Each September, we hold a crowdfunding campaign that raises awareness and money to expand our health program. We call this campaign our Salud-a-thon (salud means “health” in Spanish). Our crowdfunders take on their own health challenges for a month, using these challenges as platforms to spread the word about Friendship Bridge’s health program and expand this program to reach even more Guatemalan women. Last year, Marty Musselman raised over $2,000, which provided preventive health services to 80 women – many of whom had never accessed these types of services before. We sat down with Marty to hear more about her experience and her incredible success.
Did you have any fears about crowdfunding before you began?
Absolutely. I had a lot of trepidation because I didn’t know anything about crowdfunding, and I’m not very tech savvy. I thought it would be a huge challenge for me. But I was really very happy and surprised with how easy it was. It was so much easier than I expected, and it had so much better results than I expected.
Did you have reservations about fundraising?
I found personally I’m hesitant about asking for money from my friends, but I just decided, you know, people can decide themselves whether they want to participate or not. So I sent emails out to my book club, my walking and hiking groups, family, friends, and neighbors. It was really heartwarming to see who actually participated.
How did you promote your campaign?
I did a couple of updates along the way and utilized some of [Friendship Bridge’s] suggestions about email content. I gave some information about how this would help our clients in Guatemala, some of the misconceptions they had about healthcare, and how little access to healthcare they actually had. I think that information was helpful. It was nice that it was only a month, so you have a short period of time and you’re rolling the whole time.
Can you tell me about your health challenge?
I was going to meditate 10-15 minutes each day, amp up my exercising, and try to eat more fruits and vegetables. But what really struck me as I was reflecting on health was how here, in the U.S., we have the ability and resources to do these things. We have health insurance if we have an injury or illness. We have the resource of time to be able to do meditation or exercise. We have facilities that have fresh fruit and vegetable that are very accessible. And in comparison, I know our clients Guatemala often have none of those things. They don’t have a health safety net. There’s a lot of misinformation about general health issues. And they don’t have the time or monetary resources to do a lot of these health related activities like we do here. So it really made it very clear to me how fortunate we are and how important it is for us to do things like this to help Guatemalan women have better access to healthcare.
What would you say to someone wondering if they should sign up?
I would say that I had a huge amount of trepidation to begin with as well, but if I can do it, then anyone can do it! The ratio of time spent and money received is just amazing, so I think that’s another huge plus. If people think it’s going to be time consuming and frustrating, it’s not. It’s not time consuming at all, and it’s relatively easy to do, especially when you have resources to call upon if you run into problems. It was refreshingly more easy than I anticipated.
If you’d like to join our 2016 Salud-a-thon, create your crowdfunding page today!