I hemmed and hawed a bit before writing these posts. I don’t want to paint myself as some super victim. But I struggled a lot. And I feel like sharing some of that struggle with you.
I haven’t done a big fundraising project in a long time. When I was younger (elementary school young), I did those walk-a-thons… Basically you just sent out letters to your family, pediatrician, and parents’ co-workers; then you called it a day.
I have a pretty freakishly huge extended family. So, if everybody gave $20 – bam, I was a millionaire. (That may be an exaggeration.)
But I haven’t done any fundraising projects in the recent past (other than this one), and I certainly haven’t done any for such a hot button issue.
Intellectually, I knew it was a hot button issue. But I didn’t realize how hot button, until I started running for it!
I don’t want to compare equality to other causes, and pretend like I’m judge and jury of what’s worthy of support. But I will share a little story from the year.
I really wanted to run Rock ‘n’ Roll USA (D.C.). When I went to sign up, the bibs were sold out! But, you could still get in if you ran with a charity.
I picked the one with the lowest minimum. I flat out paid for the bib, and was done. I wanted all big public asks to go toward my Broadway Impact page. I didn’t mention this other charity on social media or to my friends.
I wrote literally one sad, little barely-ask email to my dad, explaining “Hey, this charity sold me a bib for a race I really wanted to do. I’m all paid up, so I’m not obligated to raise anything else. But since they did me a solid, it might be nice if I could get them a little extra money. If you happen to know anybody who’d like to contribute, here’s the link.”
He forwarded that email to a few friends (without making the wording of that ask any better), and pew, pew, pew (pitched laser-gun sounds); I had money.
That charity’s mission is to help older abandoned kids get a permanent home. Older kids are often ignored. It’s good that someone’s looking out for them. I’m not saying the charity doesn’t deserve money.
But the difference between the windfall of easy money for a kids charity, and the dollops of money that came in one drop at a time for equality, was astonishing to me.
I don’t know how to emphasize this enough – I don’t wish a poor performance on anyone’s fundraising page. I don’t think I’m more special than everybody else. I think there are plenty of great causes.
It was just painful to see everyone else succeeding as I failed. And it was even more excruciating to hear I did everything “right.”
I asked for advice from big fundraisers, and I took all that advice. I made videos. I got someone with a huge twitter following to tweet out my cause. And on and on and on. Granted, I was new to this. Not everything was perfect.
But I felt like I was often banging my head against a wall. That was hard. Really, really hard. I’ll totally admit that I crawled into the fetal position and cried about this on more than a few nights in December. (And other months. Let’s get real.)
I really appreciate everyone who gave. I also appreciate everyone who was a cheerleader, even if they couldn’t give monetarily.
Please, don’t think I’m ungrateful. But this struggle was just… I dunno. Ugh.
I guess I just wanted to share that I thought choosing this issue would make fundraising slightly harder. But I was so wrong. There was no “slightly” about it.
Note about this video: I’ve been trying to put in a few more videos during fundraising week. I tried to tape myself talking about the stuff from today’s post and yesterday’s. I then “edited” it down to 8(!) minutes. That was still far too long and crazy. So, I just took a minute, 30 seconds of thoughts.
I waffled over whether to post it. I don’t want to be just another person getting emotional into a camera on the internet. But I am, just ’cause, I dunno… I guess I’m just another one of those people getting emotional into a camera on the internet.
(There are a bunch of crazy random cuts, ’cause you know, I was rambling. And tried to make it at least somewhat coherent… The end. See you tomorrow, hopefully!)