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Good, you came to the right place!Hi, my name is Chantal Sarkisian and I am a new mom who had a sweet baby boy named Victor in Feb 2013. Join me on this blog to follow my new mommy journey while I am on my maternity leave. I'll ramble quickly about all the random thoughts that go through my head when I am feeding in the middle of the night, or trying to put my son to sleep. I'll also blog about my favourite things, give you helpful tools, and explore activities to do (mostly in the Ottawa region) with kids and maybe some product reviews too! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why fundraising for women's health is hard

You're probably thinking that I am crazy for making such a bold statement, but yes, it is extremely hard to fundraise for women's health! I have been working for a women's health organization for five years now, and specifically fundraising for 3 years for the Canadian Foundation for Women's Health, a national charity that raises money for research in women's sexual and reproductive health. Although one might think that this is an easy job, trust me when I tell you fundraising here comes with its challenges.

Successful fundraising equation
For fundraising to work, you must use this simple equation:

Cause/Problem + Passion = Support

In this equation "cause" is the reason you are raising funds for, the "Passion" is the person/business that is either affected by your cause or has a solution for the cause and "Support" is either monetary or in-kind.

What's Hindering the Support
Here are the factors that make it difficult to fundraise for women's health:

  • "Isn't breast cancer women's health?", "I already support breast cancer", "I'm wearing pink today"
  • Women's health is such a broad topic, specifically I am referring to women's sexual and reproductive health, the rest of our health is pretty much the same as men.
  • Research that is needed for such things as "Pregnancy" don't come with a medication that can "cure" it. Therefore fundraising for it is less obvious. In fact, because we limit the use of medication during pregnancy, this makes it even more difficult.
  • Remember when we talked about Passion, well in this case it's actually too broad of a spectrum. One can argue that Women's Health affects every single person on this planet. Why? Because we all came from our mother's womb. 
  • Anyone that has taken a marketing class knows that you can't just advertise to "everyone" you need a target market. Well, in this case, if we narrow it down, one of our target audience is new moms raising a family on her maternity leave budget and that are struggling to make it by, or a young family that is spending every last dime on fertility treatments. Wow, we should be able to raise tons for research this way.
  • Back to the Cause, what's so terrible about "Women's Health" that we need to raise money for? Well, obviously if you are asking yourself this question you have no clue what's either coming to you or you are a man. Women go through so many changes during different stages in their lives. As soon as a woman hits puberty, she is destined to encounter a plethora of unique "challenges' with her body. She will become a mother, or perhaps suffer infertility. She may have specific diseases such as Endometriosis, Fibroids or Vulvodynia. And later in life she may have uncontrollable symptoms of menopause and suffer from problems like incontinence. Dare I also mention that throughout this entire time a woman will be dodging the "C" word and try to protect all her organs; from het skin, to her ovaries, to her cervix and breasts.

Fashion, Heels and Cosmetics are NOT related to Women's Health
Why don't you just throw pink cocktail party and a fashion show to raise money for women's health? Contradictory to popular belief, high heels, fashion and cosmetics are not really related to women's health. In fact, many of these things are ironically bad for women. Heels destroy your feet, our fashion world makes it beautiful to have an eating disorder and cosmetics have made us more shallow, hate our natural selves, question our beauty and have been linked to cancer. Yes, women like these things (and trust me, so do I!). But this is a way to attract women and make fundraising "trendy". I am not sure how much the participants are doing it for the "Passion".

Fundraising is a difficult, yet rewarding job. When you have managed to convince someone that they should support you, because they already believe in your cause, you can rest assure knowing that you have instilled passion in one person. The nice thing about passion is that it is highly contagious!

The intention of my post is not for the readers to feel sorry for me and give to the charity that I represent, but more for you to find a cause and match it with your passion.

Good luck!

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