4/1/2015 – The Kindness Connection
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation sent out its first newsletter recently. Most of you probably haven’t heard of MM, a plasma cell cancer, because it’s not high profile, but it’s a nasty beast. Until recently, average life expectancy was two years. You can understand why I cried all night when my husband was diagnosed with the disease.
The newsletter offered great hope—new medications have made survival time jump dramatically—and asked readers to think of clever ways to raise funds for lifesaving research. There were examples of what they meant. A cat littler manufacturer donates money as part of a Cats for Cancer campaign. A Louisiana seafood provider offers Crawfish for Cancer.
I write mysteries and my husband is my “partner in crime” (OK, initial editor if you insist on being mundane.) It didn’t take long to come up with Mysteries for Myeloma as my fundraising idea.
Using our books is a great way for us writers to make more interesting and more sizable contributions to our favorite causes and charities. Here’s how. Most publishers offer their authors books at reduced rates. Rather than giving $100 to your charity, purchase your books and offer them for sale at a fundraising event. If your cost is $5 for example, you can get twenty books for your $100. At the fundraiser when people ask how much the books are, point out the pre-printed price on the book and say, “Of course you can pay more if you’d like because all proceeds are being donated today.” Most people seeing a price lower than $20 on the book will produce an ATM $20 and tell you to keep the change. The purchaser gets a thank you gift with their donation which makes them feel doubly good and that $100 investment you made becomes a $400 donation. Cool win/win, right?
You’ll discover some unexpected perks when you use your books for fundraising. Purchasers may become new readers. Even if they bought your book to help the charity but don’t intend to read it, books are hard to throw away. They’ll likely pass your book on to someone who will enjoy it or at least give it to their local library. One way or another, your book may find its way into the hands of your next fan.
You’ll find it’s easy to promote a good cause even if you balk at self promotion. Who knows, you may become a fearless publicity seeker after some selfless practice. You’ll get organized. There’s nothing like a looming deadline and too many contacts to approach to make you update your email address book.
Finally—and I think the most rewarding perk—is that many people will help you. The world is filled with kind and caring individuals, something we can forget given news headlines, and it’s wonderful to be reminded of that, especially while helping your favorite charity.