What do you do when a terrorist organization takes over your country and your nonprofit still needs to function?
Fereshteh Forough knows this better than most. Fundraising requires an endless amount of time and energy. Not to mention the added stress of knowing people rely on your ability to reach your donation goals. Her nonprofit, Code to Inspire, provides girls and women in Afghanistan the ability to learn to code. Of course, since the Taliban took over again their mission has become a much more dangerous and difficult task.
In this episode of Accidental Fundraiser, you’ll hear how Fereshteh managed to raise funds faster than she thought possible during a time of crisis. Listen to find out how being precise with her asks and connecting to donors through video played a key role.
- Be clear in your communications
- Have faith in your volunteers
- Don’t neglect your own well-being
Want to dig deeper about some of the topics on today’s show? Check out our blog on how to use newsjacking to your nonprofit’s advantage as well as a chart with feel-good words of fundraising wisdom from our Personal Fundraising Coaches who know exactly how important self-care is!
Fereshteh: You were afraid because every day, every night that I go to bet on. If I can’t raise funds, then this amount of girls in Afghanistan will be left behind and I won’t be able to help them.
Kimberly: as powerful as the statement is, it’s even more impactful once, you know the story behind I’m Kimberly O’Donnell. And this is Accidental Fundraiser, the show from Network for Good that shares of radically authentic stories from the trenches. Code to Inspire is an afterschool program that opened the first coding school for girls in Herat, Afghanistan.
In November of 2015, their mission is to empower Afghan women through education and put them on a path to financial independence. Fereshteh Forough, Founder and Executive Director, was born in Iran as a refugee after parents fled Afghanistan in the 19. Growing up, she experienced immense challenges and discrimination, even in accessing such basic public services, such as education.
In this episode, she shares her passion for bringing opportunities to women in Afghanistan and how she trusts her team of volunteers and staff to carry out the mission. Because her background as a refugee is such a big part of her nonprofit story. Let’s join the conversation. As she talks about the struggle to build a new life.
Fereshteh: And my very early young age, I understood the value of education. And that education is a fundamental human rights and everyone should access to, without any discrimination and being indifferent. Why mom and my dad left everything behind like every refugee and going to a new country. You start life from zero.
And my mom learned to how to stitch and make dresses so that by selling them, she could bring income to the family and invest in our education. So I learned how to be an entrepreneur from my mom and learn that. Thanks. It starts with empty hands. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you have the most important thing is that you can use the resources around you and your favor.
And that’s what my mom did. I was able to finish my high school in Iran. And then in 2002, one year after the fall of Taliban, the moved back to head-on, which is a city. Part of Afghanistan that my parents are originally from like a lot of refugees. We thought that it’s time for us to go back home and there might be more chances for us.
They’re coming to Afghanistan. Of course, for the lot of challenges talking about one year after the fall of Taliban, the infrastructure was certainly not perfect. And especially the status of women going to school and accessing work was a sale. Very difficult. Although I was able to get my bachelor’s in computer science.
And Afghanistan. And then I received a scholarship. I went to Germany and I got my master’s in computer science from technical university of Berlin, went back and taught as a computer science professor for about three years in the university. So being a woman in technology, being very vocal and outspoken, I face a lot of challenge.
Back lashes and threats in the community, which made me to think about how I can change the status of women in Afghanistan, especially in technology sector. And that’s how I stablish coach to inspire January, 2015 as a registered 5 0 1 C3 nonprofit in the U S but the mission of giving technical opportunities for women that can be translated into work opportunities, and that helped them to be financially independent.
Kimberly: What an incredible story, especially with bringing your talent together with a real need for women and girls in Afghanistan, as you started your nonprofit, what were some of the hurdles that you encountered?
Fereshteh: I think there’s two different aspects. One was the administratives aspects of it. Just how easy
Kimberly: starting a nonprofit, even the paperwork
Fereshteh: paperwork was the most difficult and challenging one.
You want to file the right papers. So of course you need maybe a legal person who can help you. And of course, I don’t have a legal background, so it was difficult for me. What I did. I. Posted on my social media accounts and ask for, if anyone has a background in law and can help me with setting all the non-profits in the U S and I got actually a response from one of my connections who was based in New York, and I met her and she helped me actually for free pro bono, but all my files.
