I have mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, “My Biggest Secret,” that one of my least favourite parts of my job as Resource Manager of LDAWE is the fundraising portion of the job. Don’t get me wrong… I love it when people give us money, donate in-kind items, or attend fundraising events. What I don’t like is having to ask people to do it. I would rather write a grant proposal or negotiate a service contract instead of asking people or companies for donations. Despite my hesitations, I of course do ask people for donations (I do want to keep my job, after all).
However, despite our best efforts, funds raised through donations and fundraising comprise a very small portion of our overall annual revenue (4.4%). I often ask myself why this is the case when learning disabilities and ADHD affect 10% of the population. I have come up with the following thoughts:
- The majority of the clients we serve are low-income. Many are in receipt of Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, the National Child Benefit, etc… While they may greatly appreciate the service we provide, they are not in a position to make a donation to the Association.
- Learning disabilities and ADHD are not sexy or cute. We don’t get to put pictures of cute little puppies, kittens, or babies on our marketing material.
- Learning disabilities and ADHD are invisible. Some people still try to argue that they don’t exist, and that the person is just lazy or had bad teachers/parents. To them, I say they should sit in on one of our programs… they’d realize within the first 5 minutes that learning disabilities and ADHD do exist.
- Sadly, there is still a stigma around having a disability. This means that we often can’t get permission to use pictures/videos of our actual program participants or clients to show what happens in our programs or to share our success stories/testimonials. This also means that we haven’t been able to find any of the highly successful Windsorites (we know many of you are out there!) that are willing to disclose their learning disability or ADHD and potentially become a champion for our cause.
Many of you probably heard that Tuesday, December 3, 2013, was the first annual Giving Tuesday in Canada. Where Black Friday and Cyber Monday are about getting deals, Giving Tuesday is about giving back to your community. This movement celebrates giving and encourages more, better, and smarter giving and volunteering during the giving season. We would love it if you would consider making a donation to help people with learning disabilities and ADHD in Windsor – Essex reach their full potential. Donations can be made safely and securely online, through CanadaHelps.
Finally, I would like to thank our core staff members and volunteers who attend our fundraising events and make donations whenever you can. I know it’s not easy going back to your same family members and friends ask them to pledge you for the annual walk-a-thon or to buy tickets for a fundraising event. Please know that your efforts are greatly appreciated by not only myself, but all of our clients and program participants. Thank you, thank you, thank you!