Sunday, 18 February 2018

Funds, Fundraising, and Funding needs

Talk about a demand that's exponential! We've grown well beyond this core group of initial volunteers.

Have you ever wondered why is it that funds are never enough, requiring fundraising to be ongoing, and the funding needs seem to be more than either of the first two can adequately cover?

If you're going at the frenetic pace like we are at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Barbados [Cffb], you seldom have the time to pause and ponder. Currently, our funds don't even cover the basic needs of the foundation, which are to provide adequate funding for those affected with Cystic Fibrosis [CF] to get adequate medical treatment.

To give a bit of background, we have so much gratitude for US Based Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for the assistance they gave us when we first started out. The gave selflessly of their information, support and guidance that we were able to become established quite quickly and as a young charity, become well organized with proper structure.

In our few short years, we were able to accomplish quite a bit to assist those on the island that were seeking care. Whereas our US counterparts are "Adding tomorrows", here in Barbados, we are "Aware to Care"; building awareness within the country and indeed the region with our information about an illness that so few knew about, even though there were others who had it over the years.

In short order, we need funds.

Our fundraising efforts included gala dinners with silent auctions, the walk/run which has now become an annual event. We did awareness programs with the medical fraternity when we invited our US-based supporters to come in and assist with the sharing of the information. Still, we feel there's a shortfall. We feel as if we haven't done enough. Why? It's because this is an illness that is expensive, it mutates, and the learning curve is steep. We need to raise the bar.

Others may have this challenge as well, and we need to make our needs known. Our fundraising needs are great and need to continue with the ever increasing costs of medication and treatments which are not available on our shores of Barbados.

Our funding needs include:

  • the need to support the families who are affected by CF to get medical care and medicine for their family members who are ill with CF. 
  • the needs to have an established secretariat from where we can function on a permanent basis where the public can better interact with us and vice versa. 
  • administration of our organization on a permanent basis since CF does not take a break, neither should the organization. We need admin equipment, including computers, telecommunications, furniture, stationery, and the list can go on. 
  • the ability to contribute our share to finding a cure to the international medical research programs. 
  • the training of doctors in the special field of pediatric pulmonology so that we can reduce the need to travel overseas to seek medical care. The medication is still an overseas cost, but at least the provision of on-island medical care can eliminate/significantly reduce the foreign exchange pressure the families face financially for not only the person affected by CF, but those who must accompany them. 
  • the training of volunteers can be usually met with venue rental fees. Sometimes we can negotiate facilitators to donate their time, but it is not always possible. There are areas where we lack internal competence where we must seek professional help, e.g. audit reviews and other types of programs which enable us to maintain a presence in the public domain.

As usual, volunteers are a must, as there are a number of programs that we would like to implement but are short of manpower. So our topic is one that tells you. our needs expand exponentially; often faster than our ability to meet them.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Complacency is not an option

Cystic Fibrosis [CF] is an illness that presents situations that are dynamic. There is just not a blanket approach that can be taken to the treatment of the illness. The result is that a remedy/cure remains elusive.

To any organization that caters to the challenges of CF one thing is certain, we cannot become complacent. When we do something one year and it becomes successful, we cannot adopt a cookie cutter approach and decide that this particular approach will be taken from now on. We like the illness that we are addressing must evolve, we must do more.

In earlier days, we held the gala fundraiser, it became an event that many looked forward to on an annual basis. It grew in popularity and reputation, but the benefits derived fell. Instead of making money that could be contributed to the cause of aiding those who suffer from CF, the organization itself began to suffer from the associated costs.

So then, we have had to seek alternate ways of raising funds. Is it easy, certainly not by the stretch of our imagination. Daily we recognize the reality of Luke 10:2, where it says, "The harvest truly is great but the labourers are few". We have to heed the second part of that verse which is to ask for others to come help.

Can you contribute? Yes, you can!

There are committees and sub-committees where so much needs to be done to be compliant. We need think tanks where ideas for fundraisers are developed that would keep our supporters engaged. We need to have ongoing fundraising since it is not only our desire to help the sufferers but to raise awareness, contribute to our global effort of finding the ever elusive cure(s). The ever expensive and necessary medication which those affected by CF needs every month.

We also need to race against time, since as we win the "battle" in keeping people with CF alive, we have to develop programs for when they age, since jobs would not be able to pay them at the levels they require to maintain the costs of medication and care that make parents stagger financially and emotionally when they have to provide for those with CF within the family, while still maintaining the other elements of family life. 

We have to cope since family situations change due to the stresses resulting in breakdown of the family via divorce, pending retirement, job displacement, rising costs of living, and fuel costs that make airline travel for medical care even more difficult. The amount of moving parts to be considered when dealing with caring for someone with CF can be overwhelming if not put in perspective with the required and welcome assistance.

How can we address these various scenarios? Only with the grace of God, and the help of volunteers. We need you. Please, register today with us indicating your areas of strength that can help us advance our fight against CF.

We are the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Barbados, and we are Aware to Care!