And after the filings, we get the status of being incorporated. And then you have to file for getting the exemption status for a 5 0 1 C three, which is a longer process and involves more paperwork. And again, with the help of the legal person. We were able to do that. So one is the, of course, the leak legal aspects of it that you want to make sure you are filing everything properly.
But then once the filing is done now is the aspects of, okay, like you have to raise certain funds to make the idea that you have happen. And for that, you have to knock every door that I think you are. I know. And it’s possible for you. We’re reaching out to all the people in your network. Because it’s something very new and it’s just like an idea that you’re presenting to people.
A lot of the time you may face that people say, oh, like once you have it’s up and running and you have some results, come back to us and we might be able to enlist in your idea at the beginning. It’s very difficult. And I think at the beginning, the people who truly believe in you as a person and know you and understand.
This can be something that can happen, then they invest in you and they believe in you. And that’s like a people that like at the first I tried to reach out and ask for support either in kind donations or monetary donation.
Kimberly: So you relied on your closer network really to help lift up code to inspire initially.
And now today you have a number of both individual sponsors and corporate sponsors, right? Do you have a sense of how many you might have.
Fereshteh: Yes. I can say that at least 50% of our donation comes from individual donors. And then the rest come from corporate sponsorships giving program and partnership with companies who are giving back either through their employee matching programs, grants, and fellowships that they have.
Kimberly: much time do you typically spend on fundraising?
Fereshteh: Oh, my God, it’s like an anonymous stop or you have to engage your community when you have to update them. But also like you want to tell them that what’s your goal for this year, how much you want to raise and how much that money goes for particular mission and goal that you have just updating them, engaging with them, letting them know that whether it’s.
To sending them personal, the videos, personal emails and messages, sending them gifts and updating newsletters. So you really like constantly have to be on top of everything to make sure that your supporters and donors who believed in you and who kept continuing investing in your mission. Day then they feel that they are part of this journey and not excluded only.
And your not only reach out to them in the time of crisis, you want them to feel that they are part of this journey with you and they go through every steps of this
Kimberly: process. That’s something that you knew from the onset that you wanted to keep all of your supporters truly engaged in the work of code inspire and what was happening in Herat or was it a learned.
Fereshteh: It was certainly a learning process for me. When I started, we used to use third party programs for sending newsletters. I used to have either online or offline Excel sheets to keep track of our donors and everything. And it was very difficult because it was very scattered and it wasn’t in one place and that it could keep track.
Could keep track of our performance, have some sort of like monthly or weekly reports that I can see, okay. I missed this month. And what’s the reason that I missed and raising funds this month. And what’s the reason that this month I raise more money. The first couple of years I used to work like that and was very frustrating.
And then we were able to get part of the network for good platform, which really. To me a lot, not only the platform to put everything in such a organized way, but also being able to talk to a consultant who can help me with, okay, let’s do your plan for this year. Okay. If it’s your plan this year, let’s come up with some timeline and like really come up with a very nice way of organizing everything and how to keep track of it.
And I think that really helps. Me personally, a lot to learn more about how to engage with the donors, but also just a housekeeping of keeping track of our donors and performance. So that was certainly a great lesson to learn. And I’m still learning.
Kimberly: You said fundraising is nonstop. So can you share some of the things that you do on a regular basis that kind of help with that?
Fereshteh: Sending at least a monthly or biweekly newsletters. It’s very important. Just as updates. I think one of the mistakes that I was doing before was when you send an update to your donors, it’s just an update. You just want it, the, let them know what are they what’s the program is up to, if you have issues, if you have success, just to let them know so that they understand about it.
But I always give an update. And then at the bottom, I always put the donation links too. So in this case, the donors are confused. They don’t know either, are you updating them? Or they’re asking them for something. And I kept doing that and I was like, Not getting good results. And then with the consultant that I had, she said, let’s try only giving the update, email only update and take the donation links.
And then when there is an particular ask, we go for it. And then I started doing that as strategy, and it was really like helpful and with a big turnout. And so it is very important to understand when you put the content out there or what are you asking from your network? Is it an update? So keep up. If it’s an ask than you all and ask, and I think this was a big lesson for me to learn, but also how to manage my calendar, whether it’s the big dates in the calendar year, that you can create a campaign around it either it’s a year end campaign either.
