail forward, we need to muse back to see how we can aim up.
Thank you for reading our report.