By Merideth Chaffin
10) Donate - Thanks, I could have figured that out myself.
This should be obvious, but it bears stating. Running CMA is a bit like running a business in a college town. Business is great while class is in session (the months leading up to Samhain and Beltane), but during summer and winter break, the money dries up. If your business has not earned enough during the semesters, you cut hours and services until September comes. Donating on a semi-regular basis, especially in between festivals, helps CMA build up savings, improve the land, maintain a budget and deal with emergencies more easily. Talk to your lead reps, mail in a check or sign up for Gary's direct withdrawal program. Remember, every bit helps and small amounts add up quickly over time. Setting aside just $1 a day comes up to $365 at the end of the year. Just think what we could do if even half of our membership did that.
9) Workends - They're like mini-festivals with extra work. And cows.
What's that, you say? You don't have a $1 a day? You're in between jobs, on hard times, a starving college kid, living on ramen? You don't have enough to donate? Hey, that's ok. We've all been there. Just remember, you don't have to be Merlin Moneybags to support the land. Come to a workend some weekend. It's a lot of fun: when else can you camp on the land for free, enjoy a weekend getting back to nature, socialize with likeminded souls and support your favorite piece of land, all while working your butt off? You don't have to have special skills or tools (though that helps). A strong back or extra pair of hands go a long way. The satisfaction of seeing the difference you made with your own hands will usually last longer than your sunburn.
8) Prioritize - Feel the burn!
There are times when things are tight, when every penny counts and that jar of peanut butter is the only thing between you and starvation. More often, there are times when things are merely a little snug. You may think you can't afford to donate, but before you close your wallet, stop and think about this. How many times a month do you go out to eat instead of making a home cooked meal? How many fancy cups of coffee do you buy? Smokers, how many packs of cigarettes do you smoke each week? I don't know about you, but my answer to all three is: "probably too many". Maybe we should think about what we would rather have: a triple vanilla latte or the land payment, a nice steak or working flushies? Maybe you could cut back, one pack, one meal, one cup and bring your savings to the next festival. CMA will thank you (not to mention your lungs and waistline).
7) Change it up - Alms, alms for the poor.
If you’re like me, you probably have stashes of pennies and dimes lurking in odd corners. I usually have a little in my pocket, a little in the car ashtray, a little in my bag, a little here, a little there. As I said before, every little bit helps. A quarter a day comes out to $92 a year. Try putting a jar on your dresser. At the end of your day, drop your loose change in the jar. Come October and April, bring your jar and give the Bridge Trolls a workout!
6) Voting - It’s not just for political news junkies!
So, you think Executive Director A is a skinflint and won’t shell out for your favorite band or extra portapotties? Executive Director B doesn’t know the meaning of the word budget? Whatever your opinion may be, you need to remember that you have the ability to vote, and not just with your dollars. At the last Samhain election, one third of the membership voted. That’s better than our country, but do we really want to compare ourselves to that standard? Do you think CMA would be best served by bringing in big name bands and authors to attract more members? Then vote for the candidates that agree with you. Do you think CMA is better off economizing until the land is paid or the festival attendance tops 1000 again? Make your voice heard.
5) Spread the Word - The word of the day is...well, you know.
Tell a friend about CMA. Tell all your friends about CMA! Tell your coven how much fun you had at Revel fire last Beltane, how much you enjoyed main ritual, how you learned new drum beats or chants or mead recipes. Warn them about the politics if you think it’s necessary, but remember to tell them about all the joy you experienced at Spirit Haven. For every friend you convince to come to Samhain, that’s $75 for CMA. If they come back for Beltane, that’s $125. If they bring a spouse, double that figure. Hopefully, they’ll tell a friend, who will tell a friend, who will tell...well, you get the idea.
4) Fundraiser, fundraiser, fundraiser - More than just a bake sale.
So you have no money to donate, no way to get to a workend, no friends to bring to festival? Never fear, fundraisers are here! People are still talking about San Antonio’s fundraising extravaganza (or at least I am). Talk to your area reps about organizing an event. Raffles have a tried and true success rate. You could organize a concert like San Antonio or a hafla or a show. Pagan packrats - get together with other members and throw a community garage sale; you can donate the proceeds and make room for those new sarongs and statues. Get your creative juices flowing and see what ideas you can dream up.
3) Volunteering - Stop me before I volunteer again!
What, you’ve got no money, no time, no transport, you’re the only Pagan in a 200 mile radius and you don’t know what to do? Don’t fear, volunteer! Are you a member of a fledgling band? Talk to the Entertainment Lead about doing a show. Are you a budding Shakespeare? Join the likes of Hooligan Will and...um...Hooligan Will and write a play, take the stage and entertain the crowd. Do you have plumbing skills to rival Mario? Talk to the Land Crew about working on the bathhouse or improving the flushies. Everyone has a skill or talent that could be put to good use with a little creative thought. It may not make money for CMA, but it could potentially save a bundle.
2) Trash for Cash - Leave No Trace is not a myth! I’ve seen it!
Last Samhain, we filled three 30 yard dumpsters. That is 90 yards of trash, folks. 90 yards! At $660 per dumpster, that’s some expensive garbage. Think about it: $660 is over 10% of the land payment. The 2 biggest expenses of a festival are trash and portapotties. Since we can’t be expected to hold it for 4 days, we need to seriously reevaluate are actions when it comes to waste. We need to realize that every piece of trash we bring on the land has to be taken off, and that costs CMA money. Try taking a few steps to reduce that cost. Start small: unpack your new tent, extra batteries, cases of water at home instead of on the land; take a bag of trash with you each time you leave the land; use reusable plates instead of paper, or burn your paper plates afterwards; crush your cans and take them home for recycling. It adds up. Together, we can make "Leave no trace" more than a half-hearted mantra. If those darn, dirty hippies at Burning Man can do it, so can we!
And for gods’ sakes, pick up after yourself! Litter at a festival is an insult to our land and a burden on our work crews. If you clean up after yourself, then Land Crew can spend more time on what they ought to be doing: getting rid of those bloody mesquite trees.
1) Don’t Sue CMA - Just kidding!
But seriously, people. The number one killer of a community is excess drama. During the last month, how many “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” emails have you seen? How many more don’t bother with a last volley, but quietly decline to renew their membership after each political storm? How does our reputation in the greater Pagan community draw new members? If we can’t play nice for more than a few months at a time, we will never survive. CMA celebrated its 25th birthday not long ago. If we’re going to see 50, we need to grow up. Each of us needs to take a long, hard look at ourselves and our actions. Before you open your mouth or fire off that email, ask yourself if your words are going to help the situation or make things worse. Are you offering a solution or stirring the pot? Are you giving information or spreading rumor? Examine your motivations and your words. Remember, words have power.
The easiest way to support CMA is to cut the drama: check your ego at the gate, keep the "spirited debates" on the list civil and try to work out your personal problems amongst yourselves before calling everyone you know, the Grievance Committee or your lawyer.