Wow! All I can think is just how incredibly powerful the We Are HER Community is. On May 5 and 6, We Are HER had our biggest fundraiser of the year - Give Big Gallatin Valley. During Give Big, we set the goal of raising $10,000 in 24 hours, which would be enough to cover 50 percent of our annual operating budget.
At first, $10,000 seemed attainable. Last year, during Give Big, we had set out to raise $5,000 and ended up with just over $8,000. This year, we had four amazing local businesses pledge $1,300 in support: The Whitehall Ledger, Game On Comics & Cards, Genuine Ice Cream Co, and the Star Theatre - so $10,000 seemed doable. Plus, $10,000 would help us cover 100% of the expenses for our Annual Survivor Retreat in September. We hosted our first-ever retreat last year and I couldn't have been prouder of the HER Team for pulling off what had been "the safest" someone had felt in their entire life. Hearing testimonies like that made me realize how important our in-person programming is.
During Give Big, we started off strong. At the end of the day on Thursday, May 5, we were 30 percent of the way to our goal and had 20 hours to go. I wasn't nervous, though I was slightly disappointed. I had contracted COVID-19 just two days before, which meant that instead of leading the HER Team, I would need to put my complete faith in our dedicated team of volunteers, board members, and participants to run this fundraiser. This was the first year HER would participate in an in-person Give Big, and I was sad to be missing out. However, I was also feeling grateful for the opportunity to let people within the HER Family step up and lead. When I first started We Are HER, one of my board members told me I needed to delegate better. At first, delegating was hard for me - We Are HER was my baby. In time, I realized she was right. Delegating empowered others in the HER Family to lead, and it also helped me remember that HER wasn't mine. We Are HER is a community made up of incredibly talented, kind, and passionate people, and by delegating, I am allowing them to show up as their true selves in support of a community they care about. Give Big seemed like the perfect test. Had my newfound skill of delegating paid off?
Two hours before Give Big was ready to conclude, I saw that we were falling short of our goal. I was already trying to figure out ways we could make up for the loss in income. While $2,000 isn't much to many large organizations, that $2,000 can make or break a lot of programs for a small organization like We Are HER. Just as I was about to let the team know that I was proud of them despite not hitting the goal, with only 30 minutes left in the fundraiser, we did it! We hit our goal! But then, people kept donating. They kept supporting the work we do, and we ended up raising 107 percent of our goal for a total of $10,785.
An overwhelming sense of joy took over. I felt tears drop. I was crying happy tears - not because we raised our goal, but because enough people believed in us that they wanted to support our mission and because we would not have to cut corners financially in order to give survivors the best experience with our retreat and our other programs. Survivors are the kind of people who give with their whole heart and being able to host them for a week-long retreat where they get to focus on themselves and be selfish in the healthiest of ways - now that's why the tears started pouring.
So this is a huge thank you to every single person who donated to our fundraiser, to every single person who spread the word about We Are HER to their friends and family by word of mouth or on social media, and to every single person in the We Are HER Family for trusting us with your healing journey - we would be nothing without you.
I want to give an extra special thank you to the people who I called to delegate tasks to during Give Big. Without this team, we wouldn't be able to continue to create safe spaces where survivors can heal and grow this year. So thank you to Liz Pullman, Brooke Benson, Meg Sepulveda, Kristin Laird, China Reevers, and Gabby Schwartz - I am so lucky to have you in my HER Family. Thank you for putting the needs of survivors first, and thank you for being a part of this community.
To learn more about We Are HER, please visit http://www.weareher.net or contact Stevie Croistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.