Okay, I’ve dished out life learning lessons, advice and shared information on this blog for over a decade now.

And now I need your advice and suggestions.

I have a friend who needs $3,000.

Now wait–I’m not asking you for money, okay?

I’m asking for you to help me brainstorm a way to help her get that money. (Sorry–robbing a bank is out.)

My friend is a good person. She lives alone, in a room, in isolation (to do her work), doing translating work that supports and empowers indigenous people on another continent, people who want their land back from a government that has taken it away from them and destroyed it. (Think ‘Native American’ in another country, and in this century.) She works in hand with an ecumenical council in that country, translating their documents to make their work more available on their website and in their proceedings, and at the U.N. (Yes, THAT U.N.) She actually taught herself Portuguese to do this work.

She lives very low on the food chain.

She gets by on…get this…$6,000 a year. She has subsidized housing (the aforementioned room) and lives on food stamps. Her wants are few, she never asks for help and she is the most frugal person I know.

Half her income comes from a religious group who have supported her work for the last few years. This year, they said her work “…no longer meets their criteria” for doing good in the world, and turned down her grant proposal.

She did not ask me for help. She simply told me she is frightened, and this was totally unexpected. She is grateful that I’ve offered to help. I asked her if it would embarrass her, for me to write this. “No, not at all!” she exclaimed. “I’m so unfamiliar with how to think about this. I’d love to hear what other people say.”

So my questions for you today are these:

How can I help her get $3,000?

A jewelry raffle, with the proceeds going to her? Host a bake sale? Have her write an e-book on the work she is doing, and try to sell it? Sell stuff on Etsy or Craigslist and give her the money? Have a car wash??? (Remember we got a foot of snow here a few days ago.) :^D Ask three or four people who might be able to afford it, to write her a check? (I could just give her some of the money, but not all.)

Do any of you have any experience fund-raising for a person or a cause? What’s worked? What blew up in your face? How would you go about it, if it were a friend of yours?

If you needed $3,000, what would you do?

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

21 thoughts on “HOW WOULD YOU RAISE $3,000?”

  1. I just sent in silver scraps to a reclaimer. I initially thought there wasn’t much but it wound up being about $700 worth. You could ask jewelry /metal artists to donate sweeps.


  2. She needs to have a local auction of original work. If she can get someone to provide a venue and someone to do the selling, she can put her existing work up with a moderate minimum price and try to do it with local advertising and some flyers.
    One thing I would do would be to make up colorful folded notes with some of the indigenous art on them to sell with envelopes, and make the suggestion that donating more than the minimal price (say, $4/ six cards) will help the cause. Or simply make the cards available for a donaton of any amount. This will get the people to go away with something anyway, and interest them in the mission.

    Good luck.


  3. She could apply for State or Federal grants that assist philanthropic efforts. She could contact churches to see if they have a program that would donate money to a good cause. There are always social sororities, Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, and other organizations that help fund good causes. She could possibly offer to speak to various community groups about her program in exchange for a donation. Her town might have a foundation that makes donations to worthy causes. If she is fluent in Portuguese, she could offer to teach a non-credit or credit class in that subject (or any other subject with which she is familiar) at a local communtiy college. Most community colleges are always looking for talented people to teach a non-credit class, and you wouldn’t necessarily have to have a college degree for a non-credit class. It sounds like she could teach a class in doing more with less money if she is making a living with that kind of low income.


  4. It seems that with all the charities that celebs are supporting you might find one that might be interested in one-on-one philanthropy. Print up some cards to place with your art in galleries to give a brief story about this friend and where you can donate. Perhaps set up a fund in a local bank. Once something has an ‘address’ (like Fund for Sue Smith to insure continued help to [countries name]) people seem to be more drawn to them. Put up fliers ( “Help local woman continue assisting third world citizens return to land”) in local coffee houses with pull tags containing bank info. And yes a raffle of artwork, but if you can get the others underway it might get rolling on its own.


  5. Even though I just lost both of my jobs I’m still in better shape than she is. So I’d be more than happy to make a direct donation of $20. ‘Seems to me that we should all pull together in times like these. So I suggest going ahead and trying to raise some actual money for her. Some of the ideas above are great, but can she pay her rent next month? Because if she can’t, then trying to get a grant or pulling together a show isn’t going to help her soon enough. Besides, wouldn’t if be marvelous even if she got just a few $20 checks in the mail? Imagine how affirming that would feel. Luann, send me her name and address!


  6. Tertia of the blog “So Close” raised money for a man in South Africa to roof his house & to help his son attend school. She blogged about the conditions, showed pictures, etc. People asked her to allow them to help so she set up a pay pal account (I think) & people could donate any amount. There was no pressure & it was annonymous. She raised quite a bit of money. Later she posted pictures of the work done & a thank you from her friend.
    I’m sure if you did a search on her site or emailed her she’d offer you some ideas. Thanks for doing this ~ you’re a good person! Tam


  7. 1. You said she’d previously gotten this money from a religious organization? Set up ANY jewelry-related fundraising event, and contact as many religious organizations as you can possibly think of. Just ask them to spread the word about your fundraiser. To properly spread the word, they’ll have to read up on her situation. As they do this, a few might be inspired to take over as her sponsor. Her living situation might even improve.

    2. has a monthly fundraiser (April’s Army) to help an Etsy-er in need. Most months they raise way more than $3000 for the person. You could apply and describe her situation.


  8. Several years ago, a nurse from our local doctor’s office, got a double whammy of cancer, both very serious types, one Stage III, one Stage IV. She had no health insurance, and her grown children didn’t have any money to help her with expenses.

