Meet Molly; using Social Media for good
As of today, Dresssember advocates have collectively raised over $20,000 for the campaign. It's not even Halloween yet, folks! Want to know what's even more impressive? Nearly 10% of that funding has been accomplished by a single advocate. Molly Stillman from North Carolina is joining us for the first time this year and we couldn't be more thrilled to have her on board! Molly is a wife, momma and experienced blogger and she shares with us her insights and advice on how to use your social media influence to reach your fundraising goals and push back against modern day slavery.
Molly began blogging her thoughts during college in the early 2000s and fondly remembers her LiveJournal complete with emo lyrics from alternative music groups like Dashboard Confessional and Dave Matthews Band. Having worked as a sketch and improvisational comedian, her blog began to take shape as a satirical production much like The Onion and then morphed into a place to process her personal adventures and growing responsibilities. As she opened up about the things going on in her life, her honesty and vulnerability attracted readers and her readership continued to grow. Finally, in 2013, Molly became a full-time blogger and to this day feels incredibly grateful to have a job where she can use her unique skill set to relate to and inspire others. Her ability to make her readers laugh comes easily, however, Molly's beliefs about ethically sourced goods and her passion to see the end of slavery are no joke.
One of the first things you'll see on Molly's beautifully designed blog is a directory of ethical brands, especially ones made in the USA. She's compiled this list and admits that it's a work in progress but hopes to spread a desire for awareness about where our clothes come from. "I contact brands and say, 'What can you tell me about your factories and the people who work in them?'" Molly has already inspired me to ask the same question before purchasing new items. I then cross-check the brand with her list or ProjectJust, an inspired resource recommended by Molly to find out the truth about fashion brands.
Readers of Molly's incredible blog about fashion, faith and living purposefully have rallied behind her as she endeavors to raise $6,300 (enough for a complete rescue operation) for Dressember this year. Molly was kind enough to share three tips with us for using social media platforms to raise funds for our Dressember campaigns. The most important aspect of this, according to Molly, is living out your passion for this cause year-round, not just in December.
THIS SHOULD BE A NATURAL OVERFLOW
For Molly, speaking out against injustice was modeled by her late mother, Lynda Van Devanter, a Veteran who spent her life advocating for human rights, especially female Veterans. Inspired by her strong momma, fighting against human trafficking is something Molly's been directly involved with locally and internationally for over 6 years. This means joining ranks with Dressember will not be surprising for her online followers, and even if they aren't friends in real life, they know her. They feel connected to her and they want to help her accomplish the goals that are important to her. “I think because this is something I talk about all the time, not just because of Dressember, but this is an issue that my friends and family and followers know is my heart and soul, people are quicker to support it.” Share your story with your followers. Let them see the heart behind your campaign.
Social media can seem overwhelming with its many businesses and organizations clamoring for our attention or financial support. Making your requests personal and bite-sized is incredibly important to the success of your campaign. Molly writes, "...things like, “How much did you spend on Starbucks this week? Or Chipotle? Or clothing? Could you spare that much to help fight human trafficking?” Making it personal and breaking it down really helps people feel connected and like their small donation makes a difference (because it does!)" Try this with your audience, or even offer them a reward, like Molly, "sweetened the pot and told everyone that if [she hits her] goal before December 1st, [she] will also wear a dress to workout at the gym!" Get creative to engage your community.
POST FREQUENTLY AND LET THE GRATITUDE SHINE
If you start now, in October, to post about the stats and facts of human trafficking you can give people time to get serious about their role in the fight. Blasting off mass emails may not be as effective as sending personal ones or better yet, an actual letter inviting them into the solution . Using each platform (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, etc) regularly allows you to reach the most people. Sometimes people just need that reminder and the right time to take action. And don't forget to express your appreciation for each and every donation! Thanking your followers for their support will keep them encouraged as they continue to live generously.
Thank you, Molly, for your suggestions! I, for one, am excited to think of a fun reward for my donors and plan on writing some snail mail letters to my most generous friends and family. If you're interested in keeping up with Molly, learning more about ethical fashion or just want some encouragement, you can check out her blog & podcast below.
About the Author
Allyss Flores is finally a grown up, having turned 30 this year. She is grateful that now, thanks to Dressember, she can fight for justice every December regardless of her life circumstance. Aside from advocating and telling stories, Allyss loves to raise her two small children with her husband deep in the heart of Texas.