Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thoughts on A Parish Festival

This weekend was our parish festival -- the primary parish fund raising event out of the year. I must confess, I've never been crazy about parish festivals and raffles as fund raisers. I realized this last year when I found myself griping about the fact that every member of the parish is sent ten dollars of raffle tickets for the festival raffle which they're under orders to sell. I don't like pestering my non-Catholic friends to buy tickets (and everyone in the parish has their own to sell) so we always ended up just buying them ourselves. Why, I asked, should we be guilt-tripped into buying ten dollars worth of raffle tickets we didn't want?

As soon as stated, the complaint seemed rather silly, since I don't think anything about writing several times that amount to the weekly collection.

For whatever reason, being strongly encouraged to "buy" something I don't really want (be it raffle tickets, or a chance to play festival games in the hot sun while trying not to lose any of the children) in support of a cause, is something I find myself naturally wanting to resist even when I would have had no problem with simply donating the same amount. Perhaps it's that being asked to buy something triggers a different set of thought processes in my mind (do I want this thing, it is a good use of money compared to the other uses I could put this money to?) than being asked for a donation does (do I think this is a cause worth supporting?)

Once I realized this, I figured the solution was to simply think of the parish festival as a second collection and spend $20-30 at it regardless of whether it was the sort of way I would normally choose to spend money.

This does still leave me wondering why parish festivals exist as means of fund raising (as opposed to, as a chance for everyone to get together and have fun for the afternoon) but that's probably another thing to chalk up to, "Not everyone thinks like you."

6 comments:

Cliff said...

hahaha I'm sure glad someone else is put off by that kind of malarkey! Reminds me of how I resisted joining the KofC for so long. I would just reply, "Nah, I don't want to help you run a gambling drinking joint".

bearing said...

Tradition may be part of it too. Some festivals have been going every year for decades.

And it does bring a large fraction of the parish together in the common goal of doing something for the parish.

I haven't been able really to "get into" the festival at our parish -- too few games and family activities, too many benefit dinners, poker games and silent auctions for my taste -- but I have enjoyed them at other parishes.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

It's human nature.

My mom's been managing fairs for ages, and several youth-oriented groups, and has noticed folks will give an average of 20-40 dollars.
Charge 10-15 and they'll simply not come.
(calculated by taking the head-count and dividing it by the total take, theorized to be a result of the folks who can afford five bucks a person giving five, and the older couples dropping a couple of twenties for a good cause)

Darwin said...

Foxfier,

Good point. We ran into this last year when a pro-life group that we had been donating to for the last several years (at a fairly substantial level) announced that that year they were going to be charging $120/plate for their benefit dinner. Now, the amount we'd donated in past years had always been a good deal more than that, but somehow that left a very bad taste in our mouths, and we weren't sorry to find that we were scheduled to be out of town for a wedding that weekend.

On the other hand, I'm told by other people around the parish there are a lot of people who normally never give who happily drop $40-50 on festival games, raffles and food. Go figure...

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

One year, we bought our tickets because we didn't sell a single one. $70. We groaned a bit.

Then we won the grand prize of a brand new PT Cruiser (2002 model, I think) or $15,000 in cash.

It wasn't a bad trade-off. ;)

TS said...

Could be worse - our festival raffle tix are $20. :-)