Guest post by Heart & Home Sponsor and Volunteer, Elizabeth Mitchell
I'd say that our Selamta fundraising dinner was a huge success!
Huge returns for our effort, huge amounts of fun had by all, and huge servings of delicious Ethiopian food! I Overall, I'm impressed by how easy it was to set up. (Granted, I was not the person up until 2am preparing food the night before...ahem...Ruth.) I reached out to my coworker Ruth soon after receiving the original solicitation email -- we had recently discovered our shared connection to Selamta and I figured that it would be a lot easier to set up a fundraising dinner with a co-host than by myself. (Expert tip: it was.) Ruth/her mom graciously offered to make some home-cooked Ethiopian food, which really was all we needed to make it an "event." After that...it was just a matter of setting up the fundraising page (here - so easy!) and sending out a few emails.
We set an ambitious fundraising goal of $1000 -- we only would have hit if if we had the maximum attendance (20 people) and they all donated on the high end of our suggested range ($25-$50). (We originally set the suggestion at $50, but we didn't want to set expectations for the dinner to be way fancier than our plans!) So we were thrilled to raise $800+!! We invited mostly coworkers. I added some local friends in Providence and Ruth invited the Ethiopian community in Boston. We were hoping for a few more people to come in person -- but a smaller crowd made it easier for everybody to learn how to use the injera and to share their favorite travel stories! It really helped break through some of the barriers we have as coworkers!
Some suggestions I'd make to anybody planning an event: invite as many people as you can (we perhaps limited ourselves by focusing mostly on coworkers), call around to find St. George's beer well in advance (it was impossible to find day of), and double-knot your balloons -- otherwise you'll be sad that they fly away before the event starts!
And really my final advice is -- just do it! It seemed scary and overwhelming at first to host a fundraising dinner (so adult!) -- but once we just set up the fundraising page and set expectations that people would be eating off paper plates while sitting on a couch, it seemed so much more manageable. Just a group of friends hanging out -- and it gave our coworkers and friends a great opportunity to demonstrate just what awesome people they are with their willingness to donate to such a great cause!
We look forward to hearing about the success of more events!!