An Invitation to Community

It was Shasta’s story here that gave me the idea to share stories about community. I love her blog and her novella, and I’ve ordered her new children’s book. No one really likes to ask for help. I know I didn’t when we raised money for a van. The thing is, when we don’t ask for help, we deprive others of sharing in our lives. So here is a great opportunity to be the community that helps a little boy learn to walk and talk.

Author Shasta Kearns Moore and sons JJ (right)and Malachi, who has cerebral palsy.

Hello Team Aidan readers!

I have to say I’m honored to be allowed to talk to you today. Heather and Team Aidan’s success at raising $40,000 for a wheelchair-accessible van is a continual source of inspiration for me! Even more so now, as you will see in a moment.

On my own blog, OutrageousFortune.net, I talked recently about a conundrum I think almost every special needs parent faces over whether or not we should fundraise for our son’s medical expenses.

I don’t like the idea of fundraising, not the least of which because it puts me in an awkward position and shifts my burdens to my friends. I would much rather be able to simply make the money I need, but so far traditional means of doing so aren’t panning out.

I know that I’m not alone in getting weird about money. In a wonderful book called Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, the author shows how people are often more willing to give money for stuff rather than directly for charity. This explains why public radio stations give substantial “thank you gifts” to contributors instead of simply asking for less money in the first place.

So, I think I* may have come up with a solution that shifts the dynamic from a pathetic person asking for hand-outs to a self-empowered business person asking for fair compensation for her work — and if some people invest for other (perhaps more selfless) reasons it’ll be much more because they wanted to than because they felt obligated to. Hopefully this means a lot of the weirdness around fundraising won’t be as much of an issue.

Here’s the deal. Several months ago I wrote and designed what is actually a pretty great children’s book called Dark & Light: A love story for babies. I shopped it around to a few agents to no avail, much like my last book, but I still think it is a solid product. If only I could make the board books myself, I thought, I know people would love to get a copy.

Enter Kickstarter. For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, this is a way for artists to test the water for their projects. People can essentially pledge to buy a creative project, like a CD or book, and if enough pledges are amassed, the artist knows the effort and expense of producing it will be worth it. But, if the minimum amount isn’t reached, no money changes hands and the artists aren’t obligated to make their project for less than it will cost.

This really seems like a win-win-win. Backers get some really cool swag, Malachi gets the therapy he needs and I get to publish a book. There’s also other, intangible “wins” like the crazy good feelings I get about other people caring enough about our struggle to do something about it and the sense of pride backers feel about helping to make something awesome happen.

This is a community coming together, for the good of all, and you’re invited!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1718096956/dark-and-light-a-love-story-for-babies/widget/card.html
(*Ahem, OK, it’s possible my husband came up with this idea. And it’s possible I initially told him it was a stupid idea….)

 

To be part of Malachai’s community… help with the Kickstarter campaign, share this post, visit her blog. It’s a win for everyone.

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Thankful Thursday

It’s the end of September and guess what’s old news….we have an accessible van for Aidan!!! We raised $40K in 7 months. Here’s what you may not have noticed – September was our goal month to get the van and we got it in February. I’m still amazed that it was possible and still very much humbled and grateful that our community came together to make this happen. Our van really has been a life saver. Every now and again I stop and wonder how the heck I’d been lifting Aidan.

So, if you need a quick review go here to read the letter that put the need for a van out there.

Go here and here and here to read some great posts about the community coming together.

Go here to see the videos of Aidan in the community and Aidan getting the van.

So, yes, today I have much to be thankful for.