One of our favorite things at Fun Pasta Fundraising is helping groups to achieve their fundraising goals. What we’ve learned is that with every group, there is a story behind the fundraiser. It’s the story and the people we love most. It keeps us “using our noodles” to continuously raise the fundraising bar to improve our fundraising products and the process. When we heard about the Tremble Clefs of San Diego, their story captured our hearts. For this month’s featured fundraising group, we interviewed group member, Karen Benson. Here is her inspiring interview.
Tell us about your group? How many members? How long have you been together?
The Tremble Clefs of San Diego began in 2002 and is sponsored by the Parkinson Disease Association of San Diego. Karen Hesley is our director. We currently have about 35-40 members. All of our members are living with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease affects a person’s voice as well as their movement. Singing is a great therapy because it exercises and strengthens the vocal chords and helps with the voice symptoms that occur with Parkinson’s Disease. The Tremble Clefs are a performing musical group that meets weekly. Every quarter we have a new theme and we practice songs. We are a very diverse group. Some of the people in our group have had past musical training. Others have had none at all. Our members are historians, educators, doctors, lawyers etc.
What are their goals for the year? How long have you worked with FPF?
This is our second year working with FPF.
What were you raising funds for?
We are supported by the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego to some degree but we have other expenses associated with purchasing rights to print our music and with transportation. We also put on a retreat for the members and there are costs with that.
How did you advertise and market your fundraiser?
We used word of mouth and Facebook. I had a contest with prizes for the “most online sales” and the “most overall sales”. I made up prize baskets which of course, included pasta. I also printed flyers that members could share with their families.
What was the greatest challenge you faced as a leader? How did you overcome it?
I don’t feel that there were any challenges. You were so easy to work with. Being a former educator, I’ve worked with many other fundraisers and I’ve never been part of something that was so effortless. There were no problems. If I ever had a question there was always somebody there to answer it.
Is there something our readers would be surprised to know about your group?
Parkinson’s disease does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. Parkinson’s is a terrible disease and attacks a person’s voice as well as their movement. They may lose volume and it gets more difficult to talk. Singing offers natural therapeutic value in that it exercises and stimulates the vocal chords which helps with the voice symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. People with Parkinson Disease also may suffer from slowness of movement and therefore reduced activity which contributes to social isolation. Tremble Clef’s also provides a place where everyone can be comfortable. They are all fighting the same disease. Some are ambulatory, some are wheel-chair bound. Members can be themselves and they do not have to feel embarrassed if they are trembling.
Tell us why you are such a passionate supporter of you group and of this fundraiser?
I joined this group 6 years ago as my husband’s care giver. He was a performer and singer all his life but Parkinson’s disease had started to take his toll and it affected his voice. I had heard about voice therapy at a seminar and thought that he would benefit from it.
What’s the best part about being a fundraising leader?
You make it SO easy and it’s such a good product. I have no problem raving about it and encouraging people to try it. I am not a salesman. I can’t sell something I don’t believe in. Fun Pasta Fundraising is the best fundraising company and has some of the nicest people to work with. I am looking forward to working with you again next year.
Of all the products in our catalog, which did your group sell the most? What were they the most excited about?
The sales were pretty diverse. Really there’s something for everybody. We sold quite a bit of the mac-n-cheese and the chicken noodle soups were popular. The angel hair pasta sold well too.
Is there a new product in our 2014 catalog that you’re excited about?
I’m happy to see more gluten free options. I’ve already tried some of the new sauces and pastas. I buy your pastas year round not just when we are running a fundraiser.
How does one interview for a fundraising leader position?
Well, I was asked to chair the fundraiser because it was my idea. I received a bag of Dog-Lover’s Pasta as a gift and thought it was so cute so I suggested it to my group.
Many thanks to Karen and to the San Diego Tremble Clefs for the images. For more information about the Tremble Clefs or the Parkinson’s Disease Association of San Diego, check them out here.
For more information about your next Fundraiser, click here.