Hello team! I’m alive. Sorry it’s been five million years. I don’t really have an excuse. But I’m about to upload a ton of blogs so I hope that makes up for my complete lack of presence on the interwebz over the past few weeks (months?).
So… Going way back in the day, the first thing I have to tell you about is the fundraiser we had for Camp GLOW back in the beginning of June. I’m technically the Fudraising Officer for Camp GLOW Tonga. What this means is that I’m in charge of setting up fundraisers to get money for the general GLOW account- not any of the specific island camps, but money that can be used for administrative costs, shared materials, and back-up money should we need any for the actual camps. I kind of forget how I got this job, but it is now mine. All I really have to do is plan events throughout the year. We had our first one early in June at a bar/restaurant in town called the Billfish. We had done a similar fundraiser there last year but this year Liz Sullivan, the owner, really went above and beyond to help us. She graciously gave us the entire restaurant, provided a munchies and some punch, a floorshow and MC, and her staff to work with us. She also made a generous donation herself. Basically, Liz is awesome and if anyone ever comes to Tonga you should totally go to the Billfish.
Basically the event was a little cocktail hour where we had information on Camp GLOW, sold raffle tickets, and had a floorshow consisting of various Polynesian dances. It was originally supposed to be made up of people we invited- I had an extensive list of important people who I wrote really formal letters to (mostly by Liz’s request), and all the volunteers were also invited- Peace Corps, Australian, and JICA (the Japanese volunteers). We sent letters to all of the embassies/high comms, and put fliers at various locations in town. Despite all these efforts, it mostly ended up being us hitting up unsuspecting Billfish patrons, including lots of palangis who were just there for dinner. I almost felt kind of bad about harassing people while they were relaxing and enjoying dinner BUT they got a free floor show soooooo I got over it pretty fast. We raffled off a couple gift certificates to local businesses (other places to go if you come to Tonga: Beach Hut Café, Café Reef, and Beauticious! Thanks to them!). Two out of three of these gift certificates were collected on the day of, when I was freaking out since I barely had any raffle items. But that’s just how it goes here- everything is last minute.
Overall the event went pretty well. We made just under 500 pa’anga in about 2 hours. Our goal was between 500 and 1000, but even though we fell a little short we nearly doubled the amount made last year so that was good. I’m kind of trying to plan another fundraiser for next week at another bar but the owner is out of town so we’ll see how that goes…. Even though I have a decent amount of experience planning philanthropy events in the US (through TriDelta and Konosioni), it is significantly different here because there isn’t such a pressing sense of time. It’s also very hard to get donations because the same restaurants/businesses get hit up by various organizations and groups every day so even though there are a lot of kickass businesses in town who want to help us, they can’t really because they can’t give money to everyone who asks. I totally understand and respect that but it makes things like raffles extra difficult. Thus we will see how the next one goes!