I'm getting better at this fundraising thing

Once, a long time ago, I tried to throw a concert to fund one of my adventures. My friend Ben had just had one that my sister and I opened for and it was amazing. He rented a hall and he packed that place out, sold tickets, had a photographer, it was a very cool event. With no idea of exactly how much work he put into promoting the thing and marketing, and selling, I naively thought that if I just rented a good enough sound system and a hall they would all come. SO I used all the money I had to do it, threw up a few posters, gathered excellent musicians, and a week later performed a sad, sad little concert to an audience of about 15.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is where I get the idea that I am no good at fundraising. It was a total flop.

So when Sara, our Business Development Volunteer suggested we hold a benefit concert I may have hyperventilated just a little bit at the very thought. (Yes it is as cool as it sounds to have a "Business Development Volunteer". She is amazing, efficient, resourceful, full of ideas, and she gets stuff done!)

So I hedged, and agreed if we could find a way to do it without it costing us any money up front, because this is donor money we're playing with. I wanted absolutely no risks. So we got the hall for less than $100, thanks Father's House, the performers played for free, we sold tickets, and best of all we had a sponsor who wants to stay completely anonymous, thanks anonymous sponsor, who covered a huge amount of expenses and made it so we could do things like order T-shirts to sell and offer an iPhone 4S as a prize. 2 iphones, actually. You will have a chance to win one. More on that later this week.

And then we planned, and promoted, and maybe freaked out a little when ticket sales were meager with less than a week to go, even though we hadn't paid anything out of pocket. Oh, and we ordered a bunch of food and made bracelets and got even more raffle prizes.

the loft where we sold coffee and refreshments and stuff

Last night, after the mad scramble to get everything in order I walked into the back of a packed house, Haven Blue and Alexa Reyes performing onstage and may have had a moment where I just swelled with emotion and got a little teary.

Haven Blue and Alexa Reyes


Beau McFarland

Our long time friend Beau McFarland has been getting a lot of attention on the comedy circuit in LA and he brought a friend, Carlton Parks, with him and they kept the audience laughing the whole time they were onstage. (We didn't even notice that the 3rd Comedian and TV host Peter Marr was unable to make it due to illness of the sudden and really unmentionable kind.)

Carlton Parks

We premiered a video outlining the self sustaining orphanage solution, drawn by Haven Blue, filmed and edited by Frank Shanley, narrated by Aaron and written by yours truly. I am so happy with how it turned out. I will show it to you this week. Promise.

And finally we had Birds of Prey (autoplay warning) a teenage rock band who play classic rock covers well, and with commitment. Their lead singer looks like he's about 12. No one who hadn't heard them play before was expecting these kids who walked up on stage to rock the house like that.

I'm telling you all this because we live streamed the whole event and you can watch the rebroadcast here. http://thecharisproject.blogspot.com/2011/11/charis-solution-benefit-concert.html You should really go watch, even though he started streaming during soundcheck. The boy busts a few moves at the very beginning, and you can just skip ahead an hour to get the show. You can't see much but you can here it really well and the music was good.

This photo taken of me and Sara during the set up is embarrassing. I look like death warmed over on a spoon, also like the stress eating has finally caught up to me. But I am so, so happy with how everything turned out. I can't take very much credit of course. There's no way I could have done it without Sara. She found the band, the sponsor, booked the hall, made the check lists, ordered the T-shirts, made bracelets, taught me how to use excel for volunteer lists and organizing, and hundreds of other things besides.

There's no way Sara and I could have pulled this off without all of the volunteers who pitched in, the bands, the sponsors, the prize donations, the awesome sound guy, thanks Randy, and most of all, our families. Her teenagers put in hours at my house hanging with my kids while we worked in the office, and our extended family, Beema who took the kids for long periods of time so we could get work done, and my amazing brothers and sisters in law who kid wrangled, and volunteered all night an helped clean up. I can't imagine being able to pull this off if we lived anywhere else and they weren't so willing to help with stuff like this.

The kids were such troopers, and it was so fun to be finished with planning and just watch them have fun at the concert. Little dancing with her daddy. The Boy decided not to go to a birthday party in order to stay and help set up and it was cool to watch how proud he was to be in our family and how he wanted everyone to know that he was. None of them wanted to leave and go home to go to bed, and I didn't make them until almost the very end, because, how often will they get to do something like this anyway.

It feels really, really good to have finished this. Let me have another 5 hours or so to relax before i think about what I have to do next. :)

ps. iphone giveaway details coming up the day after Thanksgiving and our incredibly awesome T-shirts will be available in the online store I will finish making before then as well. We may even do a styled photo shoot. ooh la la.

Also, CKlein Originals has designed us a custom hand stamped pendant. It will be available in her shop nest week and a portion of the proceeds goes to The Charis Project. The picture doesn't do justice to how delicate and pretty this pendant is. I love it so and everyone asked about it at the show.


  1. Bethany Gronberg7:09 AM

    Awesome! Thrilled it went so well. I was gonna ask if I could buy a shirt. :-)

  2. Yes! I'll get them in the shop ASAP. :)


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