We Will Deliver Wrap Up

We Will Deliver: Wrapping Up

It is December, and the We Will Deliver! campaign has officially wrapped up. As a network, we smashed our fundraising goal of 100,000 dollars for the expansion of Pleebo Health Center in Liberia and raised a whopping 123,000 dollars. That is $123,000 for the Pleebo Health Center and $123,000 for the mothers and children who desperately need it for safe deliveries. $123,000 from over 2000 generous donors and raised by 450 incredible fundraisers. We, as a network, have much to celebrate and be proud of. Not to mention the fact that the first $100,000 was matched - so our impact as a network goes even farther! 

We promised we’d deliver with this campaign, and that is exactly what we did.

To wrap up us this blog series on We Will Deliver!, we wanted to hear from our network one more time and hear first from the George Washington University team about going from struggling last year to successful this year and then, Team Coordinator, Jordan Owen about her experience being involved with PIH Engage over the past six years (first with Carrboro High School and then now with University of Wisconsin Madison). 

First let’s hear from Kalpana Vissa, Team Coordinator of the George Washington University PIH Engage team.

There’s been a huge change in the GW team this year. Last year, it was tough to find leadership. This year, you’ve got a full team coming to meetings every week, and you’ve raised over $2000 already. What changed? How did you get the team moving so quickly?

This year has been incredible for GW's chapter! I would not say that last year was tough to find leadership, but more so to actually develop the chapter. I spent the first semester interviewing students on campus and determining who would make up the best leadership team. We had an established leadership team by the end of the semester and started to plan our meetings and events that would take place in the spring. I think what was difficult for us was that students on campus had already found their place in various student organizations, and not many were looking for new student organizations to join in January. We also only had meetings every two weeks, which made it a bit disorganized and challenging for people to attend, especially with vacations. 

By May, I think our team felt a bit down in the dumps because we had not yet recruited a secure number of PIH Engagers, and we were not sure what the following years would bring. We (the leadership team) all sat down in May before parting for the summer and came up with a plan for the 2016-2017 year. We decided to add more leadership positions to our team: freshman representative and an administrative lead, and to host meetings weekly. We left the leadership meeting feeling somewhat reassured for what was to come! Come September of 2016, our leadership team was ready to go! We were proactive about being at the student organization fair where we spoke to many students on campus and shared the mission of Partners in Health. That same week, we had our first general body meeting, and we were blown away by the number of people who came and how excited they were to be part of this chapter. 

This year, we have had 12 general body meetings, 3 advocacy events, and we raised over $2000! We had a structure to each meeting, including lots of skills building workshops. Our lovely administrative lead, Sarah Salinger, set up a MailChimp to send fancy, informative emails to our members about upcoming meetings, events, and reminders for action items. The energy on our team has been great. One of our community building leads, Devi Alaparthi, who has helped out with fundraising since our current fundraising lead is abroad, spearheaded our "Donuts for Haiti" fundraising event. Our general body members put 110% into this fundraising event. We raised over $400 in just one night! 

Thanks to our freshman representatives, Sarah Ingram and Nate Untch, for their positive energy and willing to be present at all of our meetings and events. They have encouraged other freshmen to join and be part of our chapter, and we are so grateful for that and for them!

Our team members have been engaged, no pun intended! Each week, they come ready to share ideas, participate, and create the best material for advocacy and fundraising events. I am so proud of how far we have come, and I cannot wait to see what the future brings. 


How did you keep the team motivated with personal fundraising for a full month? 

