Uggg, Solicitations

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Megan and I are simply not the "solicitations" type. We don't do fundraising. We don't even do garage sales. We'll send you an email to ask a question. But don't expect to see us knocking on your door to raise money. Even if you're our friend, you're more likely to get an email or text message than a phone call or a "hey, I was in the neighborhood so thought I'd drop in."

Unfortunately, these personality traits don't mesh well with the cooperative nursery school modus operandi. To stay in business... to provide a wonderful, nurturing, supportive, creative, safe, forward-thinking, and fun environment for our children, the school has to make money. The school operates, largely, on what we, as enrolled families, are able to bring in through the various annual fundraising efforts.

The biggest of these is the annual silent auction.

Before that, however, is the annual quilt raffle, which takes place at the Children's Art Show where all the artwork we parents paid to have framed (yes, another fundraiser) is displayed.

Quilt raffle tickets are $2 each, and we had to buy 55 of them, whether we manage to sell them or not. Not a huge deal. If we had a big circle of friends and family, I guess we'd have been able to get rid of the tickets no problem. After all, $2 for a chance to win a queen-size velvet quilt isn't a bad deal or a huge bite out of the pocket.

(We don't love the quilt, unfortunately, which makes it a harder sell on some level!)

When we got to KY for the holidays, my mom bought a bunch of tickets, and then, taking pity on our hopeless, woeful fundraising inadequacies, she took them to her office and sold a few. So, we've got a little more than half left. Maybe we'll win.

Attention now has to be turned to the auction, which is rapidly approaching with its March date and February cutoff for delivery of items.

Each family picks at least 10 vendors/companies from the "Big Book" that they agree to solicit either in person or via letter. There is, of course, a monetary goal of what each family is trying to bring in. If you can bring in that amount in 10 solicitations, more power to you.

Obviously, in person probably has a better success rate, but then we're just not the in-person type, so, before leaving for the holidays, I spent a morning customizing my letters, addressing return envelopes, and getting everything in the mail.

I felt hopeful. At the same time, part of me kept saying, "we'll probably get no response."

I probably think that because a few years back I did the Easter Seals thing where I customized and sent out all the letters to people in my neighborhood.

And no one responded.

How sad.

We definitely don't live in a Little House on the Prairie neighborhood.

Imagine my surprise and delight when we got to school yesterday and there were two envelopes in our cubby, both containing gift certificates.

One was from ArtFibers (downtown SF). They gave a certificate for a Sunday workshop, which I thought was really cool.

The other was from a local pizza place. They're one we order from regularly, so I was really glad to see the envelope from them. It just made me feel good to know they paid attention to the letter and care about the kids and the community.

I'm still hoping we hear back from some of the others we solicited.

In addition to certificates, gift cards, donations, travel packages, and such, families can donate items they've made or purchased themselves. Since Megan works at HP, no doubt we'll probably be buying at least one printer for donation. But we're also planning to donate some handmade items - especially since we run

Megan, Mom, and I spent a good bit of time hashing out ideas of things we could make for reasonable cost (or partly from stash; even better!) that we could auction at a reasonable cost - and that we could complete before the February 11 date.

For example, back in the fall, I really wanted to make a Charlotte's Web for the auction. Given that Koigu runs about $10 a skein, that's $50 to make it - not counting any time. Megan was afraid that the audience for the auction wouldn't pay somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred dollars for the shawl. I'm still not convinced, but we took it off our to-make list. Maybe once we see how the items are received this year we'll have a better idea of what we can make next year. (And this year, we'll start making items earlier, hopefully!)

Megan's got a whole list of things she's making, like dolls and teddy bears. Her list is mostly non-knit, though she did start a really cute children's hat out of Pronto and some novelty yarns (Zap and something else, I think) for the brim.

Mom graciously agreed to help make things for us, and we went through her stash and picked out some yarns for her to make a child's poncho (based on the Very Harlot Poncho).

I'm hoping to make a number of things, but during our trip to the annual after-Christmas/pre-inventory yarn sale at a store close to my mom's, I got hooked on this really cool little felted purse. It's made holding 2 strands of a feltable worsted (e.g., Cascade 220 or Galway) and a novelty yarn. You change novelty yarns every few rows.

felted bag in progress

The picture on the pattern wouldn't have even caused me to look twice, but seeing a sample hanging up made in purples, I was really fascinated. And I love it when I see a sample like that and the shop staff knows "what" pattern it is. That's the best.

Of course, this one is turning out so cute that I sort of want it for myself!

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Oh yes, the big fundraising for private schools. I totally hear ya. Ours is in June the first saturday after school is through... I think the planning for donations will be starting soon. I ask anyone we regularly do business with- my hairguy, acupuncturist, mechanic, pet boarding kennel, etc. I figure if we care enough to give them repeat business, why not ask. I also did a lot of knitting for it, and got way burned out that last year and think I'm going to pare down a bit.

Lament anytime over my way. Soon enough I'll start whining about it. :-p

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