Saint Demetrios: Greek festival

Exhibited by
Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now.
June 17, 2013
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Public / society benefit
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
September, 2011

SOFII’s view

It’s amazing how often the simplest methods are the most successful. This request for money to go towards the preparation of the festival has all the ingredients for fundraising success, as well as delicious food, and there wasn’t a fundraising ‘expert’ in sight. Or, maybe there was.

Creator / originator

St Demetrios Greek festival.

Summary / objectives

To raise enough money to provide the wide range of activities and delicious food available at the annual Greek festival. Parishioners can also donate non-monetary items if they prefer.


For 50 years the Greek Orthodox church of St Demetrios has organised a three-day Greek festival and it is now one of the highlights of Seattle life. As well as sit-down dining, there are coffee shops, a la carte food, traditional Greek dancing and you can even shop until you, well, have to sit down for a pastry. Each year a single sheet of paper is included in the church newsletter, which lists everything needed for the festival, mostly food, and what the costs will be. The list makes it clear that financial donations are preferred, but that the organisers will accept ingredients or other items should the donor wish to give these instead. The list ranges from expensive (500 gallons of olive oil for $5,500) to affordable (10,000 plastic spoons for $70). It has some incredibly huge quantities (3,000 pounds of sugar for $1,200, 1,600 pounds of kalamari for $3,200 and a whole array of just plain mouth-watering: 1,000 pounds of feta cheese for $2,290, 840 pounds of kalamata olives for $2,800, 10 lambs for $2,000.

Special characteristics

A huge variety of traditional Greek cooking, dancing, a bookstore, jewellery shop, Greek imports, clothing boutique and thrift shop.


This is powerful fundraising because it is specific. It’s not just encouraging people to attend the festival. It’s not trying to make the philosophical case for the festival. It’s not working to put the festival into a larger context. It’s just giving people a chance to do something specific. Give $300 and you can walk around the festival thinking: that tzatziki on your gyros, I supplied that. This isn't the work of a fundraising expert. Just someone close to the cause who knows what the festival requires and needs to get the job done.