Finding a way to describe the intangible has been my long time goal as the founder and president of Pearls for Creative Healing. How do you quantify the healing effects of art and the work that has literally transformed victims of abuse in to survivors? How do you gain champions and ultimately financial support for a growing nonprofit?
When I started my SEED20 journey, I was in the process of garnering the much-needed exposure for our cause and our mission. While I was good at sharing the story of our organization, “closing the deal” was possibly my biggest challenge. “The deal” can be abstract at times out here in these streets. One day we need human capital for a project, another creative minds for a marketing campaign, still another the almighty dollar to keep art supplies in the hands of our program participants.
The truth is, for many grassroot nonprofits the struggle is not in planting the seed. The struggle lies in having the right people who will cultivate those seeds. SEED20 gave me the opportunity to learn how to plant the most important seed the story of my organization and use it cultivate relationships that have helped us in so many ways.
At first, crafting a pitch for Pearls felt difficult and inorganic. It wasn’t a warm and fuzzy process. I had to analyze who we are as an organization, why we matter, what we have accomplished–and then ask for what we needed. As a creative and a “feeler”, this was a challenge. I needed the audience to feel the emotions that we deal with when working with survivors. I also needed the numbers to show the needs of the community, and how our program with funding could be a catalyst for some real change. My pitch at SEED20 OnStage! landed us as a finalist in the competition. While we did not win the top prize, we were able to leverage our experience to help share the message of what we do–and gain the cultivators our program needed so greatly.
Through SEED20, we have been able to grow our outreach program with the help of our summer fellow, Courtney Ruth (Davidson College ’15). Courtney came to us through a contact who attended the SEED20 OnStage! event. Additionally, we were able to connect with a local donor through Foundation for the Carolinas and acquire more visibility for our organization. Connections made through SEED20’s Sponsor Appreciation Night have now become wonderful allies in propelling our organization forward.
As a SEED20 alumni, I now feel I can share how our organization helps change women from victims to survivors–and I use my pitch regularly to create a compelling case to help grow our organization.