Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.


Postby tamarakay » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:08 pm

Ok, I have been in the planning stages of a fundraiser on one of those fund your project sites. I just can't pull the trigger. Ken and I really sacrificed last year, ate a lot of peanut butter, didn't socialize much etc. so we could bring as many scarves as possible for Dye with Dignity. As most of you guys on here know, Dye with Dignity was a smash (thank you all so much, I still tear up with all the fabulous memories). So, to have more to cover more of the week, my campmates and I have planned a fundraiser. I'm really struggling with it. It doesn't seem as much of a gift if I am asking for help paying for it, but if I don't ask for help, there won't be much of a gift to give.

As is my usual, I can see both sides of the argument and on a minute to minute basis, I can flip flop quicker than Romney. All I have to show for it at the moment is a headache. :cry:

This could open a whole bucket of worms on Eplaya (I am not unaware). But there are some of you who's opinion I value. And some of you might be surprised to be included on that list (hi Lemur).
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:00 pm

At least it is to bring scarves, and not your trailer...

It is a knot... I was thinking through ideas for Apok, before I realized how curtailed it would be.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby maladroit » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:21 pm

I think this was the year of the fundraisers, and 2013 might be the year of the backlash against fundraisers. I don't know for sure.

It's great for people to want to participate somehow. However, it means they have less resources to explore their own unique way of participating. Obviously everyone's situation is different, but it seems that some people want to buy "participation offsets" by contributing to these fundraisers. You could extrapolate to everyone funneling money into only a few large projects, and reducing originality.

There is a flipside to it, though: for many people, merely attending the event is a huge task and drain on resources, let alone creating some unique art space. You can put a price on art or creating an experience. Let's say that something interesting might start at $1000 and 40 hours of time. If someone only has $50 and a few hours, they won't even try...but they can contribute to an existing project.

I think people will be more discerning in their choices this year. Your camp would probably do quite well, as a playa-tested community project, and not suffer much negativity due to asking for money. Other groups, who are essentially saying "send me money so I can build a sweet-ass party car for me and my friends" will probably see some negativity and not do very well.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby Dr Helix » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:13 pm

I don't think you should do a lot of hand wringing about this. You're very clear what the fundraiser is for. No hidden agenda here. If people like what you are doing they'll give you money. If not, they won't.

The other alternative is to just do what you can afford without a fundraiser. There's no sin in running out. Most acts of gifting run their course after a few days. What you did sounds wonderful. Will expanding the project elevate your enjoyment? Then fundraise away! Good luck.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby gyre » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:32 pm

People fundraise like crazy in all the main burner cities.

You have limited options if you aren't in one of those towns.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby trilobyte » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:10 am

Ah yes, radical reliance on others. You're right, it's no longer really a gift if you're asking people to pay for it.

I think we've already crossed the threshold, fundraisers are no longer reserved for really big art. So long as you're clear on what the funds being raised are for, and you stick to that, your conscious is clear. Where things get muddy and really uncomfortable, in my personal opinion, is when people stage nebulous fundraising to essentially pay for their burn (or their bar tab), or they do stuff like that french quarter bar was doing with selling VIP access.

I'll also +1 what Dr. Helix said - there's no sin in running out. Save up what you can, then plan out your gifting. No shame at all in offering up x of something per day, or putting up a sign inviting people to BYO scarves.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby BBadger » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:34 am

Use the 100% sanctioned method for all fundraising, no matter the context: RAFFLES.

On a more serious note, even applying for an honorarium grant is fundraising; so you have to do what you gotta do. Like the others, I feel the motives behind the fundraising help a lot.

Other things you can try besides what was mentioned before:

- Seek out donations of supplies instead of money. That way it isn't so much "fundraising" as "supply-raising".

- Make the cloth material supply-limited, afterwards it's a bring-your-own-scarf type thing.

- On-playa cloth-donations to stretch things. Don't count on them of course, but it can be easier for people to do rather than shipping it to you first, or sending you money. Clean clothes/cloth of course.

- Use the fundraising only after you know how much left is needed. Great to plan now, but also good to know the exact needs. It also makes it less a "help me fund the entire damn thing" fundraiser.

There is still something to be said about radical self-reliance with funds though. Maybe the solution is to reduce costs (and related to the above):

- Quantity purchases. I don't know how exactly you worked it this past year (sorry, I didn't follow that thread), but did you buy individual scarves, or use fabric cut from a roll? If the former, the rolls would probably help stretch things quite a bit especially if you can get them from large fabric stores.

- Dye other, less expensive stuff. Socks? Handkerchiefs? Arm-patches?

- Scale down. Plan to run out. Intend to run out! It makes the "commodity" more valuable and less apt to be discarded. You can even have your event at odd, short hours to reduce traffic.

- Advertise more heavily on the bring-your-own-scarf system. That way it's more about how much dye you can bring, less the cloth materials you bring in.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby jkisha » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:52 pm

Lots of good ideas. One could form a camp, with the dues going to the scarves.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby lucky420 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:57 am

Tk, whatever is decided you know I'm in.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:33 am

Another fund raising option that may work well for you is to make some scarves and sell them (on Etsy or some other venue). The profits could then be used to buy stuff to gift at the burn.

This is a similar model used by many theme camps to raise funds although it is more commonly done by hosting events, selling stuff is just as valid a method.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby tamarakay » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:41 pm

Thank you for the responses everyone.
DAB, yep, i've already sold some! Just to people here at work though, nothing on etsy yet.
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Re: Fundraisers

Postby Turtleburp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:41 pm

Was certainly all over by the time I got there...
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