When it comes to fundraising, there are many factors that can determine success. I, along with fellow Sri Lankan in publishing, Mishma Nixon, recently concluded a fundraiser to help those suffering in our home country due to a severe economic crisis. We named it #KidlitForSriLanka and as expected, everyone stepped up.
From prize giveaways of editor calls, manuscript critiques, AMA calls, signed books, customized artwork, and even a virtual school visit, to the dozens of donations that came in immediately, I was blown away at the ease with which everyone donated to the cause.
When I approached Lee Wind with this topic as a blog post, he said something which made me think. He said that it was evident that the community trusted us. I took a moment to let that sink in. All this time, I had been focused on how generous the community was -we raised over 4000 dollars (which converted to over 1 million rupees!) - but what it really meant was that these donors, most of whom weren't Sri Lankan or even South Asian, cared enough and trusted us enough to part with not just their money, but also their time, energy, and expertise. I had not met any of these people in real life. Btw, I have never met Mishma either, but I trusted her to collect the money on our behalf and be transparent about it, which she was!
And that is possibly the main determining factor in the success of any charitable cause: Trust. People donate because they trust that thier donations will actually help something or someone. Much like a democracy; you vote for someone because you trust them to do good. And if anyone knows what it's like when that trust breaks, it's our country's people.
Boy, am I glad I'm a writer and not a politician!
If you're interested in the specifics of our fundraiser, you can view the details here. We have stopped accepting donations and are in the distribution process right now, but if you are inclined to help, I've linked up organizations you could directly donate to in the spreadsheet itself.
Thushanthi Ponweera is an author and poet from Sri Lanka. Her debut middle-grade verse novel I am Kavi is forthcoming from Holiday House in 2023. She is a former We Need Diverse Books mentee and a blogger for the same organization. Her writing reflects the frustration she feels at the inequality and injustice she sees around her, and also the deep love she feels for her island home. You can read more about her at www.thushanthiponweera.com and she can be found tweeting furiously as @thushponweera.