We had a chance to talk with Melanie (@GottaMeetDianna), who organized the Dianna Agron Birthday Project, about the work she put into this incredible fundraiser that raised nearly $14K for The Trevor Project — a total that Dianna herself is matching!
Q. Why did you choose Dianna Agron for this birthday fundraiser? And why The Trevor Project as the charity beneficiary?
I chose to raise funds in honor Dianna on the sole basis that if I’m alive today she has a lot to do with it. At the lowest point in my life I discovered Dianna and heard briefly of her life struggles that were oddly similar to mine. I too am an actress and found solace in Dianna’s success it gave me hope for the future and the will to carry on and keep moving forward in the direction of my own goals and dreams. Having attempted suicide twice in my life I know for a fact that there are youth everywhere struggling with the same thoughts and not everyone is as lucky as I am to have an influence like Dianna that gives me hope on bad days. I lost a friend to suicide and learned quickly that people often suffer in silence. There are no signs and sometimes they don’t reach out for help but there are people like me, who want help and are in a dark place and just need to have some light shined in to their world at any particular time. I did some digging and found that suicide rates in the LGBTQ community are alarmingly high, having been familiar with The Trevor Project for some time I thought that if anyone could provide these youth with support it would be you guys. I wanted to thank Dianna by giving her the opportunity to save another life and who better to benefit from it? Dianna like myself is a strong advocate for gay rights and I knew this was something she would support and stand behind 110%. I consider Dianna a “friend” someone I can turn to when I’m in a dark place I can always turn up the volume on my iPod and pop in a DVD and she’ll be right there to inadvertently tell me that I’m going to be ok, not everyone calls their friend Dianna some people call their friend Trevor and that’s why proving funds to the Trevor lifeline was so incredibly important to me
Q. How did you attract donations to the campaign page?
With a lot of persistence! Having shared my story and my appreciation for Dianna with some 15 000 followers in early January I began advertising the fund raising project on twitter and it got a pretty fair response we raised a good $100 in the first week much of which came from money I had acquired selling magazines on eBay. From there people began to receive the project and for every $50 up to $1500 I promised to give something away to one of my followers. I also used Tumblr and Facebook to get the project out there and with the support of my followers who blogged, reblogged and tweeted about the project it started to really gain speed by mid February.
Q. What was your initial goal and how did Dianna’s announcement that she was matching all donations affect the outcome/momentum of the campaign?
The initial goal was $500 but as the months went on I upped it to $1500 in hopes of answering 100 calls and saving 100 lives. My followers received it well and we were on course to reach the goal with $1100 when Dianna announced via her website (www.youmeandcharlie.com) that she would match donations. It definitely boosted the numbers and over night we were at some $6000 dollars which was absolutely incredible. It sat comfortably at over $6000 for a while but with Dianna’s endorsement I was able to campaign harder using social networks and it slowly but surely got to $8000. I challenged my followers to get to $10 000 and with 10 days to go on April 20th $10 000 was reached from there it just kind of spiraled everyone got involved and we raised over $13 000 which is incredible any way you break it down. I think Dianna’s fans are honestly some of the greatest people in the world and I’m glad they came together to raise such an incredible amount of money for such a great cause.
Q. What did you learn about running a fundraising campaign like this? Would you do it again? What are your Top 5 “Do’s” and “Don’ts”?
I learned that it’s a lot of work but the pay off is completely worth it. While I can not personally take the credit for the money that came in I’m glad I approached The Trevor Project you and was thrilled that they allowed me to head up the project. It’s been such a humbling experience to see how many people support the LGBTQ community I wish all the LGBTQ youth out there who think they’re unloved could see how many people worked together in their honor!
I would absolutely 1 million % do this again and plan to run another campaign in Dianna’s honor over the Holiday Season. I think the gift of life is so remarkable and I’m glad this community is on the receiving end of so much love and generosity.
Top 5 Dos:
- Do, Promote as much as possible, tweet the right people and use whatever resources you can find
- Do, Be aware of statistics and useful information about your charity of choice
- Do, Be gracious appreciate every donation and understand that every little bit counts
- Do, Be passionate about your project
- Do, Be honest about your intetions
Top 5 Don’ts:
- Don’t, Take it personally when people try to bring you down, it happens but if you love what you’re working for it’s worth it
- Don’t, Get disappointed when things slow down, what’s meant to be will
- Don’t, Set your goals too high, setting smaller goals like $50 keeps it fun when you reach it
- Don’t, Take all the credit, it’s a TEAM effort and there is no I in team
- Don’t, Be afraid to ask people for help as I said before it’s a TEAM effort
Q. Do you have any advice for anyone out there interested in running a charitable birthday campaign on behalf of a celebrity?
I think the best advice I can give is just to pick a person and a charity that means something to you. Don’t opt to support a charity that you don’t believe in just because your favorite celeb is a supporter. Pick something that means as much to you as it does the recipient of the money. Make sure you reach out to as many people as possible, get in touch with people within the organization and make sure they’re keen on your running a campaign. Last but not list don’t go in to it expecting a hit parade, do it because it’s important and when you go to sleep at night you feel good knowing that you helped someone.