Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Raising Money by the Storm, What Other Options Do We Have?

This week I received the following quote in one of my Foundation Center e-mails:
"I would like to live in a world where we're not fundraising episodically with each storm Our mission is so much bigger than these epic storms. Our mission is to be there for the American people every day." - Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO, American Red Cross (in the Washington Post, 9-12-18)

This quote seems to reach far beyond the plight of storm victims to the way many of us tend to live. We don't have a store of funds to go to when we have a storm or major life event that hits us somewhat unexpectedly. Sure, we realize that life is full of surprises, yet we fail to plan for them. Then, we bemoan our fate and shake our heads in despair when we're unprepared.

What Other Options Do We Have?
I had a friend named Joe who worked for the Forest Service in Eureka, Montana, where we used to live. He knew every few years he would need a new vehicle because of his lifestyle in living in near wilderness and understood he often had much more available funding during the summer when fire season was busy. So, instead of living it up each summer, he put away the equivalent to one car or truck payment per pay period. When the time came to buy a new vehicle, he had it in CASH. How many of us have paid in cash, upfront for a new car or pickup? 

Don't have a job like Joe's?
You still have other options. Creative people usually have a season when marketing their work traditionally goes much more easily than the rest of the year. This could be during a season or a shopping period such as the holidays. Instead of using the money you've made ahead as funds to pay the bills the rest of the months you're filling your creative well, find an additional way to passively market during the lean times or to recycle the work you're already created. Visual artists who traditionally use flat surfaces can license their work to be in a variety of product from checks to screen savers. Performance artists can still sell recordings of their work.  There is always an option and if you have the guts to follow the creative path, you've also got it brains to invest in learning how to make money at what you do every day of the year.

Until next time,
keep creating!

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