Wednesday, 2 December, 2009

OSARCC Tin Shake

Saturday afternoon I participated in a fundraising tin shake for Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC). You can find more about the organisation and the work they do here. This was held in Abingdon market square, which is about 20 minutes bus ride away from Oxford.

It was the first time that I have participated in direct fundraising. Being an institutional fundraiser, used to writing proposals and concept notes and meeting donors in their offices, this was a novel experience indeed. I had elected for the 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. slot. I reached around 12.15 and by mistake went to the Amnesty International display table and soon was soliciting help to the prisoners in Nicaragua, when I remembered that I was supposed to be fundraising myself. The OSARCC display table was situated  in the opposite side of the square. There were some volunteers already busy collecting funds. I was placed with an experience volunteer. She to my amazement went upto people, engaged them in conversations giving information about the organisation and its work and kept collecting funds. For a first time wannabe this was a pretty intimidating act to follow. I stood around helplessly for sometime, listening to her conversation and thinking that my box would remain empty even after two hours and what a shame that would be. Suddenly in the middle of my self pity, someone came upto me and dropped some coins in my box. What a confidence booster that was. I squared my shoulders and decided to go for it. I positioned myself opposite a bakery and a gift shop and tentatively started smiling at people, some smiled back and came forward and others went their way. One lady who was waiting outside the gift shop, came upto me with a few coins and some kind words.

Being a Saturday, the square was filled with people shopping for Christmas, families out for lunch and friends hanging around. When a few more people came upto me, I decided to be bolder and make eye contact with people and try and get their attention as unintrusively as possible. All kinds of people came to drop coins. Some who did not have any change to spare had a smile or a kind word, got some winks too. Slowly the box started to feel heavy. But I must say that the children were the best. They were the ones who were really enthused about dropping coins. They came forward with shy smiles and really loved it when I offered them  stickers. Even the kids who were being hurried by their parents, often smiled or waved.

I was warned that I may encounter some rudeness. Thankfully I did not.

There were other charities fundraising in the square, one group was playing lively music. I had a small chat with a lady from one of the other charities. Other OSARCC volunteers were hopping by asking how I was doing, offering tea and encouragement. I got the chance to chat with some of them.

By the time my two hours were up, my box felt really heavy and I felt good because I was doing something worthwhile for a good cause and I met some really nice people and some cute kids.


  1. This sounds so interesting. I am sure you have learned a lot in the process.Kudos to u for associating with some good cause. Very few people get the opportunity. Keep it up!!!!

  2. Reading this in the OSARCC office. Can't thank you enough for helping out with the fundraising. Pleased you enjoyed the event and do come again!


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