Good lord, what a dilemma. People just keep giving you money when you have all you ever asked for.
Such is the "terrible situation" facing the organisers of the MRI appeal.
Launching the appeal with an ambitious target of $2.7 million only a year ago, the cause hit such a chord with the community that by April the target was revised upwards to $2.8 million, the extra $100,000 tagged for anaesthetic equipment.
But even as it was emphasising a final push and not wanting to count chickens, there must have been some thought within the fundraising committee about when to call enough.
"Do we say we've reached the target before we actually have?"
"Do we simply stop accepting money after the target has been reached?"
That sort of thing.
But whatever the discussions might have been, by the time the announcement came that the $2.8m had been reached, there was actually $3m pledged. And it's still coming.
This is not to be critical of the appeal committee. Most often when you run a telethon-type pledging campaign you'd budget on a certain number of donors not honouring their pledges. Who would have thought that donors instead would actually pay more than they pledged.
What are you going to do? Insist on the lower amount?
Likewise when cheques keep walking in the door after you've tried to shut it. And some have proved pretty determined to slide their cheques through the crack, despite being told the pot's full. And you wouldn't want to appear ungrateful.
All of which leaves the MRI committee in a slightly awkward position. Awkward because it knows it is but one project in need and it has attracted a large slice of the community's goodwill, and awkward because it can't give the money back and neither can it spend it. At least not yet.
So it's probably doing the only thing it can ... retaining a healthy bank balance to cover maintenance of the scanner, and perhaps even having a nest egg to put towards a new scanner in 10 years.
A possible alternative might have been the Aoraki Foundation, launched last August to build a capital fund with the interest being used on worthy local causes, including perhaps a new MRI scanner in 10 years.
But that doesn't get around the problem of people donating specifically to this MRI cause.
So, a bit awkward, but few options. If someone could just keep a close eye on the $300,000 though, in case someone from Wellington starts poking around.
Pop it under a pillow perhaps.
- © Fairfax NZ News