I recently met a guy named Adam, whose father had passed away from complications related to primary progressive multiple sclerosis ten years ago. Adam's family wanted to commemorate his father in a special way and decided to raise some money for an MS organization. In these times of heightened economic hardship, epidemics and natural disasters, that might seem a difficult task.
Adam's mom came up with an idea that she calls "The Circle of Ten." It is very simple: one person recruits ten people that they know (she wrote a touching letter to do this) to ask ten people from their circle of family and friends to give 10 dollars each. Viola! Pretty soon, you have a thousand dollars.
I love it for a lot of reasons. Unlike many other fundraising situations, this one can actually be graceful and fun - usually people like to give, but neither the asker or the person being asked enjoys that yucky moment where they are both doing mental calculations as to how much looks good, but doesn't cause financial or emotional stress. With this strategy, mentioning a small amount allows everyone to feel great about the whole thing (and people often give more).
There are other indirect benefits of this approach, as well. Of course, I always like to see money going to MS research and programs. However, when people give even a small amount to a cause, they become a little more interested in that cause - they have, in effect, bought a little piece of the situation and start to watch our progress in MS, and share a little of our disappointment, as well. These little networks keep our issues in the hearts and minds of more people. That can only be good.
I also like this idea for other, maybe selfish, reasons. I blogged about the idea of giving as therapy in this entry: A "Treatment" for MS Symptoms with No Side Effects, about the "29-Day Giving Challenge." I'll tell you, I think it is working. I haven't been as regimented as I would like, but on the days I do something helpful or just nice for someone, I feel better.
So, give it a try. Be the "central node" in your own Circle of Ten and see what happens.
Not sure which organization to give the money to? Here are some ideas:
- Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis
- MS Friends
- Myelin Repair Foundation
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
Or give to any of your other favorite organizations. One favor? If you do this (or have other innovative fundraising ideas) come back to the comments section and let us know...