    The office came up with an ingenious plan. They had a “No Bake Bakesale,” on a cute sign below the receptionist’s window. The premise was that no one had to baked anything, and you didn’t have to eat extra calories. Just leave your donation in the box and maybe write a few nice thoughts in the book beside the box to let her know you were thinking of her. They would get several hundred dollars a day, and many days more than that.

    Of course, a doctor’s waiting room has a captive audience, and we’re a small town where everyone knows everyone else. But maybe you could figure out a way to make this work in your situation.


  9. When we found out that we would need roughly $5000 to replace plumbing in the laundry room, we considered ways to raise it by creating some kind of content that people could get by donating $1. Some of the things we thought of included original knitting patterns I’ve written, historical-interest photographs that my dad took while he was in WW II, some of my mom’s vintage recipes, CAD drawings that my husband could do, even sound files of me playing Irish songs on my tin whistle, or origami Christmas ornaments that would be quick to create. We were thinking that we could put up a selection of 3 items each week, and for their $1 donation people could choose which one to have us send them, and possibly a special item for people who sent more than $1.

    We ended up not doing it.because I was interviewing for a job that summer, and we didn’t want our “help us fix this old house” appeal to turn up when the colleges’ hiring committees Googled me. But it could certainly work. Also, see for more ideas… she raised $20K, one donation at a time, just to pay off her credit card debts.


  10. I like the idea of creating an eBook! Hosting a fundraising event of some sort is fun and can be a good way for people to meet and/or feel more connected to the cause, but we’re approaching the time of year that everyone seems overwhelmed with assorted social commitments.

    Here’s one example of a good eBook publisher with very reasonable contracts (and you’ll spend $0 in the process of getting published) that I recommend taking a look at, if you decide to go that route:


  11. Two different issues here. Comments give lots of good ways to raise money for a one-time effort. Your friend needs additional paying work to support herself and feel secure.
    When necessary, we take jobs outside our chosen fields to keep the bills paid. At her simple scale of living, almost any part time job would give her enough income to replace the income she’s lost. It’s not easy, but we work to support ourselves and our passion. If she is unable to work outside the home, she may qualify for disability benefits. At the risk of sounding cynical, she is currently partially subsidized by all of us already, by her rent support and food stamps.
    Having been in the position of facing the loss of an already small income, I know how scary it is. She needs support in finding work, whether it’s as a translator or a store clerk, and the assurance of friends that she will weather this storm. One charitable event is a stopgap.


    1. I agree with Sue. One has to deal with basic comforts and security, and I say, “Get a job.” Wait tables, be a receptionist, sell clothes, wrap gifts, absolutely anything is better than waiting for a grant to come through. She may find that working has its own rewards, such as independence from others. Put together the E-Book on the side. Have that be her hobby, and in the end, she will have both; a job that pays money and the ability to sustain her cause. It is beneficial and eye-opening to get out there in the world and roll the sleeves up and make some money.


  12. If she is not housebound she should contact the local courts and social services agencies and find out what is required to be a translator. This would be sporadic work but she should be able to plan for court translations well in advance. Both should offer some sort of transportation subsidy. EOIR Immigration court is the court at the federal level. Also, take a look at Ideal List- which is a job site for non-profits. Organizations there may have some funding.

    She should also apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income.


  13. Rather than give the details currently going on in my own personal life, I will make it short as possible on a few things. There are those that will offer help with no strings attached and those that prefer to do it in a way that noone else other than themselves and the party receiving the help are aware. There are those that no matter how the funds are being raised they will have negative things to say about it, especially if it is done online and/or in forums. I believe some of these people online are called “trolls” and they can be very upsetting. So to save your friend some heartache, I strongly suggest having it set up in a way that those that want to give can do so without the chance of being a target for some of those negative and cruel people. In my particular situation, when those “trolls” began their ambush on a forum, it hurt the fundraising in away that stopped some from participating, plus upset myself and others that had only pure good hearts wanting to help. So, hopefully this info will be helpful in your quest to help your friend. God bless you both and I wish you the best in your endeavors to help out this friend. I only wish my situation was better so that I could participate in away that would put some $$ in her pocket. My prayers to the both of you.


  14. From my fundraising training and experience, I would say your last option is the mostly likely to succeed. And ask your friends if they have friends who might be interested in helping too. Also, warn your friend about being dependent on grants, always vulnerable to this sudden change. So working out the e-book or something like it so people can continue to support her is a good idea for a more secure future.


  15. I know I’m late in responding, but I hope you will read this Luann. I would say one of two things (I have other ideas as well). One idea is this is a fun and fabulous way to get funds- but the people involved have to be willing to offer or create something for those who donate. Check out the site, there are tons of creative ideas that will get you going.
    Also, I could suggest as they often do fundraising and artists offer their paintings for a cause and donate money from sold paintings to it.
    I would say the best way to raise money is to 1) get creative and 2) collaborate! All things can be accomplished in community.
    What I mean by that is your friend could think even bigger than just herself (which is the 1st priority), but she could raise money by involving artists to raise money to support not only herself but the indegenious community in some way and everyone would win.
    This is my 2 cents.
    And by the way, feel free to ask me to get involved in any cool projects you come up with!



  16. Have her hold workshops on what she knows – about translating, learning portuguese, tips on learning a language, indigenous people – have the workshops in her home to save costs or yours or sometimes places like libraries will rent space for free.


    1. We just sat down this weekend and reviewed all the suggestions–and this is what resonated with her!

      Thank you ALL for your kind thoughts and input. It was hugely helpful, and inspirational too!


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