“When humor goes, there goes civilization,” Erma Bombeck famously wrote.
Here’s your chance to make a gift to keep the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop affordable for writers — *and* save civilization. It’s no secret that we need laughter today more than ever.
And here’s the kicker: For every dollar raised Nov. 4 through Dec. 5 an anonymous donor will match it, up to $10,000.
That means with the help of Erma champions, we can raise $20,000 or more for the workshop’s endowment, which helps fund national-caliber programming and new initiatives, such as Laugh Out Loud, a humor anthology published in 2018. Less than half of our operating costs are covered by registration fees.
While the workshop typically promotes an annual year-end fundraising drive, this effort has the potential to reach more supporters in a fun, innovative way. It’s one of five interactive crowdfunding campaigns that will run for a month on the University of Dayton’s social media platform called “Flyer Funder.” To make a gift, click here.
Launched in 2000 by the University of Dayton’s Alumni Association, the biennial workshop is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and attracts 350 writers from across the nation as well as UD faculty, staff and students. It’s so popular that it sells out within hours.
“We’re inviting writers — and those who love them — to support Erma’s legacy of laughter and the dreams of writers,” said Teri Rizvi, founder and director of Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. “Through the workshop, we inspire writers to find their authentic voice, and we work to cultivate new generations of writers who will see the world through the lens of humor and humanity — just as Erma did.”
Here’s how the Erma community can support what The Writer magazine calls “THE conference for humor writers:”
1. Become a donor by making an online donation of any size. All donations are tax-deductible, and 100 percent of your gift goes directly to the workshop’s endowment fund.
2. Make a gift and then sign up to become an advocate to help spread the word and encourage others to join in. There are three ways to do this — share the campaign via email and on social media; offer a matching donation or a challenge (e.g., you could agree to donate $10 for every donor who gives to the campaign on a certain day, up to $100); or create a personal plea through a short video on your smart phone.
3. Pay it forward on “Giving Tuesday” on Dec. 3 by making a gift and creating an “UnSelfie” for our Facebook album. Check out our Facebook albums of “Erma Champions” from 2016, 2017 and 2018 — and get to work making your inspiring and imaginative #UNselfie.
Here are step-by-step instructions for creating your sign:
• Download blank UNselfie. Share how you are giving back or why you give on the UNselfie sign.
• Declare (with enthusiasm), “I’m saving civilization!” Hold up the #UNselfie sign and take your selfless selfie with your smart phone.
• On Dec. 3, share your #UNselfie on social media and encourage your friends to give. Use these hashtags: #ErmaChampions #GivingTuesday
• Or make it easy on yourself and download one of these Erma #UNselfie signs to use at your photo shoot: You Can Write UNselfie, It Takes A Lot of Courage UNselfie or When Humor Goes, There Goes Civilization UNselfie.
We plan to compile a Facebook album, so please send your #UNselfie to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“To keep the workshop affordable for writers, we need to continue to boost the endowment,” Rizvi said. “The size of the gift doesn’t matter. We’d love to see broad support from those who love the workshop and believe in its future.”
The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop will celebrate two decades of supporting writers with the launch of the April 2-4, 2020, workshop. Registration opens at noon (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 12.