On fundraising, karma and Elfbaby luck

Elfbaby has been out in the world for about a month now – after five years of gestation, a lot of growth seems to have happened in this first action-packed month. Luckily, unlike the real Elfbaby’s first month, none of this involved sleep deprivation, tears or crises of confidence. In fact, it’s been quite a confidence boost.

While we’re not talking a huge viral hit, the pattern has been well received. It’s selling, and maybe even better than that, it’s getting the thumbs-up from people who have knit it – and cast on for their second or third go-round. (It’s the multiple border options, I think. You can’t make just one.) Which was already making me incredibly happy, and then an excellent thing happened.

I donated a copy of the pattern (plus yarn) as a karmic balancing gift for the Yarn Harlot’s annual torture fest People With Aids bike rally. You know about this? It’s quite the thing. People, ordinary people, people with lives and children and completely normal legs, made of flesh rather than iron, raise funds by cycling from Toronto to Montreal, over six days. I actually tend to think that the training period is almost worse than the ride (or would be for me), because of the sheer stress of trying to fit the massive amount of training required, plus fundraising, into a normal life. But this year, those six days happened to occur slap bang in the middle of completely evil weather, so that part was definitely, unarguably worse. Anyway, I donate a little every year, because it’s an excellent cause, and because I’m in awe of the Harlot and the rest of the riders, and I admit it, because I get a HUGE kick out of knowing that the collective power of knitters (as harnessed by a really great writer and committed fundraiser) is confusing the heck out of all the other fundraisers.

Also, Stephanie distributes karmic balancing gifts (donated by readers for other readers who have supported the team), which is bunches of fun. And this year I got in on the action. On both sides, as it turns out, because I won a copy of Romi’s fantastic Oddments collection! (The gorgeous Gingerbread Mitts were already on my list.) I consider Romi an old Purlescence friend, and she contributed a square to Claudia’s beautiful baby blanket, so this is particularly special. And as I mentioned, I donated a gift also, so Elfbaby got a Harlot blog mention

The Harlot being the Harlot, that was pretty valuable publicity, and gave a solid boost to pattern sales. Which, I can’t deny, I had hoped for. Combine that with my lucky win and I was feeling irrationally guilty. My supposedly good deed is generating a lot of benefit to me, and that’s awesome, but I feel like my karma’s getting a bit out of whack. So it’s time to pay it forward. The logical thing to do would be to donate some of the proceeds to PWA – but I’m not going to. The rally’s over for this year, and while that obviously doesn’t mean they need the cash any less now than they did before, there are other causes in need too.

Jacqui writes here about the importance of supporting smaller causes. I can only agree. I also love the thought that donating even small amounts can add up to a big impact – just as in knitting, where you can’t get the big result (or any results at all) without making lots of small efforts, over and over again. A charity I love that also embraces this small-is-beautiful ethos is Action on Poverty, which aims to make solid, lasting improvements to lives in the developing world by supporting micro enterprise. It’s enormously practical stuff, grounded in the realities of Africa and Asia, and by the way? You’ll notice that it especially benefits women. For all kinds of reasons, women are often at the heart of these ventures.

Elfbaby comes with three borders, and I’m making three donations from the proceeds of the Harlot sales bump. One to the DIPG research team, as highlighted by Jacqui, who got me thinking about the power of micro donations. One to APT, which – with its small, practical, often women-oriented projects – is clearly a cause perfectly aligned with the knitting spirit. And one to a charity to be chosen by Lorna (UPDATE: she chooses Parkinson’s UK, because her dad is a sufferer), whose beautiful photos are undoubtedly a big part of the pattern’s success.

As for PWA? I have an idea for next year’s bike rally…

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5 thoughts on “On fundraising, karma and Elfbaby luck”

  1. Thank you for your kind mention and support for APT Action on Poverty and our ‘small is beautiful’ ethos. I’m thinking how sweet the hat will look on all those little ones out there this winter!

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