Little Black Dress 2014 starts this Saturday, March 1st (or as soon as you can following that day). This is for all of you who are going to be doing it this year. Please confirm with me whether you are taking part this year, so I know who to continue sending emails too throughout the project. Also, feel free to forward this onward to anyone who might be interested! 
 
In the meantime, you all have asked me some questions. Here are the answers and then some!
 
1.) Why are we doing it?
At its face value, we are doing this to raise $ for organizations that are fighting human trafficking. BUT we are also creating awareness about human trafficking, challenging ourselves, and presenting to the world we are serious in caring about this issue at the same time we learn more about it ourselves.
 
 
2.) Can I wear two different black shirts/dresses, alternating them every-other-day?
I didn’t, but it is up to you. You can choose your own rules, but the goal is to challenge yourself to be uncomfortable with less options. If two of the same things is a challenge to you, then I am not stopping you! The past years, I have only worn one thing, as I feel like I need to do that to challenge myself. This year is my first year not doing that- I will be switching back-and-forth with two black things. I experience too much spit-up with a newborn every day to still manage to be presentable, needing an option without dried baby vomit on it. But this year, I DO feel like that in itself, two choices, will be a challenge for me. 
 
To learn more about the rules of the game, go to the “Escapist Rules” on this post:

Action: Little Black Dress Pt.2 (The How)

 

3.) What should I say with my pictures I post on facebook/instagram/twitter? Or should I send an email asking for donations?

Do both! Social media, of course. But an email is good to send out at least one time during the month, for those who aren’t on facebook. It at least presents an opportunity for people to give directly, so they will consider it, whereas on Facebook they can easily not get the posts or ignore them. Using Blind-copy (BCC) is ideal for this, because it creates privacy for those others you are asking, and it makes it harder to scapegoat giving to others. 

Here are some communication tools from last year to help you write these things in the following post- BUT PLEASE be sure to change to the current links! 

2013 Little Black Dress Support

 

4.) Do I have to post pictures everyday?

No, but those who do tend to get more donations. Or at least create more awareness! 

 

5.) Do I have to donate?

I think that we, who are doing the project, should set the example by leading the way. Whether it is $5 or $500, let your money be where your heart is.

 

6.) Who are we fundraising for? 

This year our goal is to raise a ton of money for A21 Campaign. Still, we have the option of asking people to donate funds to IJM or you can ask people to give to your local trafficking initiative instead. I’ve discovered having options is good, as sometime people might feel more passionate about a particular organization or location. Although I hope we shower financial encouragement down on A21 this year, I am not picky. The point is to raise $ to help end/prevent/restore trafficking victims. If you are not having people donating to these orgs, please keep track of how much is given. Our collective whole at the end is what we count towards our goal of 10K this year. 

 

7.) What is a link that we can post to direct people to an informational/fundraising page? 

Here are the fundraising links:

A21 Campaign: http://www.crowdrise.com/projectlbd-a21campaign

International Justice Mission: http://www.crowdrise.com/projectlbd-ijm

NoVA Human Trafficking Initiative
 
These are where you ask people to donate. They can donate to the campaign in general, or you can make your own fundraising page which links to the main one.
 
Or, you can just give out the Little Black Dress Project link which will link to the others: http://www.averageadvocate.com/2014/02/project-little-black-dress-2014/
 
 
 
 
8.) Should I make my own page?
The benefit of making your own linking page is that it keeps track of your own earnings separately, if you like to keep track of that. Also, it lets you know who is donating so you can thank them. On the other hand, that requires a bit more work to set it up and its nothing you have to do to make the LBD Project work for you. 
 
 
 
 
9.) How do I thank people for giving if I don’t make a page?
The reason I like Crowdrise.org is that regardless, unless someone makes an anonymous donation, it will let you know who donates scrolling down on the page and in an email (unlike some crowd-funding sites, like we found out last year). It keeps their information private while still giving you a chance to connect with them. 
 
In this case, I have someone managing the main project pages, she will probably get emails for who to thank unless they donate on your own page specifically. And as she won’t know half of those people, it will be your responsibility to see if the name of someone you know pops up on the main page after they made a donation. You can always ask us to forward the “please thank so-and-so” email from whomever you aren’t sure about. 
 
PLEASE THANK YOUR DONORS!
 
 
 
10.) Do I need to order a button or do you send one to me?
If you mail me your address, I will send you one.
 
 
 
11.) Do I have to wear the button?
No. But although the button isn’t sexy, it does help people ask questions at least a little bit more, and is therefore worth wearing in my opinion.
 
 
 
12.) How can I direct people to donate when the internet isn’t in front of us?
If you happen to have a conversation with someone who wants to donate/learn more, but you don’t have internet in front of you both, it is easier just to tell them to look up www.AverageAdvocate.com where they can find the info rather than trying to remember any of the fundraising links off the top of your head. Or one year I printed the link to the project page on slips of paper to give to people who asked. Also, people would give me random cash/checks (made out to me) for the project. Then, at the end of the month, I deposited the money into my account, and then made a donation to the fundraising page for that entire sum. Checks which were made to the specific organization I sent them on to the organization, after keeping track of what was given.
 
 
 
 
13.) How can we make an impact in our own community too? 
One of the most important ways you can make an impact on your community is by seeing who is doing what in the location where you are (is there a local anti-trafficking organization? Or recovery house? What is your state’s trafficking laws?). If you find an organization that seems legit (with $ and methods), let people know about it! Or offer to help them! While talking with local people about the LBD Project, feel free to direct people to that organization as well, find a group of people to volunteer for them, or even use that as what you want people to donate to this month.
 
Even when you are raising $ for A21, who works outside your community, you can leverage the opportunity to tell your friends,  “But, did you know it happens here too!” This usually shocks people and gets the word out. Creating awareness is the first step in prevention. 
 
If there are no local initiatives, feel free to talk with me about what a grassroots area looks like in your own area. Or how to begin researching what is going on there.
 
 
 
14.) What are some ideas about getting a group of people here started?
Almost everyone who has done this with me is because I either point-blank asked them too, or they saw me spamming their facebook news-feed for a month each year until they decided they wanted to try it. 
 
Last year we also did a party, and there was a happy-hour at a local restaurant, which encouraged a lot of people to care about trafficking who weren’t interested in doing the little black dress project themselves. I thought this was a great way to get the community involved and more aware.
 
 
15.) How Can I find out more information?
Go to these links or ask a question in the comments!
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  • Just found this today through research for a b-day fundraiser I’m doing through IJM. I really LOVE this idea of wearing something for a month!! Is it possible/too late to join with you? Do you know if there’s a way to link my page on IJM with LBD so it could go toward your fundraiser as well? I have some more questions too and would love it if you could email me.
    Thanks,
    Heather 🙂

    • Thanks, Heather! You can start late, but sooner is better if you can 🙂 one year a woman did it almost a whole month later 🙂 We can’t link the IJM page to the Crowdrise IJM page. But, you can either let us know how much you have raised and we will include it in our totals. Or you can open a new page on Crowdrise to go into our collective fund. Last year we used IJM’s crowdfunding page on their website, but had some issues with it. Hence, this year we stuck to Crowdrise. Regardless of what you choose to do, we can still totally consider you as part of this larger goal with you in your black something you choose to wear 🙂 That would be awesome! I will add you in our emails for the month as well!