My name is Leonard and my pronouns are he/him. I’m doing my Ph.D. at Carleton, where my research looks at identity and difference politics with a focus on gender and sexuality. I volunteer with MAX by serving on the Board of Directors.
Through both my research and volunteerism, I look to contribute to education, awareness, and support for the challenges faced by 2SLGBTQ people. Having the opportunity to learn from others in my community while applying my skills to the practical problems we seek to tackle together is something I’m really passionate about.
Recently, I’ve turned my attention to fundraising, acting as Chair of MAX’s new Fundraising and Donor Development Committee (FDDC). Right now, the FDDC is developing new policies, procedures, and plans to ensure that the fantastic programs at MAX are supported by a comprehensive fundraising strategy in line with our mission and goals.
Though I’m certainly no expert, I’ve already learned a lot in just a few months in this new role. There’s more to fundraising than good planning, for instance – though that remains important! I’m also thankful to have such a dedicated group of peers on our committee, who each bring a diverse set of skills to share in its work; this is the kind of collaboration that MAX is built on after all!
What I Did
A couple weeks back I turned 30. This was, admittedly, a bit of a weird birthday given the measures in place due to COVID19. Still, I wanted to do something that fostered a sense of community through the isolation. It also occurred to me that the demands on MAX’s programs may shift in response to the pandemic. Indeed, enhancing support for the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve, while ensuring access to programs and services, has proven as important as ever. So, with a little help from Facebook’s fundraising tools, I started a birthday fundraiser for MAX with a modest goal.
In charity-speak we call this method of fundraising peer-to-peer. This means mobilizing a person’s existing network – family, friends, and colleagues – to raise money on behalf of an organization or cause. Fundraising this way often takes fewer resources and less logistical support than say, a large event. And rather than relying just on dedicated supporters, peer-to-peer fundraising expands the range of people aware of what it is you’re raising money for, and why it’s important.
In the case of this fundraiser, donations came not just from Ottawa-Gatineau, but from Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and beyond. On top of that, most were made by people previously unacquainted with MAX or its work in the National Capital Region!
What You Can Do
Donating time or money are both excellent ways to support MAX. But, what’s even more important is explaining why those things are worth donating in the first place. You never know who might be interested in learning more or who is looking to lend their skills and experience to something you care about.
Whether it’s over the internet or from across the park, building community starts with a conversation.
So don’t be afraid to take advantage of resources, find creative ways to get involved, or just speak up about the organizations and causes you care about. You never know, you might raise a thousand bucks or more in just under a week.
If you have an idea, are interested in finding out more, or are looking to contribute to MAX’s fundraising goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Yours in community,