campaign: Digs for Water
raising the money: Natalia (fashionista + audio producer)
raised so far: $160
goal by the end of this week: $500
A cluttered closet was a red flag for Natalia — she had too much stuff, knowing that others in the world live without the basics. But instead of dropping off her extra “digs” at a thrift store, she decided to turn them into clean water. We caught up with Natalia to find out more about her campaign:
What’s the story behind your idea?
I’ve always had a sort of addiction to clothes. Shoe shopping cheers me up when I’m down and I almost always buy one, if not two pairs! When I find a pair of jeans I really like, I’ll buy the same pair in two different washes.
But as I was putting laundry away the other night, I was staring at my closet thinking what a luxury it is to have all of these great clothes (or “digs”, as the name of my campaign implies). I don’t NEED all of these clothes. I buy shoes when I’m sad, for crying out loud. Meanwhile, there are entire families crying because a child is sick and may even die from not having clean water.
I’ve started this campaign to do my part and help make this place we call home a better place for those who can’t help themselves. I’m going to raise $500 to build clean water projects.
I will be doing this by selling off clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. that I’ve never worn or owned for years.
“Here I am with 200 shoes, when there are people with no shoes. And trying to justify the fact that each pair was only $20 doesn’t help.”
Where’d you hear about charity: water in the first place?
I first heard about charity: water online. I did all sorts of research and was just blown away. Growing up, I spent the majority of my summers working with non-profits and humanitarian organizations. After I learned about charity: water, I knew I wanted to do something great, not just a simple donation of $20.
So when did your idea to sell clothes come to fruition?
I’m from Colombia and was planning my family reunion. When my family travels there, we usually bring our old clothes to hand out to the poor people that live in the streets.
(In the early 80s, my uncle founded Fundacion Niños de los Andes, a non-profit that rescues children from the streets of Colombia to house, feed, educate, and prepare them to rejoin society along with many other great things.)
My original thought was to donate everything I cleaned out of my closet to the foundation, but, when I pulled everything out, I realized it would be difficult to transport. That’s when I had the idea to instead sell what I had and donate that money to a charity, like the foundation.
(Don’t worry! While my family and I were in Colombia in June, we bought several of the kids new shoes and materials needed for the foundation’s newest housing development.)
In your mission statement, you talk about an “addiction” to clothes… a lot of people can relate to that. Can you explain your purpose in cutting back on material stuff, beyond selling it for donations?
Haha. Yeah, this is why I loved the idea. When you live in a country like ours, where opportunities are abundant (despite the economic state of things), it’s easy to settle into a material state of mind. I’m not rich by any means but I have plenty to be thankful for, both in material and immaterial things. Looking into my closet that day just made me realize how easily blinded we become to what’s happening outside of our own little worlds.
I have nearly 100 pairs of shoes (many of which only cost me $20) but who NEEDS 100 pairs of shoes?!
Here I am with two feet and 200 shoes, when there are people with two feet and no shoes. And even trying to justify the fact that each pair was only $20 doesn’t help.
The first thing I read on the charity: water website is that with just $20, you can help one person get access to clean water. It was a huge slap in the face! The good kind…
Of course, once I thought about shoes, I cleaned out my clothes, I cleaned out my purses, etc. All the while, the guilt kept setting in… I even contacted friends in the music industry about donating autographed materials to my cause (and got some from bands like Journey, Heart, Royal Bliss and In This Moment, but I have yet to put them up…).
The point of this project came down to four things:
2) In the end, it would be for a great cause.
3) Whoever supported my cause would get something tangible out of it (I don’t believe that we should get things for giving things but some people need a little incentive!).
4) Maybe I’d motivate other people to do something good for mankind, like volunteer their time, donate whatever money or skills they have to a cause they believe in, or maybe even just help promote causes that they know others can help with.
What kind of response have you received from your idea?
Everyone I mentioned the project to loved the idea and was very responsive about helping out and spreading the word. They all agreed it would take some work but I had a friend immediately buy a pair of shoes from me to help me kick off the project.
To be honest, if I don’t meet my goal of raising $500 by July 22 [when the campaign closes], I’ll keep going until I do! So much was happening when I launched my project that it impeded me from really pushing it hard but, as I mentioned, I absolutely vow to keep promoting it until I meet my goal!
What do you plan to do to promote your campaign?
I’ve been promoting it via Facebook, Twitter, my blog and in person. I’m going to really start pushing it this week again to try and meet my goal by July 22… so tell your friends!
Any advice for others who are thinking of starting a creative mycharity: water campaign?
DO IT. There are so many creative ways to raise money for a cause like charity: water’s; one you believe in. Find something you’re good at or tap into your resources and pitch it. I’m sure there are groups you’re a part of, whether it’s a local organization, club, friends you hang out with regularly, or even your job, where you can promote your project and ask your people to donate or even just help spread the word.
If you really believe in your project, it’ll happen. But at the end of the day, my advice is to just DO IT. Do something great for someone else. What do you have to lose?