I’ve been trying to come up with a good fundraising idea for Irish guide dogs for the blind for ages, but I’m not getting very far, mostly because I’m too fussy, and I want something unique.
It costs approximately 38,000 euros to train and support each guide dog over its lifetime. As well as training guide dogs, the centre of excellence in Cork trains assistance dogs for children with autism, and provides mobility and daily living skills to adults and children. Clients who stay at the centre for any of these courses pay just 10 Euros a week for their own room, breakfast lunch and dinner, laundry service and entertainment a few evenings a week. There is a very homely atmosphere, which makes it much easier to adjust to your new surroundings and to do the work you are there to do.
Obviously all this costs a lot of money. The government only fund about 15% of this, and the rest is raised through donations, collections and hard work from fundraisers and volunteers.
I have helped out in church gate and supermarket collections to raise money, but I hate collecting money this way. I’d rather do something fun, where people feel they are getting something for the money they give. So far I have raised over 8,000 euros by doing a cycle for Irish guide dogs in 2003, and organising a second hand shop when I qualified with O J in 2007. My family and local people have always been very supportive and generous, and they say they feel even more proud to help when they see people working with guide dogs in their home town. Local guide dog owners collect during shades week and flag day every year, and sell calendars and Christmas cards in the supermarket. While all these raise a lot of money, it’s all a bit repetitive.
I want to organise a special fundraiser in 2009. I know I could do something like a night at the races, or bowling or a sponsored event. I thought of a head shave, where people who volunteer to have their head shaved have it done by me. Would you let a blind person shave your head?
It shouldn’t matter what the event is, as long as it does what it’s supposed to – raises money. However I want to do something really special, that I’ll enjoy organising and being a part of. Something that will appeal to a wider variety of people, not just those family, friends and local people who get involved religiously every time there is a fundraiser in our town.
I am very passionate about music, and my ideal fundraiser would be a music event, particularly a gig from musicians I really like. This may sound selfish, but I want something that I will enjoy planning, I know would sell well and fans of the particular band, and who are the people supporting the charity would enjoy. I have made contact with some people, but an event like this isn’t possible to organise at the moment. They were very nice about it, and I fully appreciate their busy schedules and the fact that there are hundreds of deserving charities in the country, who desperately need funding.
I know many musicians who do annual charity gigs which raise vital funds for charity. I wonder do enough bands do this. Could people in the media be doing more charity work, or do they do enough already? Surely doing a charity gig once in a while isn’t impossible if your job involves attracting an audience anyway? You are sure to sell out a particular venue and raise a certain amount of money, and it creates awareness about the particular charity.
Ok so maybe, for me anyway the gig idea is a bit ambitious. I’m just an ordinary music fan with a guide dog. I’ve never organised anything like this in my life. I’m not close friends with any musicians who I could persuade to do a gig for charity, and I sincerely doubt that any musician I admire would agree to do a gig just because I ask them. I like challenges though, and it was worth a try. Maybe I’ll organise something more simple, and keep the dream of my ideal charity event alive for another while. Who knows, someday it might actually come true!
Post me a comment if you have any fun ideas.