It’s a giving Tuesday campaign either it’s a back to school campaign. So these are like some of the dates that then I learned how to create a campaign or a momentum around.
Kimberly: What would you say is probably one of the hardest parts of fundraising? I think the hardest
Fereshteh: part is recruiting new donors, how you can make people excited about your mission and get them on board, but also keep them to stay so that they can turn to a recurring donor thinking.
This is something. Still is challenging. What kind of channels do you have to try to get the attention of the new donors and then how you can keep them still excited about the work you do so that they can turn to a recurring donor and stay with you for a longer term. And also the lapsed donors, like the donors who helped to maybe the first year of your mission, but then.
They for whatever reason, they’re not as active, how you can get them back again on track and make them an active donors. So this is these two are challenging for me and need some more work to get back people again on that. It is a
Kimberly: challenge. You are an entrepreneur, you’re an social activist. You are passionate about the work that you do.
What drives this? How do you get up every day and go, I am going to push harder. I’m going to be stronger. What lies before.
Fereshteh: It’s a combination of fears and hope you are afraid because every day, every night that I go to bed, I’m like, if I can’t raise funds, then this amount of girls in Afghanistan will be left behind and I won’t be able to help them.
And the hope is that when I raised that. It empowers and enables all the girls to access free education and be financially independent and help their families. So the combination of both being afraid of what, if I can raise funds to help these girls and the hope that I have to do my best to raise the funds, because then I will change a lot of lives.
I think that’s like something that keeps me always motivated. And of course, like just seeing the stories of how. Our coding school helped a lot of our aluminized and graduates to find jobs. Some of them even make double or triple than the men in the family. So some of our students are making more money and helping their family and themselves, and in reinvest in themselves to continue education.
It’s something that is very close to my heart and I will keep doing what we are doing to help as many as girls we can in Afghan.
Kimberly: Tell us a little bit about how code to inspire works, like how the school operates.
Fereshteh: Before the Talawan take over since August our school was a physical location. We had one location in head-on and it was an afterschool program.
The students who were coming to our school who are from 18 to 25 years old, and we offered different coding classes like mobile app game design. Full stack, web dev and graphic design students were coming to the school. The classes were in person. Our school is free of charge and it’s only for girls and women.
And then it’s a one-year afterschool program. And once they graduate, we help them with employment opportunities, either in community or outsourcing projects to them. But then unfortunately after the Taliban take over since August, we had to close the school due to safety reason and security concern, and still up to now, the school is closed.
The hope that at some point we can reopen the school, but as of now, we took an online approach and we shifted the entire program online and make sure that everyone has a laptop and internet to get an keep up the classes which we are doing right now. And hopefully we would be able to support more girls in our online classes. She took the access for education.
Kimberly: So you’ve had to pivot your entire program. And how is that going? Is there still as much participation in.
Fereshteh: Regarding the engagement 20 to 30% with the data that we have of our students, or either left Afghanistan or left Herat due to the current political situations and what happened.
So with the remaining view are trying to make sure that they can get online and. To our classes and courses. And also the nexus set plan for us is to expand the program to other cities in Afghanistan. And because of the current situation, being at home is much safer for our students and a lot of women.
And because they’re at home, then they have. Disability to get online and learn. So that is something that we are trying to push to get more resources on the ground and help more girls in Afghanistan, get online and get into our curriculum and coding classes. One
Kimberly: of the things that I know that you have done is encouraged the use of cryptocurrency in payment for women.
Can you explain how that works?
Fereshteh: Yes, definitely like before even the Taliban take, or there was a lot of issues with the infrastructure in Afghanistan, especially true banking and financial and institutes. So as an organization, when we receive donations, we do have a bank account and the U S because we are a registered organization in the U S but then sending funds to Afghanistan would be a bit difficult.
Although we do have a bank account in Afghanistan. At registered organization and Afghanistan as well, but using banks, not only take a couple of days, there’s a fee involved. And also majority of the times, sometimes the money will rewired back and they have to go through the Pang and talk to them and see what was their reason.
And so like this kind of delay in sending the funds would make a big issue for, for the work to do. And then also using other financial institutes like Western union. There’s a limit of how much you can send, but also there’s also a cost involved here too. Either. You want to send them online or you have to find a Western union branch, which we also used it as an alternative that actually last year, end of the year, the had to use Western union, but then we also face a lot of challenges with them.
