2016 is almost over, and 2017 will be here before we know it. We had a bit of a rough year, but it has forced me to re-think our direction and take action.
Our first bump in the road came at Easter. We didn't receive a single donation, and I was about to switch companies and couldn't contribute, either. It was discouraging, to say the least. I've known for a while that we can't keep depending on friends to support all of our donation needs...I just haven't been able to take action on a different plan yet. It's kinda frustrating to be stuck in a rut like we have been.
The Summer Lunch Program wasn't a hit like it was the first 2 years. All of the kids we have sponsored before are gone. Most of the new kids are teens who didn't want to talk to me. Even had a parent storm past me and direct me to her old man, saying, "I don't have time for any b******t". Poor guy didn't even know all the kids' ages or grades in school. I don't think he was Dad. We only had a couple of kids participate, which was very good since we only had a couple of donations. Since both my daughter and I were working, I delivered the lunch supplies to the family, rather than take a prepared lunch to them each day. In all, we served about 50 lunches to 2 kids. Not what we had hoped for, but definitely better than nothing.
Thanksgiving was much, much better! All the donations we requested were offered within minutes of making my first post! It was refreshing, and renewed my motivation. That was when I looked back into the 501 status and found out that the fee had dropped, and that we can file as an Unorganized Association. Even more of a motivator. =)
But before I get to all that, Christmas!! While we received everything we needed to help 3 families, the donations only came from 2 people...one of whom donates often, and is feeling our frustration at the lack of outside help. While I was very happy to not have to tell a family that we could not help them this year, it reminded me of Easter, and the steps we need to take to avoid that from happening again.
So as I mentioned in my last post, I applied for a new EIN under our new structural organization, and received it a few days ago. Now I've got a new registration all set to mail to the Secretary of State to update all of our information.
The next step will be a bit hard for me. But I'm going to swallow my pride and do it anyway. After the first of the year, towards the end of January, I will be creating a Gofundme page to try to raise the funds needed for our 501(c)(3) status. It's only $275 now, so I'm hoping to be able to contribute most of it myself. I just can't do it all, and that's where I gotta eat that humble pie and ask for others to contribute a few dollars. It's different than asking for donations for the food baskets. I hate asking for money. It seems better to ask for a box of stuffing for a family in need, than to ask for money so I can get my charity going in the right direction. But I'm trying to look at it as a long-term gain to better help those families. Once we have the 501 status, I can start bothering companies, and stop bothering friends. ;-)
So that's my plan, for the 501 status anyway. I'm also gonna try again to get the Taco Time coupon books. I can send them our new registration info as soon as I get it and let them know we're applying for the 501(c)(3) certification. With any luck, they'll approve us and we'll be able to raise some funds for Easter!