I need help.
I can’t think of another way in putting this out there but I will.
Fundraising and talking is something I have feared for a long time. I hate asking for money and public speaking is something I can’t do at all. Marketing, well, I couldn’t market or sell you a lemon torte, though if enticed, I would buy one.
I’m a volunteer and a board member for our local American Diabetes Association chapter here in Des Moines. The past two years have been, to be politcally correct, tough. We were the only chapter in America that was in the red last year. We’ve struggled to get new volunteers, retain long time supporters, and be out front in the community.
It’s not a very nice distinction to have.
In January, we brought in a new executive director to help us assess the health of our organization. I’m not afraid to say that we have an uphill climb. No one knows who we are, what we do, and if we try to go out in the community, no one has interest in diabetes, in general, other than to say that their “uncle/grandfather/mom” had and died from diabetes, but never about what they learned about it.
I hate asking for help, but I have to ask because every non-profit and charitable organization is getting support in Des Moines, financially and non-financially, KCCI will lend their name to every cause, celebrities love riding the coattails of organizations, and I feel like the only person in the world who wants to promote ADA, but I don’t know where to start.
Why am I supporting the ADA? Besides being a board member (the youngest) and lending my time as a volunteer (health fairs, office work, working events), I am a Person with Diabetes (PWD). For the record, a Type 2 diabetic. I have a full time job in managing how my body functions. How much insulin do I need to take (Lantus or Humulog), is my glucose level okay for me to indulge in a salad, do my feet look swollen or feel numb, and on and on.
I believe in the mission of the ADA. It’s not just raising money to find a cure, as many people assume non-profit organizations only do. The ADA have support groups, education programs, list of references to specialists, and materials that are as easy as a click of the mouse or a phone call away. Yeah, we want to end diabetes, but for those who have it, like me, it’s not a death sentence. Look at Patti LaBelle, Joe Frazier, Sonia Sotomayor, and Anne Rice. They didn’t stop living when they were diagnosed with diabetes. I haven’t stop either.
How do I help ADA “re-introduce” ourselves to the community?