And that’s why early this year. We were thinking what we can do to make it faster than our team investigated. And they found out that there actually a couple of local exchange places that they can convert crypto into either dollar or Afghani. And then we start sending crypto to them. And since then we entirely sending our operational and money for our students that work remotely true.
Kimberly: Let’s talk a little bit about fundraising in a crisis that Taliban began to enter Afghanistan this past summer, July into August. And it was dire being here in the us. How did that feel? And how did you just go straight into action with communicating and fundraising for COVID inspired. Yes,
Fereshteh: because it was a very sudden change of events.
All of a sudden in Afghanistan, everything has changed. They closed the banks, the Western union, wasn’t working for a couple of weeks and a time of crisis that you need the financial institutes. The majority of them were shut down banks and Western union in any sort of money transfer financial and institutes.
So no one really could send any money to Afghanistan and people need money either. They wanted to go to banks to take their money that they had in the banks, because they wanted to just have the cash in hand or they have to leave Afghanistan and they needed money to pay for the expenses, not being able to access the money that you owe.
because of a third party or any political climate change. It’s a, it’s frustrating for a lot of people. Some people even left Afghanistan with their all money in the bank account because they couldn’t access it. So just the freedom of how you can access to your own finance and keep it in a way that wherever you go, the money will go with you.
Fereshteh: It’s very important. And I think for all. During that time, cryptocurrency donation was a big support for what we were doing. We started reaching out to our net either through crypto donors and we received cryptocurrency donation, which through that we could send them to Afghanistan in a time that no bank what’s working no Western union, but we were able to send the fund staff Denniston I received personally messages from our students who were the main breadwinner of the family that they lost jobs.
They’re struggling to even pay for basic things. They don’t have food. And it was very heartbreaking to see that these families are now going through this. So we did a survey, 85 of our girls reach out to us regarding their families. And with the estimation that we came up, $200 per month for family. Um, six to seven people can help them to pay for rent food, any medical emergency.
And once we had that in hand and the Bricktown, and I think that’s very important in the crisis time that whatever you’re asking from your donors and community, it’s very clear where the money going to goes on how many people it gonna support. So I sent a newsletter. Through the network for good, for our entire community.
I told them exactly 85 families, $200 per month. It gonna cover this. And if they can help us to raise this funds within two Vicks, and to my surprise, we could raise actually $23,000 within a week of just to ask, because it was very clear and you gave them a timeline of when do you need that? The same as our crypto community.
So I think it’s very important to act at the time of the crisis with very clear ask with very clear timeline and read very clear of where the money going to go and how you’re going to distribute it so that the donors feel comfortable that it really gonna go in the right hand of people. Okay. There’s also a lot
Kimberly: of motion that exists in a time of crisis.
I appreciated seeing your video that really showed the concern that you had for your students, for these girls and women in Afghanistan, and just the country as a whole, as a fundraiser has to be very vulnerable and authentic. And in your communications, how did that feel as you were
Fereshteh: doing. I totally agree with you.
I think being authentic and just let the donors and supporters know what are you going through? It’s very important. Even emotionally, if you feel like sad about certain situations, if you feel like you’re. just like hopeless. These are not only people who are coming to you on the time that you were asking for monetary donation.
These are the people who believe in you and who are part of this journey. So as much as you can be honest to them and share your feeling with them, they feel much more, I think, included and comfortable with you because you want to make it personal. You want to like also like maybe have them see some of your.
See their stories. Who are these people? Who are you? I think the video and there it’s a voice, or also like in person makes a huge impact on people rather than just sometimes sending a written text. So as much as you can communicate with them to the videos, either personally, or a group video with your students or the people they are helping, it’s very important for them to see the faces, to experience that other side of the help that they.
Kimberly: Do you have any other advice around fundraising in a crisis? You know how you are pivoting your message, that you’re able to reach donors, build awareness, ask them to share with their networks.
Fereshteh: It just, again, to be honest with you, be very clear of what is the situation on the ground. What you’re asking, what’s the timeline who we are helping, and then show them back what happened after if you keep that hold together.
