The “Music Extravaganza” of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Kenya
Reuben Wachira, the fundraising officer at St. Joseph the Worker Parish was concerned about the drop in fundraising, as donors and partners were constantly withdrawing support for the good initiatives they implemented in the Kangemi community. Over the years, the Catholic parish has had a huge positive impact on the community, but no one knew anything about them until they organised the “Music Extravaganza” concert as a fundraising activity.
“We learnt the hard way that donors are tired. The support from the local government was equally difficult. So, we decided to put into practice what we learnt from Change the Game Academy classroom course on Local Fundraising. Initially, we had thought of having a fundraising dinner but realised that it would only target a specific audience and also providing food for the event would be costly. So, we decided to organise a music concert and charge entrance for people who attended it. The ‘Music Extravaganza’ became a brilliant idea as it also would include the youth in the community” tells Reuben.
“Through the Local Fundraising training, we were able to learn how to sort funds and create advertising materials. We learned valuable lessons, such as the importance of early and comprehensive planning as well as how to raise money for cash donations that we incorporated into our other fundraising initiatives”, he explains. The fundraising task was not as easy as they thought. Balancing the planning and fulfilling their actual work obligations was a daunting task for the committee, who were members of the different ongoing initiatives. The fundraising exercise began months in advance and most of the money was collected before the actual event. “We developed marketing materials and mobilised through advertisements in the church’s avenue and social media, such as WhatsApp groups. This got us a lot of youth who were willing to support the cause. They were our biggest resource”, adds Reuben. “In addition, we used raffle tickets which the students helped to sell and brought on board a lot of funds”, he finishes.
The accomplishments of the fundraising activity were impressive. They were able to raise approximately Kes. 4Million ($40,000), that was used for different initiatives. With the money, they bought machines and tools for carpentry and tailoring classes, improving an existing vocational project. In addition, 150 young people were trained in a program that integrates different skills valuable in the job market.
Reuben and his team are planning a new edition of the “Musical Extravaganza,” and hope to repeat the success of the first concert. “We are going to refine everything we learned in the first edition and map out a concrete strategy that will help us increase the fundraising amount. We are also going to capacitate ourselves to use social media, because we realised that it is a powerful tool that could be better used to mobilise resources,” he says.
Located in Kagemi slum, an urban settlement on the outskirts of Nairobi, the church has created several entities that support its thematic programs on education, youth, women, and children over the years. The educational programs offer students in the community access to secondary education and scholarships for orphans and vulnerable children. The parish also has programs that support and care for people with HIV, and carpentry workshops for young people that teach them a trade to support themselves.