As event planners, fundraising and development leaders in the nonprofit world, TWG understands the joys and frustrations of trying to mobilize resources for an organization. Just as businesses sell their product, nonprofits must “sell” their cause.
However, it’s not always that simple. We are not selling a product in a transactional sense.
It goes much deeper than that. We help individuals who have a passion, interest and desire to support an organization address those passions. We make them feel and see that their contributions are making a difference in the lives of people they want to help.
Given this, we applaud those who step out of their comfort zone and stake their own claim in the tough world of fundraising. This includes Melinda Parrish, a member of the Susan G. Komen Young Professionals Committee for Honoring the Promise
Melinda took some time to speak with TWG about her first experience in rallying more than 70 young professionals in support of finding a cure for cancer.
“I’m surprised how easy it was to get everyone on board… As a young D.C. professional with a set of creative skills, I wanted to [produce] something positive, beyond the benefit of my own aesthetic pleasure.”
Thus, “Create a Cure” was born. According to their blogspot, “Create a Cure” is a pop-up gallery designed to bring together creative people in support of funding cancer research. Essentially, local D.C. artists submit original pieces to be displayed in a “Create a Cure” show. Event attendees bid on and buy the pieces, with 100% of the proceeds going to support cancer research.
When asked about her past event planning experience, Melinda answers simply, “Does planning a birthday party count?”
Counts in our book!
Melinda was quick to point out that as a newbie, it’s important to be flexible, open to learning, and to surround yourself with a great support staff. (Shout out to team members Felicia Woodward and Marc Marco Marcos and special thanks to Michael Clements of ArtJamz for the much needed easels!)
“College Garage” by Katy Hirschfeld. Just one of the MANY pieces you can bid on at www.createacure.blogspot.com
As professional fundraisers, we often say that we’re in the most difficult part of sales. We’re selling a promise, a hope and an organization as a whole. We couldn’t help but ask, “As a new fundraiser how did you market your product, ‘Create a Cure,’ and build [organic] support?”
“Like most people, I have a personal story, my grandmother’s story of surviving cancer, and her using artistic skills as a therapeutic outlet. Personal narratives are a powerful thing…being vulnerable gives others an opportunity to do something positive with something that is so negative,” says Melinda.
Where does Melinda see “Create a Cure” one year from now?
“Ideally, we want to do several events over the course of the year and give local artists the opportunity to be seen, create an online store and eventually build out a space where you can create and showcase for cause.”
So what is the best piece of advice Melinda can give to a young professional, with a budding career looking to start up their own fundraising endeavor?
“Don’t be afraid. Be courageous. Get out there and plan it. It’s a lot less scary then it seems.”
Honoring the Promise, held on Friday, September 28, 2012 at the Kennedy Center, will bring together the heroes of the breast cancer movement for a celebratory evening of inspiration and world-class entertainment. On this special night, Susan G. Komen will honor those on the frontlines of the breast cancer fight with special awards of distinction in Medical and Scientific Research, Community, Global Leadership and Lifetime Achievement.
Because Washington, D.C. has the highest mortality rates for breast cancer, proceeds from Honoring the Promise will be used to fund cutting edge research efforts and community health programs in the national capital area.
For more information on Susan G. Komen’s Honoring the Promise Gala please visit: www.komen.org/HonoringThePromise
For more information on “Create a Cure” visit: http://createacure.blogspot.com/