I think that the people who are supporting you will appreciate it and we’ll get back to which I’ve been experiencing. And I asked for the immediate fundraising for our 85 family of the students, that the response was very quick from our. Then right after that, I started to send them personal videos.
Thank you, newsletter. And just get back to them as quickly as you can so that they feel that they’re again, like getting updated and are aware of what’s going. Great
Kimberly: advice. So we’ve talked about fundraising and a crisis. We’ve talked about how you started your organization. I’m curious what it’s like for you to be the executive director of an organization that’s located in another country and you’re here.
How did you get all of that up
Fereshteh: and running? It’s interesting because yes, I’ve never been able to go back to Afghanistan since 2012, just because of my pending immigration. So I’ve done everything remotely. I think there’s like for me, one factor is to find reliable people on the ground that you feel so comfortable with them and they’re as passionate as you regarding the mission.
So when I wanted to start the code to inspire. I reached out to my former students in computer science. And I asked them, this is my idea who is interested to help me as volunteers. And I had a couple of them who were very excited and who helped me underground with everything, finding a place of recruiting students, raising awareness, purchasing everything.
So they literally helped me. Be my eyes on the ground. And it’s very important to have that element of honesty trust with the people you’re working on the ground and the passion, and then the beauty of technologies that like, it doesn’t matter where you are. If you have a laptop and internet connections, you can make a difference in any part of the world.
And I use that in my advantage. I raised funds online. I recruit boards online. I promote our work online and social media. I talk to my team online every week. They keep track of our notes. So technology has really enabled me a lot to be on top of everything and keep track of everything. And I think that was also.
Point for me being in the United States and my work entirely in Afghans.
Kimberly: That’s a great point. There are a lot of organizations who are nervous about using technology to fully operate their nonprofit organization. And here you are just embracing it going. I have to do this because I want to have this organization in Afghanistan.
And the only way that I can do it is to do it through the use of technology. And to have faith and trust in your volunteers. And that can be a challenge as well. We have a lot of accidental executive directors, nonprofit leaders, and fundraisers who are nervous about really empowering their volunteers.
We’ll hear from them. Oh my volunteer. I have a board. They don’t do a lot. We have volunteers, but they only do so much. You had to put a lot of faith in your volunteers. Was that hard in the beginning? Or what advice do you have to share?
Fereshteh: I might be the rare case because I didn’t have a lot of issues with them just because I was that prophecy in the university.
And I knew them for a couple of years and I knew their personality and they also like, they’re very excited about doing this. And once we raised in our funds in a year than I proposed them to be hired as part-time employee and later on full-time and I wanted to give them this environment that I care about their growth, and I acknowledge that they were with.
Uh, the organization, the first days, that was very difficult and do it for free. So I guess just embracing the contribution and then giving them a voice that I can hear them. Like I think what was very important for me to also hear their perspective and feedback on the ground, what they think is right.
And maybe I suggest something, well, it doesn’t mix. Because I’m not there on the ground. And the thing that I’m suggesting, maybe it’s not going to work well, but then they have an idea that might work because they are on Nicaragua and see. And I think for me and giving them this space that they can share their thoughts and feel welcome was something that they kept them very excited and to stay with.
Kimberly: you continue to feel connected to the instructors, to those volunteers, to the paid staff, to the girls from overseas?
Fereshteh: But do you have internal group chats? We use telegram and different messaging apps. So we have our own group chat, read the team, project manager and mentors and everyone. And then we have group chats for each plus with the mentor in them and myself.
And then we have. Chat with a aluminized. So we are always on a daily basis. If I see any opportunity, I’ll send the link to those groups with my staff. Of course, every week we have call just to overview the weekly performance, but also it’s the goal for the next step. And then on a monthly basis, I have the call that my board and the team in Herat so that they both can get on the same page.
Kimberly: again, you’re using technology to stay very embedded in the classes and in all of the day to day activities, which is truly fantastic. So as we talk about what’s next for Coda inspire, there’s one thing that I picked up on right in the beginning, which was your sharing that because of the Taliban now you’ve been able to expand and are expanding your reach beyond rat and into further parts of Afghans.
Is that something that you had originally planned and you had to fast track it or was it just based on the dire need out?
Fereshteh: We wanted to expand the program anyway, even before Talawan because of the received a lot of requests from girls all around Afghanistan. What we were a little bit cautious about just expanding the physical location and having an actual place.
