Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The funding story part one, starring Butterfly Works, Wilde Ganzen, NCDO, Marthe van Rijswijck & many generous people who came to the auction

As you have read in the Lauma post, the Zanzibits plan was really getting serious. I was in the process of finishing the ‘final’ version of the business plan, and if this was really going to work out, funding was drastically needed. It’s something to plan such a centre in writing, but it’s something else to collect enough funds to make the dream reality.

I had, in my budget, hi tech computers, flat screens, electricity backup systems (the electricity on Zanzibar isn’t as stable as we would like it to be), beamers and much more… In short, the works, in order to give the kids all the right tools for learning a multimedia speciality. And how does one go about getting this kind of money? Well, I guessed going around and raising my hand should work out just fine, which it did, in the end of the day.

The first thing I did, when sending a bill to my clients, was to give them the opportunity to opt for a 10% 'discount' on their bill (my input), if they agreed to pay an extra 10% extra to the Zanzibits account (their input). In other words, 20% of the total amount of the bill amount would go to Zanzibits, 50% donated by my company, 50% by their company. Many clients agreed, and the first funds were collected. At the time I didn’t have a Zanzibits account, but the Butterfly Works Foundation was very helpful.

Of course, a few thousand dollars would not be enough to start the Zanzibits project, so I had to come up with a means of collection a lot of funds in a short period of time. The solution for this, I believed, had to be an auction. A good friend of mine, and founder of the 4Kenia Foundation, had organised such an auction some years ago, in Amsterdam, which turned out to be a great success, so, well… I was inspired, to say the least ;-)

The organisation of the auction took a good part of the next few months, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many people who really did their best to make it the success it was. In the end, we had donations from all parts of Europe, the United States and of course Africa, including a trip to Barcelona, 3 pairs of swimming trunks, a big bronze Buddha statue, an Ipod Touch and so much more (click here to download the whole list of items).

The auction and benefit dinner were held in January, in the neighbourhood of the Hague, and was a bigger success than I could ever have imagined. Speeches were held, amongst others, by the director of Interimic, the founder of Butterfly Works and the head trainer of Nairobits. The 5 star dinner was catered by Quichekeurig, most of the ingredients were donated by local shopkeepers, and the serving and cooking staff was working for free. The auctioneer was a friend of mine, who did it as if he was a real professional. He had even borrowed the antique auction hammer from Christies head auction master. Success guaranteed.

No comments: