I'm sure that many of you can understand my trepidation and fear that we won't be able to reach our lofty $25,000 fundraising goal for 2010. Given the current recession, regular notification from former colleagues that they've recently been laid off, their company is shutting down, and they are desperately seeking work - any work, I set that goal thinking we'd be lucky if we came in at $15,000.
But, I have to tell you, even though we haven't officially begun fundraising yet, I am hopeful.
You see, as you may have already read, I'm working on planning a Gala event in January, which will feature a silent and a live auction. For those of you familiar with Bi-Cultural Day School, my alma mater in Stamford, CT, they hold an annual auction that brings in tens of thousands of dollars in one night. It's a huge event. I've been lucky enough to work as a volunteer for that auction as a student, and later as a parent. I hope that the Gala in January will turn into the same kind of annual success.
But Year 1 can be daunting to set that precedent.
It just so happens, that I know a thing or two about these kinds of auctions. First and foremost, you need to start asking for donations to the auctions sooner rather than later. And I wanted to test the waters. As luck would have it, I have several friends from the course of lifetime that are artists. Since Lance set the precedent of art being connected to LIVESTRONG, I took his lead, and asked a number of these artist friends of mine if they would be willing to donate one piece that might reflect, or a new piece inspired by "LIVESTRONG" to the auction. All but TWO enthusiastically said yes. One is just waiting for clearance on another LIVESTRONG project, and the other has been on tour and has no more pieces that he can donate, as he's booked with commissions through the end of 2010. (I can't blame him, can you?)
I approached a woman who was demonstrating a granola product at Scotts Corner Market (who has already indicated they'd be willing to work with us as a rest area sponsor) the other day about donating granola to the spring ride/run I'm planning. She agreed, and, a few minutes into the conversation, she's giving me contact information for a possible location for the gala, and indicated we may be able to get the venue as a donation!

Following up on another topic, I mentioned to Edward Wimmer that I was starting a LIVESTRONG Army here in Westchester/Fairfield, and if he'd ever consider donating a RoadID or two. His response? This morning, I got confirmation that 3 gift cards were en route for us to auction and/or raffle off at one of our events. Without hesitation. 
The moral of the story? Now, more than ever, those that have understand that organizations like the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and other groups, that offer free services to those who need, and actively try and provide for those struggling (physically, emotionally, financially) need support.
And they are willing.
All you have to do is ask.
If you would like to learn more about upcoming events, have ideas of how you can help, or have something to donate for the auction, please do not hesistate to reach out.
Remember - you are already entering the conversation with a no. In the best case scenario, your request will be answered with a yes. In the worst case scenario, you end where you started.