Because of a lot of logistics and that was always a concern for us. If we open a physical location in another city, then there is security concern. The logistic concerns. There’s a lot of infrastructure issue too, but again, with the Taliban and the opportunity of online. Make it much more easier to expand, because at this point you only need to give the girls a laptop and internet connections, and they’re at home safe and they access to the system that we are giving them and they continue their education, or hopefully we’ll do remote work.
So that’s much more of an easier approach rather than having a centralized. That can be traceable and everyone can come and unfortunately can be target rather than this de-centralized approach. Let’s
Kimberly: next on the horizon from a fundraising stage.
Fereshteh: Uh, it’s the same. If you want to keep our program totally virtual and expand to other cities.
So we certainly need more laptops. We certainly needs more internet packages and also maybe smart phones for our students to get in touch in the group chats and everything. Once we have a better idea of what CDs we going to expand and how many students we want to outreach then for that. You’re going to raise funds to buy laptops, to buy internet packages, the smart phones, and give the equipments to our students.
Kimberly: pivot over to major gifts. Do you have a lot of major donors and how have you cultivated those relationships over
Fereshteh: the year? Yes, we do have some major donors. And it’s a combination of people who personally knew me for a couple of years and the work that I’ve done. And they just have major gifts.
Every year. There are people who just learn about me online, and then they reached out and they were very excited about what we do and then started giving to on to our organization and then dessert. Some of them aren’t people who got to know about me too. Fours or the people who knew me and they’ve been very generous and continue giving to our program every year.
Kimberly: That’s great. Do you meet with many of them one-on-one or do web calls, anything like that? You
Fereshteh: do? Yes. In person meetings when it’s possible. I met with some of them, but certainly personal email, personal video, or even call just when they have time just to talk to them. So I’ll try to keep the communication options as wide as.
Is there anything that you’ve
Kimberly: learned over the past few years as you’ve had those, are they as scary as people think that they will be.
Fereshteh: It’s interesting because I’m an introvert person and I really hate cold calls. It would be very difficult for me to just have a conversation with someone. And then especially when it comes about asking for money and donation.
So when it’s about people that you know them, or you’re getting to know them and I feel much more comfortable and I think people really appreciate it. Like they feel very happy. And they feel that they’re part of this journey with you. And I also, it makes me excited and happy too. So it’s good also to know the other aspects of people’s lives rather than just being a donor of what’s their hobbies or what they enjoy, what are the other things they do.
And when you have this more kind of personal eCommerce, That’s a very valuable, and I really enjoy when I have those conversations with our major gift donors or any donor. Who’s interested to talk to me. I always ask my donors. If you want to talk to me and ask questions, I’m happy to have a call. As
Kimberly: you have established your nonprofit and have grown it over the past few years, you’ve actually been in the media quite a bit.
How was that initially? And what advice can you give our listeners for managing those very public interviews? Things like that.
Fereshteh: Always good to be as public as you can regarding your mission. Not only because it will reach out to a lot of people to learn about your cause to understand what’s the situation on the ground, you know what, and just raise awareness about it.
What it can turn out to some contribution, it can be, people get interested and they want to support your cause. So they’d donate, They want to offer to volunteer or They want to come to a board. So like that also helps. Open more doors and avenues for partnership, collaborations.
So any possibility that they feel comfortable being on that platform, they want to be, they should take it because then that’s one more opportunity for you to reach new OT.
Kimberly: Your mission is very serious and inspiring and empowering but I go back to the word serious. How are you finding time for you and for some fun, and being able to just feel a balance day to day in the midst of a crisis in the midst of really hard time.
Fereshteh: I think it’s very important for you as a person who’s leading the organization full time. And when a time of crisis happened, especially very unfortunate, like the Taliban and the women education to have some time to just have for yourself, because you are going through a lot of different emotions and it’s very difficult for you to.
Digest all of them. And it puts you in a mental shock and I stayed that you will be very overwhelmed and then you may mentally broke down and you don’t know what to do. So just taking some time during the day, maybe just the same feel as listen to your favorite music. I go for a run. It’s actually.
Health wise for those only mentally, you can really stale a lot of stress and even making a favorite cup of tea for yourself and just sit down and have some quiet time. It is very important because it’s a past, not only with what happened to my organization, but also my family back in Afghanistan, and a lot of other emails of other peoples that reached out to me for support and help rather than our.
I couldn’t sleep well. I couldn’t eat well. I lost a lot of weights and it was very difficult because then if you, aren’t the only person who everyone put their hope on you to help you don’t have time to get sick, because if you get sick and you take a week or so, and you go through some emotional and health issue, then that’s not good for.
The organization that people you’re helping. Cause everyone is relying on you, especially in the time of crisis. So, yes, just to acknowledge that what’s going on around you, but also put it in a perspective that you are the one who is going to have. And you deserve to have some time for yourself. It can be an hour or two hour per day divide in different time zone.
You have to do that. Otherwise it’s certainly not very healthy for you mentally, physically, and not for the organization and your mission to help those people. And how are you
Kimberly: feeling today?
Fereshteh: I feel okay. I think I feel a bit better than maybe. August and September, just because he was very overwhelming with a lot of things.
Now that more or less, I don’t want to say it. Life is getting back to normal because it’s not normal, but at least you have an understanding of who’s there. What do you have some clarity regarding this situation? Then you might be able to put your head around, okay, what’s the next step? And things are not clear and chaotic.
It’s very difficult to come up with a plan and that’s clarity makes a lot of stress. So right now it’s a bit better for me to project and see what’s the next step. And I’m trying to get back on the track of doing more running and take care of my health and more mental care. But still the thing that there’s like a heavy weight on my shoulder, because some lives of all the girls, my family, a lot of people who reached out to me with the same ask.
If it’s sometimes very insignificant than you’re only one person and you can only do certain things. And I wish I had more resources and powers to do more. And I think the feeling of powerless makes you sometimes down and you have to acknowledge that. And that’s okay. So I’m doing my best. I’m trying my best to stay positive so that I can help more girls in Afghan.
Kimberly: As we wrap up, I’d love it. If you would give our listeners one piece of advice that you feel would just help them as they’re either navigating a crisis or starting a nonprofit, or just trying to fundraise for the first time.
Fereshteh: If you have faith and what you’re doing and love what you’re doing, remember that nothing is impossible.
People will come to help you and uplift you. And that’s the beauty of how as human they get together to make something happen. So you will be okay
Kimberly: for our listeners who might want to learn more about code to inspire or to reach out and ask you questions. How can they get
Fereshteh: in touch with. They can check our website.
Coat. Jen is fired at Orrick and our social media, especially you’re very more active on Twitter. My social media or coach inspire to see the updates from school and our current activities.
Kimberly: Now it’s time for the state of the sector brought to you by network for good. When a crisis hits, it’s important to immediately assess what and how that crisis might impact your organization for Farish day, when the Taliban began moving into Herat, she began communicating.
With her supporters and her donors through her newsletters. And she used video and pictures to really make her fundraising appeals very clear. She also surveyed her beneficiaries to come up with a data-driven fundraising goal so that she could show each and every donor, how their gifts would make a real impact.
On the crisis. Now, if your organization or your community is not in a crisis right now, there are ways that you can stay tied to current events. There’s a concept called newsjacking And the concept behind news jacking is to inject your mission or your brand.
Into current events.
An example of this would be in 2013 when the super bowl had a blackout. Tied posted on social media, an image that was all black and just had white letters on it that said, we can’t get your blackout, but we can get your stains out.
Kimberly: And so it was kind of a comical way of, uh, injecting a brand. Into a current news topic. Now those news topics can be serious. They can be humorous.
It’s important though, to really get it right. so I encourage you to do a little research before you try this, because you really want to be able to leverage speed accuracy and absolute common sense when you’re posting, something that is tied to a current event.
you may even want to run your idea by a couple of people to just kind of make sure that it sits in the right.
Kimberly: Also be sure as you think about this, that it doesn’t negatively impact someone’s first impression of your organization.And again, it can be lightening airy, or it can be serious. It just needs to tie well to your mission?
To wrap up this episode, what are the three things that you need to take away from this? Let’s go one, be clear in your communications to have faith in your volunteers and three don’t neglect your own wellbeing. Yes. Yes you can. I’m Kimberly. See you next time on accidental fundraiser and be sure to follow along wherever you get your audio.