last monday i received an email from my summit for someone director-of-all-things. it was a forwarded email from ed viesturs (a well known climber, supporter for summit for someone, partner designer with eddie bauer. um can i have his life?) good old eddy was offering up a $250 eddie bauer jacket to any fundraiser who could raise $500 by the end of the week. through my early stages of planning, and by planning i mean simply trying to figure out how the hell i’m going to raise $8,500 in a year when it’s more than my life savings, not to mention the car payment, student loans, and really bad game of monopoly i’m still paying off, i decided early on that i would wait until after the new year before i started asking for donations. i figured it’s the holidays and people are already strapped, plus the mayans might still be right, and why go through all that trouble if zombies are just going to take over on the 21st of this month anyway? (no the mayans did not predict end of the world via zombie outbreak. yes, i do watch the walking dead) but then i received this email and immediately thought rather than keep the jacket for myself, why not turn the prize into a raffle for my fundraisees (“fundraisee” is kind of like “so fetch.” yes, i’m going to keep trying to make it happen. also see: donator, contributor, BAMFers) so i sent an email back to the director asking if a raffle was kosher and went to bed.
i didn’t sleep a wink.
i don’t know if it was the idea that i could actually get started with my fundraiser earlier than planned, or the excitement of the immediate $500 challenge, or the 2 1/2 glasses of wine i drank by myself alone in my apartment, but i just couldn’t sleep. i was rolling graphic options through my head, scheming who i’d contact and why, and planning out all of the rules that would make it possible. i did not count sheep. i heard back from my director EOD tuesday, and decided to go for it. i launched the campaign; i facebooked, tweeted, and sent out all of my carrier pigeons.
then, nothing happened.
by middle of day wednesday i had two donations. they were made by my two best friends who’ve already helped immensely with this project who should not give to me and should instead keep their money in their own pants or save it for a night out at the strip club and put it in someone else’s pants. since starting this project, a big part of me has been excited by the prospect of meeting new people and spreading awareness about this amazing organization. i want to sit outside of REI in the cold of january and enlighten fellow outdoorsmen about the project, my goal, and all of the rewards (and if they’re single, maybe ask for their numbers, too). i want to make my summit for someone bigger than myself. of course i’m incredibly thankful for my friends’ donations and i can’t say i hated getting the official “someone has donated to your climb” emails. but i’m not going to lie, i was hoping for more. convincing myself it was still early on, i vowed to wait until the evening before i checked to see if anyone else donated.
then, nothing else happened.
to say i’m impatient is an understatement. as the week progressed, donations trickled in. i was living in a world of constant ups and downs, from hurray! that person is so amazing, i love them and am going to bake them a cake, to ugh what was i thinking? i should have never tried this project out at the end of november when i wasn’t ready and i don’t know what i’m doing, to yes! another one! i love them even more, i should go wash their car for them, to blurgh why doesn’t anyone want to try to win a jacket? to yippee! my heart is full, the universe is sooo good! to this is never going to work, i’m never getting to $500, i need a new strategy. mom, this is hard.
after intermittent posts on facebook, twitter, linkedin, a small dose of email blasts, and occasionally shouting out of my car window while driving, i had made it to around $400. it was 8:30pm friday. i was exhausted. so i made like mitt romney and gave a concession speech. i sent out a text to friends and family who had helped me get the word out, stating that it was a hard close fight, and i’m thankful for all who contributed, post shared, and rain danced. though no one would get a chance to win the jacket, we, together, had raised $400 in roughly three days, and that was amazing. then i crawled into bed, watched the breakfast club, and went to sleep (yes i am a loser on friday nights and damn proud of it.) it’s not that i didn’t believe i could make the goal, but it was 8:30pm on friday and most everyone was out raging or living their lives somewhere or watching breakfast club in their own beds. i figured no one was sitting around, browsing the internet, just looking for a place to deposit all of their extra money. i figured this because in the last hour, the only update i had on my facebook feed was about lindsay lohan getting arrested, again, or whatever. i felt like i had done what i could and there wasn’t much more to do. i tried. i learned. i’d do better next time. and who knew? maybe i’d wake up the next morning with an inbox full of happy donation emails and i could thank santa claus for still being real. either way, i was proud of my team and ready to start planning my next step.
it turns out santa claus is real. the west coast! i had forgotten about the west coast! it may have been 8:30pm MST time, but it was a modest 7:30pm to the left. my bay area homies (god, i’m so white) pulled through in the 11th hour, and with another annoyingly generous donation by one of my best friends to help cross the $500 mark, we actually raised $530 in approximately three days.
i always knew raising $8,500 would not be an easy task. i chose to do it because i’ve spent my life doing the things i want for myself. i saw summit for someone as a way to do something i want for myself, but for others, too. it would be a challenge and a goal. i’m afraid as we get older we get sucked into the game of life (inflexible jobs, marriage, those things called children, or really boring board games. i mean really, any board game ever is more fun than life) as responsibilites get heavier, we often start to lose goals, and just sort of become. i don’t want to do that. i want to be the crazy aunt with the mountaineering scars, the heart full from helping others, and giant laugh lines. i’m talking grand canyon big. but i learned from last week. i see now that this next year will be even harder than i thought. i’m going to be exhausted. i’m going to feel like giving up. i’m probably going to cry and i’m probably going to cry more than once. but in the end, win or lose, up or down, it will be worth it.
“hills. we love them. we hate them. they make us strong. they make us weak. today I chose to embrace hills.”
again, a GIANT thank you to all who donated, who are planning on donating, or who thought about donating for a split second but then remembered they had to buy shoes. thanks to those who spread the word, tolerated my less than funny facebook posts, and actually read to the bottom of this post. but mostly thank you to those who donated. the winner of the eddie bauer jacket will be announced soon. stay tuned and do good. xo.