Inefficient Fundraising Through Knitting

by Rachel Wallis

Follow these 5 easy steps and you can be an inefficient fundraiser just like me!

Step 1: Get terribly injured in a bike crash. Spend two years recovering. Discover an amazing, progressive, affordable, worker owned acupuncture clinic that will treat you for $20 a session. Go there twice a month for a year. Tell them all about your pain and your fears and your dreams and the qualities of your poop. Take the horrible smelling herbs they give you, even though you don’t really believe in them, and slowly begin to get better. When they ask you if you want to knit some scarves for them to sell as a winter fundraiser, say yes, even though you don’t really like knitting and you’re not that good at it.

Step 2: Beginning knitting. Organize knitting parties for other acupuncture patients and crafty friends. Teach people how to knit, even though you’re not super solid on the principles. Spend a lot of time watching YouTube knitting tutorials. Realize that of the ten people you have taught to knit, only one will keep at it after they have left your house.

Step 3: Solicit donated yarn. This yarn will be scratchy and overwhelmingly yellow and orange. No one will use it to make scarves. Your stash of donated yarn will get larger and larger with each knitting party, until you are lugging it around like a giant, unwieldy albatross, overflowing with scratchy yarn. Find balls of yarn everywhere — in the back seat of your car, under your couch, trailing behind you as you walk.

Step 4: Buy more yarn that is pretty and soft, because you don’t want to donate an ugly scarf. Also buy some knitting needles and stitch markers because, you know, you have to spend money to make money. Buy snacks for your knitting parties and eat them all yourself if no one shows up. Realize that you could have just donated the money that you’re spending, and try not to think about it.

Step 5: Sell some scarves! Struggle with how much to price them, since if you calculated their price as materials plus labor, they would cost a million dollars. Settle on $30, because that is decent but not more than a reasonable person would spend on a slightly irregular scarf. Check to see if anyone has bought any each time you come in for a visit. Keep knitting scarves even though they haven’t because now that you’ve started, you’re not sure how to stop. Know that even if you don’t raise much money, you’ve used your compulsive crafting as a force for good, and spread the word about an incredible community resource.

When Rachel Wallis is the Communications and Events Manager at Crossroads Fund in Chicago. If you would like to buy some scarves and support a rad health care collective, you can do so here!