I want to personally thank every single one of you who contributed to our “Stronger Together” Winter Fund Drive. I look forward to extending that thank you in a more personal way than in an editorial in the paper, but if you’re reading this and you donated — this is a shout out to YOU!
We raised $192K of our $267K goal, and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together.
Yes, we have a gap to close, but I have a feeling there are folks out there who didn’t get a chance to donate before Dec. 31 who — at this very moment — are eyeing that funny little black and white Minecraft-esque square below, the tiny mobile internet machines in their pockets shivering with anticipation to GET IN ON THIS ACTION.
Why? Because we’re in this together, and being in it together feels really good!
You can get an instant happy-chemical boost to the system that will immediately make your day better, while also making hundreds of your fellow community members’ lives better (that’s why it feels so good!).
I used to think that fundraising was just asking people to give away their money without getting anything in return; that nonprofit donors — myself included — were walking ATMs, albeit with a soul; and that the job of fundraisers was to figure out the right combination to unlock that cash money and make a withdrawal.
And you know what? I was fine with that … until it came time for me to ask someone else for money. Appealing to another for a cause I cared about, either personally or in a professional capacity, made me feel sleazy, like I was trying to sell someone a shitty product they probably didn’t want and definitely didn’t need.
I’d experience anxiety (even shame!). I’d fumble around trying to find the right words to convince someone to give up their hard-earned money for this thing that was important to me.
But that’s not what I was doing at all. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Friends, I finally leveled up as a longtime, leadership-level nonprofit career woman last year, and it was the moment someone said something to me that I already knew to be true, both logically and from my own experience:
People who donate money to a cause don’t get “nothing” in return. It would be ok if we did, but that doesn’t matter, because that’s not how it works. When I ask you to contribute to Real Change today, I’m not asking for a personal favor. I’m not even asking you to give me money for someone else. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m asking you for your money — shamelessly! — but what I’m really doing is making you an offer.
I’m giving you the opportunity to be a part of the solution to some of the biggest challenges we face as a cooperative society. I’m asking you to collaborate with me on something that matters to both of us, and, as it happens, to many other people.
I’m inviting you to join Team Real Change and do something we believe makes the world a better place and our community stronger, healthier and happier.
And you feel good about saying “Yes!” because you believe that too.
Belief is a powerful force, but we can do even better than belief around here. We see the positive impact our programs have on people on a daily basis, and that’s not hyperbole. Every single day, we see the difference we’re making in the lives of very real people. People who, I might add, not only appreciate being cared for by their community but who give back, just like you do!
“They show me love; I show the next person love …” Remember the words of Real Change Vendor Steve Gunn? A community is healthy and strong only when we all contribute to its well-being.
In a world where it feels like so many things we do are insignificant, donating to Real Change actually does effect real, transformative change. And that’s only possible because of your support. The relationships between nonprofit organizations and their communities are symbiotic, and that’s what powers the change-making engines that move us forward — together.
And because we’re stronger together, your participation as an individual, whether you give at the $10 or the $1,000 level, makes a substantial difference. Indeed, it makes all the difference.
So thank you for donating in the past, for donating now and for continuing to support Real Change in the future.
This year, 2024, marks 30 years of making Real Change in Seattle. It exists because you and people like you have supported it for three eventful decades. It persists — despite untold challenges along the way — because this community continues to give it the strength to endure.
And we’ll keep paying it forward, for as long as there is a need for Real Change.
And so I ask you: Will you help us close the gap and reach our winter fundraising goal? We have $75K to go, and I know we can get there — but we can only do it with your help. Let’s start 2024, a monumental year for Real Change, off right.
Read more of the Jan. 17–24, 2024 issue.