Crowdfunding #WhenIBecameFree

Crowdfunding has been around for a while now but even so, I am finding that some do not understand how it works or why a creative or social project would choose to go that route. I cannot say why others have chosen this route, but I can explain why I did with the #WhenIBecameFree project. So, here we go...........

1) It is an excellent way to promote a project, especially one that focuses on social issues like domestic violence, child abuse, child sexual assault and/or rape.

2) People who decide to support a crowdfunding project are invested in it the moment they donate and I don't mean just being financially invested, I mean emotionally. They want to see the project become a success. It builds a community around the idea and goals of the project - all of which creates awareness. That is the main goal of #WhenIBecameFree

3) Projects are costly - there are real financial considerations for a project to be a success.
    A) Marketing - for instance with #WhenIBecameFree I spend money out of my pocket to purchase advertising. In the past, I have run ads in the newspaper and I continue to run ads on social media platforms. The ads that I choose to run are not to ask for money, but to promote awareness around what the #WhenIBecameFree project is and the survivors who have shared their stories. Once again, for #WhenIBecameFree, it is all about awareness.

    B) Time - I don't even want to calculate the time (real hours) I've put into this project - I think it would scare the hell out of me if I did and all of that started years ago when I came up with the #WhenIBecameFree idea. Below is a short summary of what has gone into this project.
       1) Website design and costs - including keeping the domain going for years.
       2) Graphic arts - time spent on creating all the graphic arts; logo, posters, memes
       3) Interviewing survivors - on average I spend anywhere between 2 - 4 hours for the interviews. Then there are follow up emails and conversations. For every survivor story I share a glimpse into on this blog, there are at least two more that will never see the light of day because while I met with the survivor, they were not ready for their story to be told. They were still caught in the drama and needed an advocate more than a writer to share their path with the world. If that is what is needed, then I do my best to guide them through the resources they need and be their support should it be sitting with them and in on a meeting with law enforcement or an agency OR just that ear when they need to vent.  This requires a lot of 1:1 time, which I freely give. I cannot just say, "Oh well, you're not ready, bye"   - that would go against everything that this project is about. #WhenIBecameFree is about healing - honesty - truths - support. I do my best to give them all of that and continue to even after the interview or meeting is over. Also, if the survivors I meet with have less than me, I buy them lunch or coffee. It is the least I can do.
      4) Research- My forte. Research takes up endless hours. It is what I am doing into the wee hours of the morning. I am constantly searching for new resources, updated information and yes, if there is information to back up a survivor's story, I will look for it and make sure I have it. That is the reporter in me - it keeps the integrity of this project intact and will help protect survivors should there be any questions from naysayers. Obviously, every claim cannot be substantiated, but those that can, will.
      5) Writing - The end result of this project is a book. A book about the lives of survivors, including my own story. To keep the pace of awareness and interest in the project going,  I share glimpses of this journey, here on this blog. Believe it or not, for each post I write, at least an hour and up to 2 hours goes into the writing. There are days it takes me just an hour to wrap my head around how I want to present something and get out that first sentence. From there I just let the words flow. This blog is not about perfection, it is about awareness and being real. When it comes time to put everything together for the book, which will begin this weekend, I expect to spend up to 8 hours a day, writing - for weeks. Then there will be editing... and more editing...and more.
     6) Outreach - This is a daily reality and need. You can find me on the phone, writing emails, or in meetings, presenting #WhenIBecameFree to anyone and everyone I can reach. When I am not doing that I am keeping the social media accounts for #WhenIBecameFree, updated. This is more than a full-time effort, it is a lifestyle. And that takes up every minute of my day. It is no different than an artist working on their painting or a musician giving their all to their music.
    7) Fundraising to keep me and this project going. Let's be real here, I have to be. I am a survivor that raised my two boys on a below poverty income for a vast majority of the last decade. It was only within the last few years I was able to get over that poverty line by working as an editor. The number of hours I put into that position factored into what I made, placed me well below the minimum wage. Now I am an empty-nester trying to get BadgerCare health insurance, self-employed doing side jobs while I nurse my health and autoimmune conditions because I can no longer count on my body being able to work a regular job.  I can pull out my laptop when I need to be in bed and work on those side-jobs and this project. The only way I can pull this project off is by fundraising to keep it and me going.  For every dollar gifted to this project, I am spending time making contacts, presenting the project, developing marketing ideas and carrying them out as best as I can. And why? Because I need the community invested in this project.....because IT IS ABOUT AWARENESS - It is about helping victims LIVE TO BE SURVIVORS.

