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The joys of fundraising

One of the things I really enjoy doing is fundraising for charities. Don’t expect me to go door-to-door chugging people for their change. But give me a target and a grant to apply and I can hug my Excel sheet all day. I’ve been fundraising for many years now, and with much success (especially during my years in England).

I now raise funds for our own little music charity. I successfully put in an application for FCRA which went through without any bribes commissions being paid to any agents (which is apparently unusual). And I’m trying to figure out how to be an ethical ‘professional’ fundraiser in India (both apparently don’t go together here).

I was reminded of all this while catching up with Sasha Dichter’s blog today. In one post, Sasha says “there is something different about being a (good) fundraiser.  It means that at any day, at any moment, on some level you’re thinking about that revenue line, thinking about where you are in the year, how much time you have left, and what it’s going to take to get there.”

That’s how things are with me. I’m constantly looking for a possible funder, a call for grant applications, that elusive programme that will support us for a year (or three). Just this morning, I’ve made appeals on Facebook asking friends to donate a little to help us bring in teachers for our kids.

During this July-August, we have had ten lovely musicians from the University of Seville, Spain working with our kids and with the larger public in Goa. There have been concerts, lectures, masterclasses and individual teaching. It has been a tiring time, busy with a fair bout of illnesses all around. And around all that music making comes the administrative jobs, the filing of income-tax returns, the running of a home.

The musicians have a wider experience of teaching that we have been grateful to learn from. To put their inputs into practice, though, requires funds. We’re looking for a place to hire that will work as a music school, bringing together our core target of disadvantaged children, and also opening our doors to other children. We need to hire teachers from foreign countries, either as volunteers or paid teachers.

Finding funding for the arts is never easy. And especially so in countries like India where survival takes precedence over making music. Yet, the money is there. I know because every now and then we are surprised by a hefty donation or by someone pledging support for a year, or a bunch of musicians donating their concert fees to us. When people see and understand what you are trying to do, they put in their mite.

Fundraisers need to ask for this slice of pie without shame or embarrassment.  I have never felt awkward asking for money for charity, even when it is my own. And an ask should never be, by the way. 

If you would like to donate to help us bring music teachers to our kids, please hop over here and give what you can. We’ve just launched an ‘Endow a Chair’ programme, so if you are looking for a long-term commitment or want to leave a legacy, please consider us.

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