Pains, Gains, and Galas

Boy its been awhile. How is everyone doing? I have been so busy trying to make my 15th annual gala for another success that I’ve been putting unfounded expectations on myself that I cannot possibly reach. This makes me feel like I’ve let down the CF world and worse, myself. I hate CF for this. Its such a beast to have to deal with personally and professionally.

This has been the most frustrating year of my 20 years of fundraising. A lot more no’s this year. Rumours of some people bad-mouthing my foundation. Lack of direction on my part. I am not normally as flustered as I am this year. When I met with the amazing volunteers I told them that we are at a precipice. We either shine or die. After 15 years hosting this event it grows weary because I grow weary. Its hard to make it this amazing event year after year. We’ve done every theme you can dream of, we have honoured 100’s of deserving honourees, we’ve had speakers, some good some not so good. We’ve brought in bands and DJ’s. We’ve raffled off airline tickets, we’ve sold 50/50. We’ve done live and silent auctions. We’ve bribed people to buy tickets with the promise of an amazing time with food and drink included. We’ve told our story from several different points of view. Through the eyes of the mother with the sick child, through the struggles of a person waiting for a transplant and in their dying days, we’ve shared the triumphs and have been honest about the deplorable parts of this disease. We’ve done as much as we can to find people to support us year after year. Many of them will be at the event and many will not. Some just don’t want to return. I’m not sure why and I shouldn’t take it personally, but I do.

I get frustrated with foundations that don’t have to do a thing and they are sold out. It’s the cause, kids cancer, breast cancer, all cancer, heart and stroke charities, Alzheimer’s…Those of us fundraising in this field have to settle for crumbs. We aren’t significant enough to get a stranger to jump on board. Every person going to, donating to or sponsoring my galas are either friends, family or friends of friends and family. Our sponsors are also friends of friends or people I have crossed paths with in my public speaking career. If I have ever cold called or sent a cold lead email it doesn’t even get opened. I have past sponsors currently ghosting me. I am fine with a no, I have lived with that word my whole life but to not respond, is frustrating. I feel like once I meet someone and they hear my story and they see what I am trying to do I am able to garner their support. Any support. I once had a CEO send a letter to a bunch of his other CEO friends and with his help I sold out and raised over $135,000.00 that year. That blew my mind. These CEO’s just did what he said. The guy championed my cause because he believed in me. It was amazing. Oh and on a side note, when I use those numbers, I actually use the net proceeds. I have seen other foundations shamelessly say they’ve raised over $800,000 and in actual fact they only netted $100K.

I have conducted myself as the director of this foundation with my moral compass pointing due north and never engaging in shady tactics that I have seen done in other places and at other events. I am proud of the legitimacy and transparency of this foundation. We have no overhead, no paid positions. The board of directors are all volunteers. We submit our annual returns to Canada Revenue each and every year. We respect our roles and we try to make an impact locally.

I’m on a bit of a tangent. I apologize and I am not forsaking those that have been behind this foundation from the get go. I have had the support of over 7 companies for at least 10 or more of the 15 years. They are the reason I keep going. They hold the light for me, help me find my way in a world I often find daunting.

The volunteers are also an integral part of this foundation. Its mainly made up of my family and close friends but I’ve had others reach out to me to help. They shared their marketing skills, graphic design talent, IT expertise, all to help me! This is another reason we have kept all of our costs down for so long.

I am beyond grateful and sometimes I am awful at showing that. I apologize for that. I am so exhausted trying to keep myself healthy, my normal life moving forward, my mental state and my overall fear of living longer, in check. I forget to say thank you. So thank you!! I still send out thank you cards and other special occasions when I remember. I try to send a smile to someone who sent me one.

I feel like I am at a fork right now. Do I keep going with this work or do I just stop and take all that stress off of me and forge a new path? I am lost right now. We are trying a Hail Mary this time around, with an official ad campaign to see if we can actually tap into an untapped market, the virtual stranger looking for a good time. We’ve been running it for 1 week and nada. I’m not holding my breath.

I hate asking the members at my gym, or the staff at the hospital or the people who run my clinic cause they are tired of me asking. Its difficult for me because everyone has been touched by cancer or heart and stroke or dementia and they want to put their resources toward those causes, and rightfully so, but I’m desperate right now. I need help. I need support. I need them. I need you.

I’m going to end this post with what matters in this world, good health, someone to love, someone to love you back, and the freedom to find your happiness. Life is but a wink. I am grateful. I am blessed but right now I am lost. I am so exhausted holding up my walls.

If you would like to help me on this journey by attending the event, donating, or sponsoring feel free to reach out. I would love the support, probably more than you know.


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