Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Little Gestures

I'm sometimes surprised at the effect a simple action can have. We know of one anology or another regarding this phenomenon. The whole 'a butterfly fluttering its wings can start an earthquake in China' trope we've heard a bunch of times, but nonetheless seems to be true. Every once in a while I decide to flutter my wings in a good way. Sometimes its giving twenty bucks to the homeless person in the grocery store parking lot, other times its giving all my spare change to the salvation army collectors during Christmas. And then of course, there's my fund raising for George Mark House.

But no where does my little fluttering have as big an impact as when I participate in the Tomato Nation Donors Choose fundraiser. Because its not just me, its thousands of people like me turning out for a cause, to help public schools and school teachers with much needed funding. Together, with all the others that donate, I get to say that I'm part of a movement that has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a good cause.

This year, the fundraiser is done a little differently. Before, Tomato Nation just listed a bunch of projects she wanted funded, with all the projects equallng the sum of money she wanted to raise for the whole month. I always found something on the list I liked and would donate 20 or 25 bucks or if I have the means to, close out a project. Last year, I donated 75$ to a special needs project and I couldn't have been more thrilled. The thank you notes alone had me coasting on happy thoughts for month. Just recently I completed a project to send a group of first graders to The Nutcracker. The thank you notes were adorable construction paper gingerbread men with lovely thank yous from the students written inside. I keep them in a special drawer, they are that important.

This year is a little different. Any of Sar's fans that wanted to, could create a giving page and attach it to her fund raising efforts. So I did. I picked only special needs projects because after everything that happened with my son, it seemed like the right thing to do. I created the giving page in his honor and named it for one of his best attributes, his heart.

(Here the full link, just in case: http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/viewChallenge.html?id=156315&max=25)

It was a small gesture. It cost me absolutely nothing, it was completely painless and hassle free and it was a way to honor my son. What could be better? Well I was about to find out.

I hadn't expected a lot from it to be honest. I had two teachers who asked if I'd add their projects. I did that and gave them a couple of bucks. I figured that's all it would raise, and I was fine with that. Then all of the sudden, a wonderful donor closed out three of the projects I selected, and it became part of my giving page total. Then my husband gave. And then a co-worker. It's not even April yet and this little giving page has raised over 200 bucks and closed out four projects. According to Donor's Choose 79 students have been reached, just by my having put a giving page together.

But the story gets better. Awhile back I did a survey for donor's choose and as a thank you, they gave me 5 $25 gift certificates to give to my friends. I sent one to my husband, to my mom, and a coworker and the other two I sent to the two teachers who e-mailed me with kind words for my giving page. One of the teachers recieved her certificate today and has already put it to her project and is almost funded! I am totally thrilled. All these little acts seem to be having a big impact and that's amazing.

I want you to keep one thing in mind, this fundraiser is set to start in April! It's not even April yet and my giving page has raised just close to 250 bucks. The entire total for all of the giving pages for the fundraiser is close to $5000!

Imagine what will happen when our wings really start fluttering.

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