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Funny Money

Published: 8:25PM Wednesday October 14, 2009 Source: Fair Go

Reporter: Ruwani Perera

Danielle Jones has a dream that someday soon she will play for the Black Sticks.

As a junior Black Stick hockey player - at 18 she's the second youngest in the squad - she was selected to go to the World Champs in USA in August this year.

As if fundraising wasn't already hard for women's hockey it just got tougher with SPARC - Sport and Recreation New Zealand - withdrawing funding from the sport last year. That meant for Danielle to make it to the under 21 World Cup tournament she had to come up with $8000 dollars.

Her grandparents - Julie and Bob - came up with a fundraising idea with a difference: a night out at the theatre - put on by Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre in West Auckland.

Julie and Bob have been involved with this theatre for over 10 years.

The Playhouse Theatre were running a season of a play called Funny Money - a farce about taking the money and doing a runner.

Danielle was able to sell over half the theatre - 130 seats at $25 dollars each - making a total of $3250.

But on the night of the fundraiser, what was supposed to be a gala night the Playhouse Theatre called Danielle's family saying the lead actress had lost her voice to laryngitis and wouldn't be able to perform and cancelled the show.

Playhouse Theatre have refused to refund any of the money Danielle's family paid saying the ill health of the lead actress was an unexpected situation and totally outside of their control.

They offered patrons to Danielle's do to come on another night and anyone who didn't want to see the play could get their money back.

Not many did of course - they were there for a special event for Danielle. On top of the $2600 dollars they paid upfront - 6 weeks before the show - Danielle's family also spent money on food and wine that they hoped to sell to the guests; it went to waste.

Fair Go has tried to call Playhouse Theatre's President Dorothy Chisholm on several occasions to see if they'll give Danielle's family a refund for the failed performance.

Dorothy Chisholm's adamant they've done nothing wrong - and that the theatre fulfilled its obligations.

Danielle's family have filed at the Disputes Tribunal to try to get back some of the $2600 they gave to Playhouse Theatre.

What do you think? Email us or get on the Fair Go facebook page.

Tips on how to protect your fundraiser from becoming a fiasco:

  • Get onto your fundraiser early - the greater your target, the longer you need so plan ahead.
  • Set clear financial targets - have a realistic goal based on your resources.
  • Understand your contractual obligations - if you're buying a product, service or hiring anything make sure you get a contract. Also get the key terms and conditions in writing, even if you have to write it yourself.
  • Get your fundraisers and supporters to pay upfront - it's the easiest way to avoid default payments.
  • And last but definitely not least - remember the two most important words in fundraising: "thank you".

If you need more advice about planning your fundraiser check out these websites: