So I’m officially half way through my internship. It has been quite a ride. I have officially started planning the fundraising event while juggling all the other day to day tasks. One of my week highlights was getting Vogue Mexico to issue an article on our brand! I was in contact with the assistant editor pitching the article and giving her information for a couple of weeks and finally the hard work payed off!
Luckily Francesca has a lot of contacts so I have been contacting a few of her friends that are willing to help us. We sat down and designed our plan of action: set a target to fundraise, design a mock up to send to investors, (our business plan version but for the fundraiser) find sponsors, find prizes for our silent auction, send out the invitations and successfully plan the event. Like all good plans in life, nothing has gone according to it.
Fun days have turned into draining days. I guess that happens in every job, there comes a time were you don’t look forward to going to work. In my case, it had nothing to do with my co-workers or my boss. It was the fact that I wasn’t seeing the results of my work. I had been working on something for 8 hours for 2 weeks and still hadn’t found any sponsor or prizes, all I had found was “no thank you” and maybe next time”. I tried to look outside the box and knocking on doors, (calling ALL the liquor distributers listed in the NYC yellow pages to see if any of them would donate a few boxes of wine for the cocktail) unfortunately, all the people I contacted said no. Some were a flat dry “Not interested” and others were a little nicer saying that even though they thought the cause was wonderful, they already support other local causes.
After countless negative responses I decided to talk to my boss. Towards the end of the week we sat down for coffee and I told her everything. How I felt I had failed her and the nonprofit because the way everything was going I didn’t see the fundraiser happening and how frustrated I was with all the rejections. She listened carefully and when I was finished and asked her for guidance she gave me valuable lessons, like seeing failures as lessons and asking for help because in the end of the day we are a team and no one can plan a fundraiser on their own.
I realized that in every no I had received I had the opportunity to improve my second and third and fourth pitch, all I had to do was ask, what would make them be interested. Grow and improve through constructive criticism. In order to actually sell to costumer it is important to understand their wants, their needs and their motivations. Maybe we were looking at the wrong target market? Contacting sponsors who didn’t need the publicity or had no connection to Guatemala. In conclusion, the past weeks have been challenging and exhausting, but they have also been very enlightening.