Holiday Greetings from Dressember Founder, Blythe Hill
People sometimes ask me, why did you create a fundraising campaign in December? If you know the Dressember story, you know it didn’t necessarily happen that way. Dressember was first a style challenge, without a cause or fundraising element behind it. As it grew, I dreamt about turning it into something more—something with heart and impact. When I first aligned Dressember with anti-trafficking, I thought it would totally flop—especially because it was in December.
Doubts ran through my mind a mile a minute;
“Is it too cold for people to commit to wearing dresses? Will the holidays keep people from joining?”
I sometimes joke that a lot of why Dressember has been successful are the ways I was accidentally strategic. If I had been intentional about creating a fundraising campaign at just the right time and season, I would not have chosen December. Surely the cold and the holiday hubbub (and the amount of money we spend on gifts) would keep this from being a successful campaign season, right? But even the name Dressember demands that this campaign happen in December. So, I held my breath, hoped to make a small impact, and announced Dressember in late November of 2013.
What’s happened since then has been nothing short of incredible. Thousands of advocates across six continents have become part of the Dressember community, and I’ve seen first hand how December is actually the best month to have this campaign. Sure, it’s cold. In some places, it’s really, really cold. But you know what? People notice when you’re wearing a dress in freezing weather. Sometimes even strangers stop and ask what would compel a person to wear a dress in the brutal cold. And then our advocates have the opportunity to explain what compels them to advocate in this shared fight for the dignity of all people.
With the busyness (and expense) of the holidays, it’s especially amazing to see my initial fears about Dressember completely shatter.
As I write this, over twenty thousand people have donated roughly $1.2 million.
This holiday season, I am grateful for the chance to see my expectations dashed; I’m grateful to see how exceptionally generous people are in one of the busiest seasons; I’m grateful to see an army of people brave enough to ask. It’s those who are bold enough to ask for help that make this world of ours a better place.
Above all, I’m grateful for you. I’m deeply grateful for a community of people who are not only passionate about this issue but also looking to actively engage in its decimation. I’m grateful for a community of advocates who are willing to fight for the inherent dignity of all people, who believe that no one should be robbed of their right to be free.
Until all are free,
Dressember Founder & CEO