BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Acoustics for Autism, an annual fundraising event run by the nonprofit organization Project iAm in uptown Maumee, is almost ready for the crowds.
Volunteers are working hard preparing for the eight-stage Sunday, March 6 event. It is a completely free music fest, funded by sponsors and donations and run entirely by volunteers.
“We are a 100-percent volunteer organization,” director of fundraising Scott Hayes said. “Having no overhead – we don’t have a staff, we don’t have an office – the money goes right where it’s needed.”
Volunteers help set up, run and take down the event. A volunteer form is located on the website acousticsforautism.com under the Current Event tab.
“We will take your time and your talent,” Hayes said. “We’re always looking for people at the end of the night. If we have any night owls out there, we tend to never have enough of them.”
Interested volunteers can select the shifts that best work for them on the volunteer form on the website. Volunteering is not the only way to help out with the event, though.
“There’s plenty of opportunities for you to help us out – donating items, volunteering, participating in the silent auction. There are raffles and at least one of them will be online,” Hayes said.
Donated items will be used in the silent auction, raffles and “the vault.”
“At the end, we have this popular event called ‘the vault.’ If we don’t find a nice package to put something in, or we already have everything packaged for the silent auction, we’ll put those in the vault,” Hayes said. “You could get up to tens of thousands of dollars in gift cards or something in the vault. You can buy a key and if your key unlocks the vault, you get everything in the vault.”
Items for the silent auction are typically put together creating themed packages. Sporting event tickets and memorabilia may be grouped together while concert tickets and musical instruments will go in another package.
“It’s really unlimited what you can donate,” Hayes said. “We are always asking for things like a vacation timeshare you’re not going to use for a week. We’ll turn that into scholarship money and it will help people right here in Northwest Ohio.”
The donation form is also located under the Current Event tab on the website acousticsforautism.com. Those who donate items can fill out the form and the organization will send back a tax-deductible receipt upon acceptance of the donation form. To ensure all donations can be placed into the silent auctions and raffles, items will be accepted until Monday, February 28.
Monetary donations can also be made to the organization. A Donate button is located on the website and people may also donate by texting GIVEAFA to 44321.
Participating in the silent auction and raffles can also support the organization. The silent auction will go live on the website the week before the event. While at the event, those who have placed bids can get notifications on their phones letting them know when they have been outbid. They will also be able to go to the silent auction in person.
Of the various raffles taking place, at least one will be on the website. Also on the website will be live streams of at least three of the stages.
“We make this accessible to everybody. That’s one of the very important things that we have always stood by. We will not charge for it,” Hayes said.
Those who cannot attend the event in person may participate online and still help support the cause. Those who want to attend the event but are concerned about the crowds or being indoors can enjoy the open space on Conant Street.
“One of the reasons we opened up Conant Street was it works out as nice overflow area for people that might have concerns about being in the tent and being close to people, but still want to participate and be at the event,” Hayes said.
Attendees and volunteers are not the only ones who support the event.
“We can’t pull off the event without the help of our sponsors,” Hayes said. “We have presenting sponsors, stage sponsors and general sponsors. They’re very important.”
The sponsors include local stores, restaurants and more. They are all listed on the website.
The organization works hard along with the help of its sponsors to keep the cost of the event as low as possible, Hayes said. The money Acoustics for Autism raises can then go directly to the Project iAm children and their scholarships.
“The scholarship fund goes toward out-of-pocket expenses for treating autism spectrum disorder,” Hayes said. “If we can help out families that really found something that works but just isn’t covered, it’s costing them, we will help out with that. All the money goes to that.”
For further information on how to support the event or to find a form, those interested can visit acousticsforautism.com.