All of the above is just to get to the point of self-publishing. It does not include all the outreach and marketing needed to get that book into the hands of readers. And why do I need to do that? For AWARENESS and raising funds.... those profits will not be sending me on vacation or buying me a new car, they will be invested back into the community that supported the #WhenIBecameFree project to begin with....

       50 percent of the profits will go to Survivors Offering Support, (S.O.S), Juneau County. A group that was started as an offshoot of the #WhenIBecameFree project and from when the survivors interviewed met and bonded to create change in our rural community that lacks resources, needed resources that could have made it easier for each one of them to break free. The money that goes to S.O.S. is to be split between a crisis fund for victims escaping abuse (Domestic and/or Sexual)  AND for Kelli's Haven, an initiative that will hopefully bring about safe places throughout our communities for victims to access whenever and wherever they can to call law enforcement and/or an advocate. Businesses, churches, and non-profits will need to sign on and go through training to work with people in crisis. Again, it is about helping victims live to be survivors and awareness.

      25 percent will go to ILead Charter School. When I first started this project I worked with the students at the school. To get the video documentary completed I will be once again working with one of those students. This effort will bring awareness to a younger generation and help that school keep doing the good work that they do.

      That final 25 percent will go towards recouping some of my losses by carrying out this project and then also for more marketing. Should there be anything left after that, it will become seed money for my next project, a children's book on trauma and emotions, illustrated by my son, Kyle, who is a survivor of growing up with domestic violence and alcoholism in our home.

     To date and from when I started the project a few years ago (granted it was on the backburner for a while and this summer has been a time to drive it home) I have raised under $1100 of the goal of $5000.  I have quite a bit more to raise.

Whew! I hope I have explained it all in a way that is understandable on why #WhenIBecameFree needs to be a crowdfunded supported....project.

I may be the main drive behind the wheels turning it all, but it is not about me - it is about awareness and hopefully saving lives while breaking the cycles of abuse.  It is about the community.  I just need to keep the lights on and a roof over my head to see it all through.

P.S. I really hate the fundraising aspect of this but it is a must. With that..........(but first the mandatory video every one my posts has)

Support the #WhenIBecameFree project by wearing awareness! For every shirt sold, $10 will go to support the project - getting it completed, published and distributed.  Shirts may be purchased here. If you're local to Juneau County, just email me and I will send you an invoice w/o a shipping charge.

Your support will help keep the project and me going to completion. All stories are being compiled into a book and mini-documentary -

GOOD NEWS - for that mini-documentary I will be working with a student from ILead Charter School who is an experienced videographer, Thomas Houy.

50 percent of the profits will go to Survivors Offering Support (S.O.S.), of Juneau County and to a crisis fund and Kelli's Haven. I will also donate 25 percent of the funds to ILead Charter School! The remaining profits will help recoup some of my losses and pay for promotions. This is not about me getting rich, this is about making our community and others - building resources and awareness.

Any and all donations are welcome!

Go Fund Me Page

Any way you choose to support this effort is greatly appreciated! Even if it is just sharing my blog, the website, or liking and sharing the Facebook page.  

Thank you to Wisconsin River Meats  and Benders' Family Restaurant for being official sponsors of #WhenIBecameFree. Give a like to their their Facebook page (click links above) and let them know how appreciative we all are that they are supporting survivors finding their voices!
Also, a new sponsor was added, my baby boy who has donated his own hard earned cash and in-kind support as he will be writing and performing the music for the video, Kyle Roberts.  Give a like to his Facebook page.

I am still working hard at getting donations, I know this is a new concept for many, crowdfunding a creative writing project such as this, and I do appreciate all who have donated! I am still well below my goal of raising $5k ...heck, I know I will get there. I believe in miracles.  This project will get completed!  All donors will receive recognition once the project is completed!


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