Sunday, June 23, 2019

Hope in the Latter-days

I spoke today in the Billerica Ward. I had "what does it mean to be a saint in the last days" as my assigned topic. While there's no shortage of material about the last days, I definitely wanted to make sure I stayed applicable and useful for the congregation rather than speculative and sensational. I also didn't have time to binge-watch Good Omens. In the end, and at the suggestion of my wife, the material came together around hope: gaining hope, sharing hope, and nurturing hope.

Image result for desolation of daniel four horsemen apocalypse

I didn't write out everything about my talk due to preparation time constraints and that I tend to just read my words when I do that. I did collect various notes, quotes, and scriptures and share the outline below. Most of the main ideas came from Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk titled Preparing for the Lord's Return.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Fundraising ideas for Destination Imagination Global Finals

My daughters got lucky and fell into a great Destination Imagination program at our town. Not everything has run perfectly, but we have been extremely blessed and are now preparing to head to globals for the second time. A large part of that preparation right now is fundraising. The move to Kansas City seems to have made it especially more expensive this year. My daughter's team seems to have had a lot of success with fundraising this year so I wanted to share some tips from what I've seen (mostly from the outside):

  • Year-round fundraising. Ideally, fundraising occurs all year round and not just during the month or so between states and globals. The problem with this is what to do with the funds if you don't actually make it to globals? Our town has a non-profit that supports the DI program. Money accumulates with that organization so that it's there when a team does make it to globals. That's the theory, although I realize there's a lot of details in the implementation which I do not know.
  • GoFundMe. We got tipped off to this during our first trip to globals and we're using it again. The site does take a fee off the top, but it's worth the cost in the ease of use. A lot of successful fundraising has to do with reducing friction for those who want to donate, and GoFundMe does a great job of that.
  • Business sponsorships. Our town has a culture of working with local businesses to provide support for various things. It really does take a village. I realize that demographics and culture might make this a less viable option. Remember that it's a culture that has to start sometime and somewhere, so why not with supporting DI? You can even sweeten the deal by mentioning how you will display your gratitude for the fundraising
  • Business fundraisers. This is another side of the previous item, but maybe more palatable for businesses. We have a number of restaurants in the area that will do proceed sharing nights. For example, 20% of the proceeds from orders at Ginger during April 23rd were donated to our town teams heading to Global Finals. I admit that the owners of the restaurant have a daughter on one of the teams, but I've seen other organizations do similar things with a local pizza place. It makes sense: you drive traffic to their restaurant and so everybody wins.
    Women of Science
  • Bonfire. We did a t-shirt fundraiser for the first time this year and it took off like gangbusters. Part of that came from a particularly popular design by the older sister of one of the team members, but even our less popular shirts did well. Obviously you want some kind of original design that will sell well, but that's a little like saying "buy low, sell high" on the stock market. 
  • Cookies. A different organization we participate in uses selling cookie mixes and doughs to fundraise. We are dipping our toes into that a little right now, although I cannot report on the results for us yet. We have noticed success elsewhere with selling cookie doughs or mixes. It takes some time to create and deliver the goods, but the supplies are actually pretty cheap and yield a good return for what you sell. I've seen a similar approach done with pizzas
  • Share. Share on every social media platform you have, and then do it again. Specifically, I am thinking of Facebook and Instagram. If you use Twitter, tweet early and often. Same with Pinterest. Even go for Reddit, if it fits. I am not sure about LinkedIn as a platform for this, but I tried it. I am not a Snapchat user so I did not use that myself, and the same goes for Whatsapp. I probably should have. Once you have the GoFundMe or Bonfire or whatever set up, market it on social media over and over and over again. 
  • Individual emails. Email your family. Email your friends. Email everybody you know. Probably don't email your coworkers, but if they have an off-topic channel or list or forum, put it there. Don't spam people (email them repeatedly), but a single reach out shouldn't bother anybody. Ask for donations, but also ask for them to share with THEIR networks.
While it's great to score a big raise through these efforts, it's really more about eating the elephant: one bite at a time. Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Looking for dinner tonight while supporting some great kids?

Looking for a great dinner tonight and a chance to support a great Destination Imagination team? 

Visit or order take-out from Ginger today, Tuesday the 23rd. 20% of the proceeds go to Bedford DI! 88 Great Road, Bedford MA. 781-271-9988.

We have other ways to help support my daughter's  Destination Imagination team, the SkittlewormsThey have qualified for and will attend the global competition this year. They attended two years ago and placed third in the world for their event. In addition to the hard work of preparing for their competition, we are all actively fundraising to help finance the trip. You can also help in any of the following ways: