Our fundraiser this year for beyondblue exceeded our expectations in every way. Working with the team at beyondblue was a joy - they were so enthusiastic and helpful and then went out of their way to film a video of the Chair of beyondblue, Julia Gillard, endorsing our event which was a wonderful way to kick start our fundraising month and really leant credibility to our event. We still get a kick out of watching the video and hearing Ms Gillard say the words 'Crumbz Craft' :-)
Our fundraising was definitely helped by the fact that beyondblue is such a well known organisation and held in such high regard - as soon as people heard we were fundraising for beyondblue they reached into their wallets. Add to that the fact that their logo is a butterfly and we're a craft shop, and it wasn’t long before Kay’s vision of thousands of crocheted butterflies in beyondblue's corporate colours yarn bombing all the beautiful gas lamp light poles in our Main Street became a reality - which became a huge talking point and ended up in the Herald Sun as it was so bright and cheery.
Our fundraiser event was featured in our local press as well as in Handmade magazine, all of which helped to spread the word and Kay went on local radio 3MDR with host Ann Creber to talk about why we were fundraising and how.
Another lovely aspect that we hadn’t foreseen was how people opened up to us about their own personal experience with mental health, be it with a family member, or they themselves who suffer. We took phone calls from people we have never met from 1000s of miles away who live with depression or are bi polar and had read about our fundraiser and wanted to thank us for helping them and thinking of them; it made them feel connected and less alone. People came into our shop to tell us we were doing a great thing - they had driven through town and seen the butterflies and read the signs about what they represented and took the time to stop and come in.
We had letters from people, including one lady in her 80s who wrote saying she'd love the butterfly pattern as she makes things for children undergoing chemo and thought they'd like these flying around their room - she told us she was impressed with what we were doing. Having people reaching out to us in these ways was quite unexpected, extremely humbling and a wonderful byproduct of our fundraising. And the number of conversations it prompted highlighted just how prevalent mental health issues are and how they affect us all in some way.
Inspired by Julia Gillard’s video, in the lead up to the event, people made videos saying why they were supporting our event, which we shared on social media to spread the word. Then throughout the month of May - fabulous volunteers crocheted butterflies with yarn donated by Crumbz (carefully chosen in beyondblue's corporate colours), and people posted them in to us so that customers could purchase them for $5 each, and got to fix them onto the light poles.
People also bought the butterflies via our everyday hero page and we affixed them for them. Our talented and generous crafty customers made things with yarn throughout the month for their friends who in turn made a donation via our fundraising page.
And we finished up the month of fundraising with our 24-hr overnight knit where people came and knitted and crocheted at our shop (including our local MP Cindy McLeish)
and amazing souls carried on crafting into and through the night, with much hilarity
and an amazing amount of lovely nibbles; people brought cakes they’d made (thank you Barbara) and brownies were delivered by caring supporters (thank you Kirsty and Grace) to keep us all going.
Kay’s husband Barry revived the crafters with a very welcome bacon and egg muffin cooked up on the BBQ
as the new day dawned and crafting continued with new people joining us and others trudging off home to bed, until midday the following day, when we finished up triumphant with a glass of celebratory bubbles.
Through the night other folk were yarning with us in spirit in their own homes, sending photos on social media so we were all connected.
Donations continued to pour in and with a big push on social media as we counted down to midnight on the last day of May, we reached our $8,000 target shortly before 11pm.
Since then, further donations have been deposited and we have now closed donations, having raised a grand total of $8,835 which we’re thrilled with.
People are already asking if we are running our Yarn-a-Thon again next year and the answer is of course - YES. And we are thrilled to announce we have chosen Cure Brain Cancer Foundation to fundraise for in May 2019 and have already registered our event and intention with them and they are very excited by our idea of a Yarn-a-Thon.
So...save the date for our 24-hr overnight knit on 25/26 May 2019 and we'll keep you posted as to what exciting events and activities we'll be running and what fabulous items we can all create in May, to raise funds and awareness for such an important cause.
See you then!! :-)