Priya – Fundraiser Spotlight-GFD-OBTM What inspires you to fundraise for Plan International Canada? / What do you admire about Plan International Canada? Plan International Canada is honestly one of my favourite charities that I’ve worked with. I really look for community led solutions and long term sustainability in the charities that I work with, and the Because I am a Girl campaign is one of the strongest examples I have seen of those values in my career. I really appreciate that they go only where they are invited, and typically stay for 12 years; that’s the kind of commitment that can actually lead to real change. As a student, I wrote a paper demonstrating that education for women was a major factor in the economic improvement of communities; when women are educated, able to work, and/or control the finances of their homes, the impact on poverty reduction is significant. I am honoured that I have been able to directly impact such initiatives through fundraising for BIAAG and ensuring that women have access to education, vocational training, and opportunities beyond what they have traditionally been offered. Especially coming from India, I know so many millions of women do not get these opportunities. There is so much work still to be done to advance the rights of women and girls worldwide, and especially in light of the devastating impacts of COVID-19. That’s why I feel it’s more important than ever to support PLAN International’s work; not just for this generation of women, but the generations after them that will grow up in a safer and more equitable world with women as leaders in their lives. Share the most memorable donor interaction you experienced. I have been fundraising with PLAN on and off since the summer of 2019. It was such an incredible experience talking to community members in Hamilton and the GTHA about the work of Because I am a Girl, because I met so many women that I connected with over our experiences of womanhood. To be able to come together as donor and fundraiser to support women we had never met before was a great privilege, one that I got to continue when I began telefundraising for PLAN. One such experience was with a young woman who was around my age named Deb. When I told her about the initiative, she didn’t think twice before saying yes. By the end of the call we almost felt like kindred spirits because we just aligned exactly on the rights of women and on doing what we could when we were lucky enough to have the capacity to do so. It reminds me of this quote: “That’s what this work is all about: small, incremental change every day. We believe in extending a hand. But not to push, or to drag someone else along. We believe in seeing the best in other people, helping them become their best selves, so that they in turn will be able to do that for someone else.” I believe that’s what we do with our donors, and that’s what we do with the people who benefit from our work. What is your favourite information/fact about Plan International that you like to share with donors? My favourite fact about Plan has to be that it is community led. 90% of employees on the ground are local, and only going where they are invited means that the solutions they create are really coming from the ground up. I’m a big fan of grassroots movements and Plan International makes those happen on a grand scale. What advice would you give a new fundraiser? Take the time to really get to know the work. Ask questions and read the articles and the testimonials. It’s easy to list off statistics, but what people really connect with is shared humanity and the very real impact of those statistics. People want to help, but we have such a bad news cycle in the media these days that it is far more impactful to share how we can and do make a difference, as opposed to shocking people with statistics of all the problems that still need to be fixed. When you can inspire people, they feel like their donation will actually make a difference in someone’s life.