Glory be to God, we are blessed. Even when there are ups and downs in life, God is always there guiding us. How awesome is He? Our Almighty and Loving God never leaves our side no matter how sinful we are.
We have so many blessings to offer up to God and thank Him: being able to get up in the morning, go to class, go to College Conference or Real Break. The list goes on and on.
For me, OCF is one of the greatest blessings I am grateful for. I recently transferred schools and realized what a blessing my home chapter was for me. I definitely took many things for granted, and I did not realize the impact OCF, locally and in our North American programs, had and continues to have, on me.
I challenge each of you to take a moment and be still. Ponder all the blessings in your life and give glory to God! God willing, OCF is one of them. If you have an OCF chapter, don’t take it for granted. Give each person a hug and tell them why you are grateful for them. Thank your priest(s). Our spiritual advisors take precious time to spend with us and are vital to the OCF ministry. So really, take the time to thank your priest and your chapter. Life changes in a blink of an eye, and the present is the perfect time to have an attitude of gratitude.
In honor of giving thanks, as OCF we have launched a #GivingTuesday campaign, starting on November 28th and ending on December 15th.
This campaign is superrrrr important because it’s not us asking our parishes or women’s groups to help the ministry of OCF. This time, it’s us students who have the opportunity to make the biggest difference.
This campaign is built for us students to show our love for our ministry of OCF and support all the wonderful programs that are put on for us (retreats & such)! I’m sure you’re grumbling to yourself, “ugh, they want money.”
Hear me out. We know the reality of being a college student. Little drops fill a bucket, right? You can make a donation of $10, which for me is eating in instead of going out in NYC. Instead of buying a large pizza for $20 invite your friends over and make your own pizza, and donate to OCF.
You want to know something pretty amazing? A generous donor has offered to match every dollar raised before the concluding date! AND if you share this campaign and have people donate in your honor the two students with the most “nominations” will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship each. Yes folks, a scholarship!
With 7 days left (campaign ends December 15th), we are currently at $15,781: only $4,219 short of our $20,000 goal!
I know money is a touchy subject. Truthfully, I usually cringe when the Parish Council President asks for money at church. But, as Orthodox Christians true stewardship is giving our time, talents, and treasure.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. –2 Corinthians 9:6-7
So let’s begin now and give a little of our treasure to a ministry that works so hard for each of us. OCF is a ministry that has changed all of our lives in some way and will continue to do so as we graduate college and stay a part of Christ’s Living Body.
Share the word and let’s fill this OCF bucket each with our little drop!
Spyridoula Fotinis is a junior at the City College of New York where she is studying International Studies. She serves as the Public Relations Student Leader on the 2017-2018 Student Leadership Board.
After reading all about Real Break, you head straight to the Real Break page to see what trips are during your spring break. After agonizing over which of these amazing journeys to embark on, you finally pick one and set out to register…until you see the price.
Not many college students have extra cash lying around. You’re left with fundraising and asking people for money, which can be awkward and uncomfortable.
My godmother, who has made her career out of fundraising, helped me greatly when I was raising money for my two Real Break trips, so I asked her to share some of her pro tips. Here’s some advice for different ways to politely and successfully get the donations flowing in.
- Ask. If you don’t ask, people don’t give. Sounds simple but so many forget to “make the ask.”
- You are not asking for people to give you cash just to spend as you wish. You are asking for them to INVEST in an experience that will change your lives and help you grow as people.
- Don’t ask without context. Outline the purpose of the trip – why is it important to you and to others for you to go. Explain what the money is going for (it is actually an incredible deal that it covers airfare, accommodations, and site fees) and say that it is a trip sponsored by OCF.
- Say, “Would you be willing to invest in making this experience possible for me?” THEN BE SILENT (if asking in person). Nature/people abhor silence. Count to 25 slowly and let the other person come back with a reply. They are processing and thinking. Your inclination as the solicitor will be to feel uncomfortable and start to fill the silence by saying “it’s ok…there’s no need for you to give now….” BE SILENT.
- Share what your goal is and state a gift range. Don’t shoot too low and don’t shoot too high. For example, say that the entire trip is costing $2500 and that people have given from $10 to $250.
- Speak in front of the parish during announcements. Explain what the trip is, what the money will cover, and why you’re going. Talking in front of large crowds can be scary, but the personal address gives the audience and real person and cause their money goes to. Practice your speech on some friends beforehand if you’re nervous.
- Sell something during coffee hour. Taking time to make or bake goods shows that you are dedicated to raising this money. People, especially little kids, like to get something in return for their giving. It also allows you to open up the conversation further about your Real Break trip.
- Write to your home parish. If you live far from school and don’t regularly attend your home church, write a letter and ask the priest to put in the bulletin. People who watched you grow up will be proud you’re still an active member of the church and want to support you.
Heads up: most crowdfunding sites (GoFundMe, KickStarter, etc.) take a small percentage of your donations for their own profit. I recommend GoFundMe for Real Break–their charge is 7.9%.
- Explain your trip and goal in a narrative and in bullet points. People learn and process information in different ways. Some people will respond to reading and others to a video – if you can, shoot a short (30 second) video of yourself and attach it to your email or post on your crowdfunding page.
- Share your GoFundMe page on social media and encourage others to share it to to reach max audience. Post some sort of update everyday to show people the progress you’re making so they’re encouraged to give.
- Email your GoFundMe page out. Even if people have a Facebook, they may not check it every day. Most people check their email regularly, and it expands your range of potential donors outside of social media.