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.
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.
- 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?”.
- 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?