Confessions of a Struggling Fundraiser / by Ryan Koch

 I've always wondered what worms taste like...

I've always wondered what worms taste like...

I admit it: I am a miserable fundraiser. Of all the hats I wear as Seedleaf's director, this one is the most ill-fitting. I still don't know how to ask for money, how to strike the perfect note of impending doom mixed with impending success. I don't know how to communicate all the good that Seedleaf is doing, all the reasons for hope that unfold over the course of a growing season. I don't know what outlet to use, or which to prioritize. Apparently, one must use all the outlets, all the platforms. We throw parties, fundraisers, but by the end of the night, they often seem to turn into friend-raisers. I don't know how to message our need. There are fundraising professionals in this world for a reason.

Despite all of this, Seedleaf has not only survived, but thrived. We have always found support somehow. What I have a hard time communicating is on display at our Get In the Garden Events, or at our Garden Grill Outs. Many volunteers and visitors become monthly donors, part of our Perennial Club. Sometimes we see larger, unanticipated gifts. In 2017, a little over a quarter of our income came from grant funding. We offered composting and gardening services which also represented a little over a quarter of our income. The remainder came from donations.

While we have always had what we need, we hope to offer even more gardening and programing in 2018. We have big plans and high hopes for the Urban Farm. And we are planning to expand our SEEDS program from one location to two. With so much coming up, we are going to need even more help from our partners.

I notice that I feel a lot of joy and excitement as I think about the new year. I believe in the work we are doing on behalf of the local food system, and the partnerships that are growing around our 15 free u-pick community gardens. For all these reasons, I am ready for a new fundraising experiment. I am prepared to do something I haven't done since middle school: I shall eat bugs for money. Your donation through the GoodGivingChallenge on Wednesday evening (December 13th, 6-8pm) will be all the motivation I need to eat one of a number of non-nutritive substances: crickets, soil, worms, other (stranger?) things. Here is more info on this event we are calling Dinner with Seedleaf. No need to interrupt your holiday frolicking to join us at the West Sixth Green Room for this--an online donation will suffice, and may even help us take advantage of some key incentives this week made possible by the Blue Grass Community Foundation! 

I am so excited about the upcoming growing season that I am willing to go to great lengths to make it happen. Will you partner with us by making a donation today?