…MAPS will have made a total of 57 microloans through Kiva. Wow. It turns out that this has been the best kind of journey: our process of figuring our what MAPS is all about has been full of twists, turns, successes, challenges, and, of course, cupcakes.
When we first started MAPS, we were not totally sure of the scope or reach of our work. Would this be about learning to give? we asked ourselves. How can we make our giving last? What do we want to learn in the process of giving and fundraising? It felt like we were creating MAPS from the ground up every single day.
Our first year, we spent much time and energy throwing ourselves into fundraising. We figured that we needed to make money to support women through micro-lending, and cupcakes seemed like a logical solution to pacify the hungry bellies of MHS girls while raising necessary funds. We made about 800 cupcakes that first year. That’s a LOT of butter and sugar, and a ton of elbow grease! We learned so much…about fundraising, about how to properly fill a cupcake liner, and about the great power of our Miss Hall’s community when we throw our back into causes we care about. It was a whirlwind. We started the Horizons micro-grant that first year and gave three small gifts to three sites in the Berkshires.
Our second year, we raised $1000 for water.org, continued to bake, and had the chance to ask ourselves really important questions about our mission as philanthropists. What kind of causes do we want to support? we asked ourselves. How can we vary our approach and keep our community interested and involved in what we do? That year we baked about 600 cupcakes, had our first Instagram sale, got involved with Dig Pink, learned about water.org, held an auction of gifts and favors donated by faculty, and gave our second round of micro-grants to Horizons sites. We wrote a ton of blog posts (we welcome comments!). We tweeted (follow us!). We made a Facebook page (“like us!”). By the end of the year, we accomplished so much, but were completely exhausted.
This year, our approach has been different. Instead of running headlong into fundraising, we have been careful and selective about how we are funneling our energy. We have done one cupcake sale, baking a total of 200 cupcakes. We have continued our Instagram sale and nearly doubled our profits, and we have just announced our third round of mirco-grants to the MHS community. Instead of thinking about how we will raise money for our next round of micro-loans, we are asking ourselves how can we maximize our efforts and collaborate to support our community? What are we trying to learn from this experience? Instead of breathlessly planning fundraiser after fundraiser, we are helping other groups promote their events and initiatives, we are collaborating with other groups to come together to educate our community about important issues pertaining to girls’ education. We are working in teams. We’re trying to figure out how to use our blog in meaningful, helpful ways. We ditched Twitter. Our Facebook page is still out there (you can still like us!). The nature of our work is changing, and it feels like we are growing in important ways. We are learning to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs and not fundraisers, and we are learning how to better support ongoing work at MHS.
We MIGHT make cupcakes again this year for old time’s sake. After all, what is spring at MHS without the sweet scent of buttercream in the air? But one thing is for sure: we know now that MAPS is more than cupcakes.