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."


Anonymous 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 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...


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. :-)