Minimalist fundraising – rejecting raffles and accepting donations

I attended a community fundraiser this morning supporting the Red Cross’s work to help the people of Nepal recover from a series of devastating earthquakes. It was fun event, full of community spirit.

Minimalist fundraising

The fundraising featured the usual raffles and auctions. Being in the throes of the Minimalist Game, I viewed the tables of prizes through a different lens. Now, don’t get me wrong, the prizes were lovely, tasteful and good quality. But it was also stuff I don’t need and don’t really want, stuff that would just sit around my house for a few years before I moved it on.

My usual approach is to buy raffle tickets no matter the prize, but now I really don’t want to win! I don’t want to bring the stuff into my house. What to do? On the spot I formulated some quick strategies , which I thought I’d share.

  1. Don’t buy, just give

I steered away from the raffle table and towards a donation box, where I gave the money I would have spent on raffle tickets.

If approached by a raffle seller, I would have felt comfortable saying something like, “Thanks, but no thanks. I am weaning myself off raffles! Where can I make a donation?”.

  1. Take the experience option, but be discerning

I still participated in the silent auctions, but I only bid on experience prizes. Even then I was selective. I only bid on experiences that I’d actually like to do. For me, it was family passes to local nature attractions. A voucher for a beauty salon would be wasted on me, although if you saw my fingernails you might disagree. You see, one of the things I appreciate more and more about clutter is that it’s as much mental as it is physical. An unused voucher for a nail treatment sitting in my purse would weigh on my mind just as much as a physical object stashed in my spare room. I’d just feel bad for not making the time to use it.

I was really fortunate today – it was a friendly and pressure-free environment with many options for giving. I could easily participate without compromising my burgeoning minimalist values. I’m sure future fundraising situations will not be this easy, but I came away this morning feeling great.

Do you struggle to maintain your minimalist stance in the face of social obligations? What are your tips for “low stuff” fundraising?

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3 thoughts on “Minimalist fundraising – rejecting raffles and accepting donations”

  1. I really struggle with the social obligation side of trying to be more minimalist. We will be celebrating my son’s 3rd birthday with his grandparents in Ireland in a few weeks. It’s really hard to get all the family to understand that he doesn’t need any toys and he is happy enough to play with his cousins and eat cake. I know they have good intentions but everything they give him has to be hauled back to NZ most likely increasing our baggage spend. Why can’t they just accept that a gift of a few euros to go into his savings account will bring him much more future joy than some plastic crap would for 5 minutes now.

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    1. My son’s 3rd birthday is on the horizon too. I feel for you. I am lucky that we have a small family and they are on our wavelength regarding toys. I’d find it really hard if they weren’t. Have you thought of suggesting tickets to some kind of family attraction?
      I enjoy kids parties but they do seem to generate an awful lot of crap. You are so right that as long as there is cake and some kids to play with they are happy.

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