July 9, 2010 | 6:52 PM
By Donna Khalife
The BBQ was a success, with a line around the corner the entire time! We raised $2,300 in a matter of hours. We charged only $2 for a hot dog and a drink, and $3 for sausage and a drink (we could probably increase prices a little next time!). All the food and drinks were donated from various companies, so all the proceeds we generated went to Grameen America. We had many options available: vegetarian, vegan, whole wheat buns, etc. To tie the BBQ to Grameen America, we handed out our one-page summaries to people in line so they could read about us while waiting, and feel even better about the cause they were supporting when eating their hot dogs! We also positioned our posters so that people could read them while they were in line. Our goal for the event was to raise donations of course, but also to continue building our grassroots network and expose people to Grameen America and to the existence of poverty in the U.S. Overall, I think we accomplished both.
I learned another useful lesson as it relates to non-profit work: it was difficult to get people to approach our tables at first even though the grills were fired up and we were clearly not asking for anything. To help attract a crowd, we started yelling on the sidewalk “Just $2 for a hot dog and a drink, and all the money is going to charity!” I added a few more comments from time to time about having vegetarian options and the charity being Grameen America, a local one that alleviates poverty right here in New York City, but that was pretty much all we needed to say for people to slow down and take a second glance at us. Again, I was amazed at how many people cared and wanted to support us but could not be bothered to stop and inquire on their own. It was a good reminder that we need to keep finding creative ways to attract people who want to get involved without asking them to take the initiative and approach us first.
Our adventures at Whole Foods for the week ended on a positive note. We all went home a little tired and smelling of smoke from the BBQ, but feeling good about a day’s worth of work! Thanks to all those who stopped by!
See more pictures here