Guest post by Robert Patrovic
As ChildFund recognizes #GivingTuesday today, we are sharing the inspiring story of a father watching his daughter work hard – to give. Through ChildFund, Kara sponsors Mijael, a 6-year-old boy from Bolivia, and this year she raised funds to visit him.
My wife, Mary, and I have always tried to teach our children the value of their place in the world. We instilled in them a need to make the world a better place. Although we believe we’ve provided a comfortable home and life, we have always been sure not to focus on the attainment of personal possessions. There are almost no video games in our house (except for educational ones), no smartphones when they were kids, and we’ve always stressed reading, playing outside and giving.
Each of our three children, Jess, 23; Bobby, 20; and Kara, 15, is different, but they share that same value system. They have always volunteered for many causes both in and out of school. We have encouraged them to seek their dreams and have always taught them that hard work gets results. When they have truly wanted something, we have shown them paths to get it – always involving work on their part.
Kara, in particular, has always been one of the most giving people we know, even as a younger child. When, at 9 years old, she came to us with the idea of sponsoring a child, we were very encouraging (how could a parent not be?!). I helped her do the research on which organization operated the most efficiently, as she is conscientious about things like that. We decided on ChildFund. We helped supplement her monthly sponsorship payment and she did her best to keep in touch with Mijael over the years. At the time, he was 6 months old; Mijael is now 6 years old.
When she came up with the idea to actually visit Mijael, we saw this as an excellent learning opportunity and told her we would accompany her if she raised the money to go. This was in late January, a time where her schoolwork was especially heating up. Kara is a dedicated student and athlete. She played high school soccer and track and field and played for a club soccer team, as well – quite the demanding schedule.
Once Kara realized what it would take to put this trip together, she decided she wanted to invest more time, ultimately leaving the club soccer team. She used the extra time to really begin planning her big trip to Bolivia. She first placed a letter in our church’s bulletin and got a good response, which encouraged her further. She sent more letters and emails, developed budgets, researched flights, hosted fundraisers and even got some media coverage. The trip began taking on a life of its own, and Kara was at the forefront. How proud we were!
As the project grew in scope with more and more fundraisers, increased amounts of time and planning were required. At this time, Kara was given a “gift” of sorts. While playing soccer, she took a serious fall. She suffered a pretty serious concussion and broke her wrist. Kara could not participate in her normal activities. She was discouraged, understandably so, but this gave her the gift of time to spend on fundraising and planning her trip. Kara was making a hug jug of lemonade out of a large batch of lemons – a gift from God. Talk about getting inspiration from your own child!
Ultimately, Kara was successful; so successful in fact that she raised about $850 more than she planned. With the extra money she was able to provide gifts for 55 additional children and donate to two health care fundraisers in Tarija [Mijael’s community]. Although, I only went to accompany Kara, my own life was changed dramatically as well.
Kara has been, is, and continues to be a God-given gift and inspiration in our lives. I was moved by the impact that Kara had. At one point, she was honored as a Chapaca (resident of Tarija), which is an incredible tribute. In addition, the Tarija people called her a role model for their children because of her motivation to give. Imagine that, a child who comes from a wealthy country like the U.S., who is accustomed to living comfortably, being honored as a role model for children that have very little.
Kara has decided to continue to raise funds for Mijael, ChildFund Bolivia, and the various communities of Tarija. We are so proud of and inspired by our daughter.
Learn more about Kara’s trip to Bolivia.
By Cynthia Price
Director of Communications
The responses of 1,295 nonprofit executives show that 91 percent raise money online, but only 58 percent of those nonprofits use social media for fundraising. The article appeared in NPT Instant Fundraising, a publication of The NonProfit Times.
Sharing their story, building a community, public relations, and donor engagement/retention — not raising funds — were listed as the nonprofits’ top reasons for engaging in social media.
The executives were responding to a survey conducted by Sage Nonprofit Solutions, based in Austin.
ChildFund International trends with the results. When we changed our name in July to one that reflected our global scope and our work as part of the ChildFund Alliance, we knew we had to familiarize people with our new name and help others connect the new name to the old one.
We’ve done a decent job of raising awareness through Facebook, Twitter and blogs. We’re hearing from you that you believe in the work that we do and that it feels good to make a difference in the lives of children. Many of you have further shared that message for us through your social networks.
One of the survey findings was that social media isn’t a part of most nonprofit organizations’ everyday activities. At ChildFund, it is. We have both a community manager and a director of e-Philanthropy. Those aren’t titles just to impress. They’re intended to send a message: Our community of supporters is crucial to helping children in the countries where we work. And we plan to continuously seek more contributions through online platforms.
In the coming weeks, we’re planning to use our social media platforms to raise awareness of our gift catalog, a unique way to help a child. Each gift you choose will be used exactly as described in the catalog. The gifts come in all shapes and sizes — and price ranges — and are a great way to become more familiar with the work ChildFund does. We hope that many of you will take advantage of this opportunity to purchase an item and change the life of a child.
ChildFund recently launched our Causes page on Facebook and will be updating that regularly.
We know that the more we can connect you directly to the impact we have on children’s lives, the more you will want to participate. Whether that takes the form of sharing our message, contributing or both. We want to continue the conversation and continue making a difference in the lives of deprived, excluded and vulnerable children.