Advocacy 101 is a guest series written by some of our most innovative fundraisers! Today’s post was written by photographer Andy Stentz in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2012 he walked across his state to raise awareness for the thirsty and raised $25,000 for water projects along the way! In this three-part series he shares his tips to finding—and living out—the exciting story God has for your life, and serving the thirsty through it. The photography featured here is some of Andy's original work in Guatemala where he helped build a well for the people of Cajola.
I hope my previous post helped you define your personal story. Now it's time to get it out of your head and into reality. And you know what reality involves? Other people. Other people will donate to your goal. Other people will support you prayerfully and logistically. So we have to find ways to communicate with them and invite them along on this adventure that is your story.
The story you share matters. Decide for yourself, which story below is more interesting?
1) “There are some number of people who don't have clean water. I want to help them.”
2) “Julie and her family don't have access to clean water. Because of that, she has to walk miles every day to provide clean water for her family, which means she can't go to school and will lose out on the option of having a job in the future. I want to raise $5,000 by selling homemade cupcakes so Julie and her family will have access in her village to clean water. Then in turn, Julie will receive the education that young women her age need to excel in life.”
Both might be totally true but only on really inspires me to want to participate. How about you?
Living Water’s blog and facebook page feature personal stories of the thirsty we serve together, so find one that resonates with you. It must resonate with you though, because you'll often only have 30 seconds to connect with someone and try to bring them into the story—share from the heart.
The formula is simple: a story of a real person in need + your story = what you want to communicate.
Not only do you want to raise awareness for the thirsty, you want people to donate to Living Water so lives can be changed. You can set up a personal fundraising page at water.cc/fundraise—you won’t have to handle the money at all! Your job will be to tell your story on social media and in person—any opportunity you have to share about your adventure will help you locate others who are enthusiastic to support your cause financially.
Depending on how large your adventure is, you're probably going to need help. None of us is gifted in every area of life, so recruit people excited to provide support based on their talents and abilities—anything from encouraging words, to website design, to prayer support, to strategic planning. It's important to bring a team along with you early on.
Remember, this isn't all about you. Your willingness to open up and let others help allows them to join in on an adventure. It's a chance for them to serve and share their gifts for something that's meaningful to them.
But maybe the most important contact you’ll make is with a Living Water representative who can help guide your idea and keep you accountable. There are so many times where you might want to quit, and your team will be there to keep you going!
As you share your compelling story from your heart, people will start to come out of the woodwork and say, "That touches my heart too!" Those are the people you want to get involved on your team. Together you will be stronger as you adventure together!