Fall 2013 Campus Intern | New York, NY Columbia University
In Kiran’s Words: I decided to conduct my first fundraising initiative for FRO at an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in the East Village in NYC. After having planned with the owners the details of the event, we decided the best course of action would be to promote and directly ask the clients for a donation at the end of their meal. Doing so allowed me to advocate the cause and raise awareness directly with the public and enabled me to answer any questions they might have about the organization.
I prepared fliers explaining the challenges child soldiers, mothers, abductees, and orphans face in northern Uganda and how FRO helps their cause. The fliers were printed and kindly paid for, as a donation to FRO, by a friend of mine, Jacob Serra, graduating in media studies at Columbia University; he was also responsible for taking pictures and videos of the event. The night of the fundraising event the restaurant was bustling, many clients where left waiting in line for a table and the staff was busy attending. I decided to welcome the guests and introduce myself but did not present the work of FRO in detail at this point, since I thought it premature. I approached each table once the guest finished their meal and presented them with the restaurant check along with the fliers. I then proceeded to introduce FRO and explained the work of the organization. Given the subject matter and the context I focused on FRO’s vocational, educational, and technical training programs and how these help individuals and communities affected by the war in the region. In addition, I attempted to show why the cause was important to me; I thought that explaining my career aspirations would allow me to connect more personally to the donors and raise awareness on the work on human rights organizations. The donors were eager to learn of FRO and all tables participated in the fundraising.
The fundraising event was highly successful; not only because of the amount raised, but also because I felt people were ready to learn and help in the organization’s mission. Due to the success of the event the owners of the restaurant have agreed to a second fundraising night. This experience was very enriching, as it allowed me to report on the problems faced by abductees and orphans and helped me develop a clear and effective message. I look forward to a second fundraising night!