Old-Timey Jam Friendraiser with Sister District Puget Sound

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by Sister District Puget Sound leader Barb Elliott

I’m a district captain for the Puget Sound chapter, but my alter ego plays old-timey guitar. I have a load of friends I play with, most of them at campouts in the summer. My husband, Paul, and I decided to host an old-timey jam/friendraiser with our friends, who range from professional musicians (who are pretty broke right now) to retired software people (who are not pretty broke right now).

I wrote to about 30 of our buddies and invited them to come, asked them to plan to donate $40 if they could afford it, $20 if they couldn’t, and bring an instrument to play if they couldn’t contribute. We communicated that Paul and I would match up to $500 and provide a range of substantial snacks.

I also asked people to forward to friends as well as RSVP. I got about 20 RSVPs.

I wrote a few more times, first providing a link to donate because people had asked for it… I think that’s important. No arm twisting. Then I sent an email closer to the date letting people know to bring chairs (that’s typical at these jams) and BYOB. Oh, and that link again, since, again, people had asked for it.

The jam was on a Sunday from 1-5, and luckily the weather was perfect. About 25 people showed up, and we played outside. I went to each person and asked if they needed any help donating. Sort of arm-twisting, but gently. We got about 24 donations totaling $1500, of which Paul and I matched the first $500 for a grand total of $2K.

Everybody had a blast and were happy to have an opportunity to help the cause. This basic pattern could work for any sort of activity. Quilt? Movie night? Cocktail culture? Whatever your favorite pastime is, if you can do it in a group that could be an opportunity to raise funds!