Organisation Necessary for Success - The Committee - The Locality
Probably the best means yet devised by women to coax religious charity from the pockets of the public is by means of church bazaars. The fact that for the last few years receipts have somewhat fallen off is merely due to the fact that the organisers have forgotten that to entice the public it is necessary to please them; in other words, to give them something new.
The organisation of these bazaars is neither light nor straightforward work. I heard a famous writer once say that the management of charity bazaars required the charm of an actor, the guile of a journalist, and the patience of the amalgamated saints.
The first difficulty is the selection of the committee of management. This, for the sake of amiable and easy working, should be as small as possible - say six. If at all possible, the interest of one or two journalists should be secured, not to work for the bazaar, but to give it press paragraphs. For the same reason, one or two influential women ought to be elected, for the sake of the friends they will bring down. They themselves, besides being exceedingly enthusiastic, give the undertaking prestige, and have the effect of earning favour and success for the bazaar promoted by the committee. It always works out best to induce the rest of the committee to take charge separately of different departments of the bazaar, for which they will be solely responsible. But it is very necessary to see that each lady understands the work she is undertaking.
The use of a room or hall can practically always be obtained free, either in London or in the country, even if the committee have to take the bold course of writing direct to beg the favour from the local magnate or hotel. In the latter case, the letter ought to be signed not only by the secretary, but by some well-known member of the committee. Very often a local firm will do the printing for nothing, if an advertisement is offered them in the form of mentioning their names in the speeches, on the programmes, etc. Handbills given away at the church doors, and, if possible, in the streets, are, of course, one of the best means of advertising a bazaar.
An original idea for a charity bazaar would be to hold it at a local skating-rink, and ask all the people to come in some dress representing an opera or well-known play. Prizes would be offered for the prettiest, cheapest, and most characteristic dresses worn by the skaters - money prizes. for preference, which by rule would have to be expended at the bazaar stalls. Prizes could also be offered to the spectators who guessed the greatest number of characters represented. The second day of the bazaar might be entirely given up to child skaters as the different operatic and theatrical characters. Two days would be sufficient, and the result would undoubtedly prove more than satisfactory. Of course, a part of the rink, or the gallery, if there were one, would have to be railed off for the ordinary stalls.
A special advantage of the rink bazaar is the fact that a great many of the ordinary patrons would probably hear of it, and come down for the sake of the novel skating.
An excellent idea for a bazaar, whether it be indoors or outdoors, is to have all the programme-sellers and tea-giris, and all other general workers not stall-holders, in the national costume of some selected country. The dress of Irish colleens, for instance, is most charming and becoming, or they could be dressed as Scotch, Italian, or Dutch peasant girls.
I mention these costumes in particular because they are simple and cheap, and can be worn either by children or girls. It will be found that pretty girl sellers in fancy dress will nearly double the ordinary bazaar receipts.
This idea can be further amplified in all departments of the bazaar.