Making of the Family Fun & Fund Raiser

"How do you do it?  We can't even get out the door without a fight and you're sending off this cake-baking invitation!"

"One step at a time...and sometimes that means one year at a time."

Since several of you have inquired about our project, here's a day-by-day rundown of what happens behind the scenes.

Day 1

Made the flyer.  Without the flyer there is no project.  The first “customers” to “buy” need to be my kids.  Of course, we’ve been discussing it as a family (and this year we took the picture for it), reminding them that cake-time is coming and the goal for this year.  Seeing it means believing it.

I print out the flyer and leave a copy on the kitchen table.  In due course someone comments.  “Do we have any orders yet?...Mom, you should send it out so that we can get some!”  That’s the cue.  The kids passed “Go.”

Day 2

I send out the flyer to our “alumni,” a.k.a. those who ordered last year.  Among the first families to respond was one who missed the deadline the previous year.  “We submitted out order when your capacity ran out last year, so we want to be sure to get one this time around!”  Hummm. It’s O.K. to have deadlines; they change behavior…actions do speak loudly and limits can maintain good entente (friendships)!  It’s an encouragement to apply them with the kids too J!

Day 3

It takes a few cakes to remember our baking key success factors.  Well, we messed up on one recipe:  the cake looked gorgeous coming out of the oven…then fell flat.  We delivered it, but kept wondering whether the cake quality warranted the donation.  Since we always make double recipes, we decided to try it and get our conscious clear.  Ooooops!  My son called the donor to share, “God is a God of excellence and this cake is really medium.  We want to do our best, so we’ll make you another.   I think we’ll bake it for free….”  

One great lesson learned (God loves excellence; we should too) and one to go (don’t make others pay for your mistakes)!

Day 4

Met our eldest son’s teacher on the street.  She rushed up to me to say how honored she was to be invited to participate in our fundraiser.  Could it be?!  For the past three years this son greeted this project with “I’ll bake but don’t ask me to tell ANYONE about it.”  This year, he’s involving teachers, employers (babysitting…) and getting real positive feedback.  What made the difference?  Probably his maturity, but also the fact that last year, when his friends invaded our house (usual) during cake-time (not surprising) I put them all to contribution.  The teens had fun (to their amazement).

The order process has provided another means for connecting the fundraiser to the children’s world.  They receive the orders via e-mail….and affirmation as a bonus.  

“Hi J_____.  I love hearing you mix the music at church.  Hey, we love you cakes and ….”
"Hi P_____.  We met briefly at the _____ and I really enjoyed our conversation.  About the cakes…..”
“Denise, your little G______ is one avid salesperson!  He knows how to close a deal!!!”

Orders are flowing in!  We need organization.  Order chart to the rescue.  Click to download.

Day 5

Avid salesman son came home exclaiming that Rachid and Mohammed ordered cakes.  “Did you talk to the parents?  Do they know about the project?”  These kids are bilingual too:  French & Arabic.  We want to make sure that all families are glad to spend their money on a project which involves missionaries.   This project is an expression of our faith.  It’s not a tool to impose our values onto others.  So, we translated the flyer into French and gave it the following morning to the boys.  Rachid looked up at me, smiled, and whispered, “We’re going to give X €!”  “How generous!”  Mohammed was equally proud to contribute.  A special thanks for the gift from these two families.

It’s like the story of the widow and the Pharisees who offered gifts at the temple (Mark 12:41-44),  and Jesus commended the widow who gave two coins amounting to one cent.   The others donated out of their plenty, but she gave out of her want.  

Day 6

A son’s friend comes by to pick up his order.  “So, what’s the project this year?  I remember last year….” And he goes on to describe Edith Zainabu’s ambitions to expand her hair salon.   The families who order cakes become co-donors.  It’s their project too.

Several parents shared how they gathered the family around to decide together on the cake flavors and how much to give.  “Co-donors” who share the cakes with work colleagues relate how they tell the cake-story to all who partake.  Hunger for sweets for the tummy and the heart… :)

Day 7

Kids’ friends came to bake. 

Kids baking: cake is ready
Just when our boys start feeling that baking is work, fresh perspectives boosted their energy.  Their favorite part?  Playing catch with the lemons.  Did you not know that lemon cake needs good juice which squeezes out best from well kneaded lemons!  Yes, the fruit are well scrubbed before collecting the rind!

Day 8

Parents of the boys’ friends came to collect their cakes and asked, “Are you the cooks?”  My two eldest—now both in high school—answered “Yes” without hesitation or embarrassment.  A year or two ago they would have fled as soon as the doorbell rang!   Hooray!  Messages I have been trying to instill over the years are taking root!

Day 9

I ran across several of my sons friends and inquired about their plans for Mother’s Day?  How about offering a cake to mom and a donation to kids who have none?  "Great idea!  We’ll surely order..."  Considering this positive response I posted a message on Facebook (yes, I like my sons’ buddies).  None “de-friended” me despite such a motherly missive.

Day 10

My kids made me a cake for Mother’s Day!  We all broke the “No desserts for breakfast, PLEASE!!!!” rule and gobbled up a chocolate chip cake at 9:00 A.M.!  Delicious. :)

After the Project

The boys’ project is finished for this year.  They’re willing to invest mega-efforts for a clearly delimited time.  One family never came to collect their cake…more for us.  Another did not contribute funds; we'll tweak the child-to-child ordering system next year.  There will always be blimps.  We will choose to focus on the grandiose generosity of our co-donors.   42 cakes later (like last year!) the fearsome foursome raised 647 € or $950.  Thanks to you all!

Want to join the fun?  You can support Patti Lafage directly. Find out how on her Rafiki Foundation page.

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