Fundraising can be a daunting task. When I started a fundraising campaign to raise funds for the construction of the Suubi Health Center, I did not realize how overwhelming the process would be. With my background in public health, and my relentless pursuit for social justice, I do my work with fervor and dedication. I vividly remember my first mass email that I sent out to my network of family, friends, and colleagues to share my story about the exciting health project that I had embarked on. I was truly excited to share my story but also nervous – there is something nerve-wrecking about making yourself vulnerable and sharing your story with hundreds of people with a click of a cursor on your computer. When I pressed the send button, I felt ready to raise the necessary funds for this health center that will provide essential maternal and general healthcare services in the community of Budondo.
I frequently checked my fundraising page to see the progress and I was surprised to see support from people I had not seen or spoken to in years. As some donations trickled through, I felt even more encouraged and inspired to spread the word about the Suubi Center. After about two weeks though, there were hardly any donations coming in. As I sent newsletters, and attended meetings and events, there was silence. No response to emails. No donations.
When you are putting in the hard work, it can be disappointing sometimes. Then suddenly, you receive a $1,000 donation from an anonymous donor, and you are crying because the joy is uncontainable. I have experienced this up and down journey in fundraising for Suubi, and I would love to share some lessons that I have learned along the way:
- Realize that you are sharing an opportunity and you are simply inviting others to join you to make a difference and transform lives. That means you should understand that some people for different reasons may choose to accept or not to accept your invitation. And that’s okay.
- Remember to remind your network about the progress because many of them just need to be reminded anyway. Use Facebook posts, email newsletters, tweets, Google plus, or blogs.
- Engage your friends in ways that they feel comfortable to support you. As a recent college graduate, I don’t have much money and the same goes for most of my friends who are still in school. Nonetheless, many of them have been supportive by volunteering to help me run an event or another online campaign etc.
- Share your story with a stranger you meet on a plane or the train or anywhere you meet people that you can talk to. I have received support from people I barely know, and I have cried tears of joy as numerous anonymous donors have given to support the Suubi Center.
- Know that the fundraising journey has happy days and the not-so-happy days. However, that is the essence of what keeps me pushing on because together with others, we are daring to do something bigger than ourselves – the journey may not be easy and straight but the ultimate pay-off will be the countless mothers and children who will walk through the doors of the Suubi Center whose construction was enabled by people from all corners of the world!
Latifah is fundraising to help build Suubi Center in Budondo, Luuka district. She will be sharing her progress and her learning process here every Tuesday and hopes that it will be helpful for other Ugandan women who are running-or thinking about running- fundraiser campaigns.
You can donate to her campaign here: http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/helping-rural-mothers-regain-their-dignity-and-health-/148917