Fundraising four years in a row for the same cause certainly has diminishing value for most people, whether it’s for people who choose to continue donating, or for the person who is actually doing the fundraising. The first year, it’s new. Everyone’s excited that you are raising money to increase awareness and help others in need. All your friends (at least, the ones worth keeping) cheer you on and donate, if even a small sum, to show that they’re supportive of your efforts. Then, the second year comes. You’re asking the same group of people to donate… again. And then you meet new people, whether it’s new colleagues, friends, or acquaintances, and you ask them to donate. Then the third year comes, and the fourth year, and so on. Can you count on people to continue supporting your cause even though the fundraising just keeps going? It’s not like you’re raising the money for yourself, right? It’s going to the foundation to help others, not into your actual wallet. It’s tiring, but I want to keep going. I hope people don’t think I am ungrateful asking every year to donate; I get that not everyone has tons of money lying around. But I have to keep doing this.. partly for selfish reasons because I feel like it’s the only way I can keep Ed alive… for me.
I’ve been increasing my goal by $1,000 each year since I started, so this year, it was $4,000. I felt it was a big stretch for many reasons: it’s four years for the same cause. The story has evolved as life evolves, but it’s still the same cause and the same reasons. I’ve started a new job this year in a remote office, which means that if I’m not sitting in the headquarters being a physical reminder about my fundraising drive, I thought no one would feel compelled to donate or care about my story or reasons for fundraising.
I guess I was really wrong there. So many of my colleagues donated, and in very large sums, as soon as I sent out my outreach email back in August. And today, I posted on my company’s #team Slack channel, which almost everyone in the company across the world checks, and within hours, I exceeded my goal. I had multiple donations of $100, and one from our cofounder of $250. Colleagues I still haven’t even met yet donated generously and sent encouraging messages. It was really humbling.
One of my colleagues who donated who I still haven’t met messaged me and said how much my story touched her. She said she literally cried when she read my message on my fundraising page. “Before I read your page, I never really thought about the significance of sibling relationships,” she said. She said she never thought about suicide on a personal level much or the Golden Gate Bridge in that light until she read the details on my page.
That’s the thing about tragedy. Sometimes, when you share your story, it gets other people to think about the things they take for granted and don’t think much about and really force them to confront their fears and stop avoiding all the things that are painful but necessary to understand. I’m happy to be someone that others can go to when they’re in need. I just wish more people would be open about all the things that aren’t so pretty in life.