These are the highlights of our fundraising efforts for our new Casavant organ.
When we brought forward that the expense for repair of our old organ was too high, and we should look for something else, there was discussion. There were many opinions and ideas, but our church leadership relied on the expertise of the Organ Committee and the Committee of Administration.
It was a gift from God when an anonymous donor came forward with one quart of the total cost, as soon as the plan for a new organ was made public. The only condistion was that it was a matching donation: we had to raise another quart of the cost: we would have half of the total investment!
We did have to response to the ideas about an electronic replacement (too expensive, and not lasting, not good sound, and does not fit with our philosophy). We investigated options to use existing organs. In Europe there are nice (historic) instruments for sale, but they did not fit. Many North American instruments are either too large or are of inferior quality and needed significant work. There were ideas to change the style of our worship services including our music and song so that an organ would not be necessary, but that was also dealt with. Then we had several reactions regarding the aspect of stewardship: is it responsible to spend a large amount of money as Christians on just one musical instrument, while there is so much need in this world. The response to this concern was made carefully and a wider perspective was given in the answer.
Where to start
After the go ahead was given, we did ask the APOBA, Casavant, the AGO and RCCO for resources that could help us with fundraising. We received several ideas and suggestions, but many of them would not work in our situation. We investigated government grants and the apporach of fundraising companies.
Our first step was to canvas the congregation. We asked for help from the church secretary and the Committee of Administration, and we made a list of families and singles. We offered pledges and placed a form in the mailboxes with a letter. Initially we gave everyone a call so that everyone had an opportunity to give a donation. Some people were against the project and we made sure that they would not be contacted again. We found that about one third of the congregation donated.
One of the ideas that we realized was a board with all pipes listed. Small cards in slots were displayed on a board, organized by rank, each rank having its own colour. The pipes had prices on them, related to the size of the pipe. The lowest cost were pipes of 5 dollars and the most expensive pipes were 1,500 dollars. People could “sponsor” a pipe by taking the card of the pipe and put it in a box with the money.
Children participated by purchasing the small pipes and people with more resources took care of the larger pipes.
This was succesful project: the display was 4′ x 6′, colourful, and very visible. It got the people talking. We raised a several thousand dollars with this project, while just only one third of the board was sponsored. It was a community project – many people participated. Also guests liked the idea and had the opportunity to sponsor a pipe.
Another idea that was very successful was a fundraising concert. We involved the entire community and offered more than just music. We organized specialty coffee and various desserts for a “Coffee Concert by Candle light”. The fellowship hall was lit by candles and Christmas lights, tables set up as with a wedding reception with table cloths and a nice program.
Musicians were teachers from the local music school, local musical celebrities. They offered their services for free, because of their support for our fundrasing goal. The music selections were classical in nature.
There was no ticket sales but the master of ceremony pointed out the envelopes and pens on the tables several times. The last concert we did there was a donor who would match up to 5,000 dollars. That evening we raised 15,000 dollars.