Fighting Stigma with Dollars: Strides Top Fundraising Team Shares Their Secrets

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Justin and Joanna O'Brien make up one of our top Strides Against Stigma fundraising teams.  Here, we ask them to share the secret to their success.

Q: What is your connection to Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA)?

A: Justin is a former FFDA Board member.  We are both strong supporters of FFDA and its mission based on experiences with depressive disorders and suicides among family and friends.

Q: What made you decide to participate in Strides?

A: Strides seemed like a simple, easy, and fun way to achieve a crucial goal -- spreading awareness of issues related to depression and, in the process, defeating the stigma associated with depression.  We love that it has been designed as such a positive and dynamic event and that our whole family—including the kids—can participate.

Q: What motivates you to fundraise?

A: We know that every dollar will go a long way towards supporting the important work of FFDA.  Just as important, every person who contributes, no matter how much, is making a commitment to fight the stigma of depression.  Even just the effort of fundraising, asking people to support us at this event, achieves the basic goal of making people aware of FFDA, its work, and the need to fight stigma.

Q: How did you set your fundraising goal?

A: We tried to come up with a goal that was reasonable but that would still motivate people to do what they can to help. Based on the great response we have gotten, we have had to increase our goal!

Q: What is your strategy for fundraising as a team? Any additional fundraising tips or tricks?

A: We have reached out as broadly as we can by email, social media, and word-of-mouth.  I think our biggest tip is don't be afraid to ask.  We have gotten a lot of support from people well beyond our closest family and friends, and from lots of people who certainly would not feel any pressure to contribute unless they thought it was a great cause.

Q: Has there been anything, thus far, that has surprised you in your fundraising efforts?

A: We have really been impressed and surprised with the very positive reaction we have gotten.  A lot more people have responded than we had expected and many of the people who have contributed have told us how important they think this event and its message are.

Visit the O'Brien's fundraising page

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