As an entire chapter, we decided to host a BIG advocacy event on our campus to raise awareness about the We Will Deliver Campaign and what PIH's plans were to help out at the Pleebo Health Center. We spent time during our general body meetings designing posters, learning about the health center, and deciding how we would share this message with our peers. The purpose of this event was to not only raise awareness about maternal and child health in Liberia, but also to kickoff our month of personal fundraising! We had this event on November 2 in our plaza, where we tabled, gave out cookies, and invited students to take a photo to raise awareness. Check out our album here

The leadership team spent time watching webinars and learning from other chapters around the nation about the best tactics for personal fundraising before coming to our own chapter and educating them. We all set up personal fundraising pages together during a meeting. One of our freshman reps, Sarah Ingram, led our phone-a-thon and had printouts of a step-by-step process for making calls. She is an absolute natural, and made these calls so effortlessly. She gave us all a mini pep talk including some of her strategies and tips and then helped fellow PIH Engagers with calls throughout the night. It was so fun to watch the number of dollars increase over the course of the night with each call that we made!

We continued to send out e-mails and do personal check-ins with team members over the month of November regarding their personal fundraising. We wanted this to be an enjoyable, stress-free and pressure-free process for our team members. 

What have you learned about personal fundraising through this campaign? What lessons will you take with you for your next campaign?

Well, I have learned that it is tough, but certainly very doable! Our chapter did a bit of both: event and personal fundraising, this semester, so it was valuable to gain this experience. We are still learning and we have a ways to go. I hope that next semester our team gets closer so that we can spend time outside of meetings participating in both PIH-related and non-PIH related events. I think the more we all get to know each other, the easier it will be for us to personal fundraise and to event fundraise. Our community building leads, Amanda Abraham and Devi Alaparthi, have some exciting plans for next semester. We hope to invite guest speakers to our meetings, do a bit more global health education, and put on a panel for all GW students! It will be events and programs like this that will make our next campaign that much better. The more we can do to learn about PIH and its efforts and the more we can do to build a stronger and closer team, the better we will be. We will be able to fundraise better than ever!

Now we'll hear from Jordan Owen, Team Coordinator of the University of Wisconsin PIH Engage team.

How did you first get involved with PIH Engage?

I became [indirectly] involved with PIH-Engage my freshman year of high school (I am now a sophomore in college), thanks to my phenomenal world history teacher, Matt Cone. He presented the curriculum in such a way as to stimulate action of some variety, no matter the cause. His emphasis on historical events as the creators of modern-day inequalities compelled me to join the Global Health Club at Carrboro High School, which raised tens of thousands of dollars every year for various organizations, all of which were in some way connected to PIH. I was a member, and eventually a leader, all four years of high school.

What has kept you coming back to PIH Engage after all these years?

I truly believe that PIH is the preeminent NGO focused on providing the right to dignified health for all. It maintains the ideals of local leadership, building systems, and ultimately, praxis, as opposed to rhetoric. PIH-Engage is the way that I, as a student, am able to involve myself in making change on a number of levels, from local education in Madison, to lobbying for national legislation concerning foreign aid, to providing funding for the clinics and providers in impoverished communities around the world. PIH-Engage is about walking the walk while also talking the talk.

How do you approach personal fundraising?

Personal fundraising, for me, has always been about offering the people in my life the opportunity to be a part of a massive force for good. I recognize my privilege in the sense that I am able to ask those around me for donations without risking relationships, which means that I do not experience as much discomfort when making the request. Furthermore, I have established a list of donors over the six years from whom I can reliably obtain funds for PIH's annual project.

Do you have any takeaways to share from We Will Deliver?

Our team set a lofty goal, I will readily admit. It has always been my philosophy that aiming high and falling short is vastly superior to setting 'attainable' goals. Since we ended up with four out of the ten thousand dollars we strove for, our We Will Deliver goal will become the goal for the year as the whole. As for reflections, I first want to shout out the national office for providing pizza! After that, the major takeaway is that the drop off of member participation after the first fundraising meeting is precipitous. Perhaps we should have advertised more for subsequent fundraising meetings, or conducted several within a week to sustain momentum. 


The PIH Engage staff are super proud of these individuals, their teams, and the 450 other fundraisers from more than 65 PIH Engage teams that helped raise funds for the We Will Deliver! personal fundraising campaign. Together, we've proven what is possible when enough people care about changing a small piece of the world, this time to the tune of $122,000 (and counting). 

Thank you for your hard work!

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