JONI AVERILL

Nonprofits and travelers benefit from fundraising trips

Posted July 12, 2011, at 5:27 p.m.

You get it! Readers are responding to this newest BDN page as we hoped they would.

When Positively Maine debuted at the end of June, Nancy Ziegenbein of Bangor wrote me that it “was as if you had been reading my mind!”

As one of this area’s leading volunteer trip organizers, Nancy knows exactly what she is talking about.

For more than 17 years, she has been planning, arranging, coordinating and escorting coach trips as what she calls “fund and friend-raisers” for nonprofit organizations.

“I had been trying to figure out how to get the word out about coach trips as fundraisers and ‘friend-raisers’ for nonprofits, and about specific, current trips taking place this summer and fall,” she wrote.

“[Some organizations] don’t have a large enough mailing list to fill a coach” from among their current supporters, and small articles in the media “generated little interest from other community members to participate.”

Although those excursions include mostly day trips, Nancy has overseen weekend trips and three trips abroad.

And, most remarkably to those of us who know her well, Nancy has done this despite a handicap.

“After suffering a rare spinal stroke in 2002,” she wrote, “all my trips have been accessible, even having a coach with a lift for wheelchairs, when necessary.”

“I walk with the aid of a walker, now, and am able to get up and down the coach steps.”

But, she added, “all venues are accessible.”

The first trip Nancy arranged, in 1994, was when she was working with a committee of Symphony Women who were raising funds for theBangor Symphony Orchestra and she led a coach trip to a performance of the “Will Rogers Follies” in Boston.

Since then, Nancy has led more than 50 trips with participants from all over Maine along with visiting family members and friends “from away.”

Through her efforts, and the contributions of the travelers, funds have been raised for the BSO,Penobscot Theatre Company, Wellesley College Alumnae for Wellesley College, St. Joseph Hospital and All Souls Congregational Church.

Everyone is welcome to take the trips, Nancy explained, from school-age children to folks who are 90 and older.

And she strongly believes that ownership in the benefiting nonprofit is developed by participation in such trips.

“Coach trips are fun activities” because they free travelers from “having to make arrangements and drive, avoiding wear-and-tear on vehicle and driver” and help in “getting more for your money as part of a group.”

Interestingly, Nancy wrote that each trip featured attending events and visiting sites “that commercial trips weren’t offering,” and that “the variety of opportunities continues to expand.”

On these nonprofit ventures, most meals are included and often are “at unusual venues. Seats in theaters are excellent, usually center orchestra or center mezzanine.”

Most recently, trips have included visiting Maine theaters, helping to support Maine arts organizations and Maine restaurant owners.

Among them have been trips to see musicals at the Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, Portland Stage, Ogunquit Playhouse and The Theater at Monmouth.

Out-of-state trips have included the North Shore Music Theatre in The Round in Beverly, Mass., and a few other Boston theaters.

Boston Symphony Pops Concerts at Symphony Hall “were weekend trips with additional activities,” she explained of Massachusetts visits to the Minute Man National Historical Park in Lexington, the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy and, in Boston, the Museum of Science, the Kennedy Museum and the Boston Duck Boat Tour.

“Fall Feasts and Foliage” destinations to New Hampshire have included The Balsams in Dixfield Notch, the Mount Washington Hotel, the North Conway Scenic Train, a trip aboard the Mount Washington on Lake Winnepesaukee and a closer-to-home coach trip to the Jackman and Greenville area with dinner at The Birches Resort on Moosehead Lake.

Nancy’s trip list goes on, with Massachusetts visits to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Old Sturbridge Village Living History Museum, the Normal Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem and Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth, N.H.

Nonprofits also have benefited from trips to Canada, London and the English countryside, Paris, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

St. Joseph Hospital is the beneficiary of Nancy’s most recent fundraising trip, when nearly 50 people attended a July 10 performance of “Annie” at the Maine State Music Theatre.

On Oct 1, if you would like to join in for a worthy cause and a wonderful time, you can travel to The North Shore Music Theatre to see “The King and I” to benefit All Souls Church and its continuing community outreach program. The registration deadline for this trip, by the way, is Aug. 1.

For more information, or if you have any questions about current trips or other possible opportunities for nonprofit fundraising trips, you are most welcome to call Nancy at 947-7965.

And, to all who would enjoy supporting nonprofits in such a fashion, I extend a hearty “bon voyage!”

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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