Money can’t buy love, but sometimes a lot of love can bring in a big chunk of cash.
When we entered the Chase Community Giving Facebook Contest we knew our chances of winning were very slim. After all, there are lots of worthy causes that have been around for a lot longer than we have, and just the mention of the word “breastfeeding” still tends to provoke the boring, reactionary “breast vs. bottled formula” debate that gets little accomplished. Even though we all know that the real issue is the BOOBY TRAPS that hurt both formula feeding and breastfeeding moms. But thanks to a pep talk from Ingrid Harding, founder of Girl Power 2 Cure, we decided to give it a go. It helped a lot that the contest was geared towards smaller (under $1 million operating budget) non-profits, but we knew we were still facing incredible competition, and that given a competition-weary public (think Oprah Own Show and Pepsi Refresh, and bazillions of smaller ones) it would be tough to rally the troops.
And then you, dear friend, came in: our miracle makers, our guardian angels. We watched in amazement as our Facebook and Twitter and blogger friends “latched on” to the contest and started spreading the word. Kellymom.com’s Facebook page repeatedly urged their 15,000 (at the time) fans to vote. Phdinparenting got out the vote on Facebook and on Twitter and through her blog. Our most devoted social media-savvy sponsors and friends like Pumpease, 60 Second Parent, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Hot Mama Gowns, Moby Wrap, Posh Pads, Moboleez, Be Nice and My Baby Experts tweeted and posted TIRELESSLY—like a pack of bulldogs— about the contest. Amy West, our fearless Social Media Director who manages the Best for Babes Facebook page, cheered on our fans and breathed fun into a reminder to vote. Hundreds of breastfeeding advocates, companies and groups like Babies 411, The Leaky Boob and Breastfeeding Moms Unite shared the link with their friends and family members, knowing that a win for Best for Babes would be a win for every breastfeeding apparel and accessories company, every breastfeeding non-profit, every breastfeeding facebook page, every lactation counselor, and every mom. We’re all in this together, so a win for one is a win for all as we work to build the Mother of all Causes!
As the deadline got close we pulled out all the stops. Stephanie Knapp Muir, one of the babes behind the “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is not Obscene” phenomenon, rallied her 260,000 fans to get out the vote, giving us a critical boost so we could hold on to our spot in the top 200. Fit Pregnancy and The Family Groove graciously posted about us, and our celebrity babe Alysia Reiner and her husband, actor David Basche tweeted about us and spread the word to their friends. Our eyes and our hearts overflowed as we saw many of you, too many too list here (and we know we are missing important ones) hatch plans to swap gift votes with each other, and pepper various facebook pages with pleas to vote. Your love for moms and this cause was a clarion call that the time had come to end the judgment and get past the media hype . . . now was the time to come together and to beat the booby traps, the many insidious barriers parents face every day.
And you were heard! Amazingly, not only did we stay in the top 200, but we closed at our highest rank ever, # 69!! We are still stunned and pinching ourselves that we won, and didn’t want to count our chickens until the check was safely in the bank, as we still needed to pass a few tests set out by Chase Community Giving. We deposited the check yesterday. There are not enough words to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in us, and for showing the world that moms and babies have a right to make an informed feeding decision, and a right to achieve their personal goals whether that is to breastfeed for 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, or not at all. Breastfeeding and formula-feeding moms alike voted to show that it’s not just about the benefits of breastfeeding, but about doing the best you can and deciding what is best for you and your family within your personal situation. We all benefit when we take the pressure off moms and put it on the REAL booby traps that keep moms from giving their best.
Our commitment to you is to keep up the fight. We will use the Chase Community Giving grant to create more awareness of the barriers to breastfeeding among moms and in the media, and to fight for accurate information that is positive, encouraging to all moms, and WHO-Code compliant. We will get more exclusive breastfeeding celebrity interviews like Kelly Rutherford’s story into the mainstream media (e.g. People.com) so that greater numbers of expecting and new mothers can be inspired and be armed with evidence-based information and resources. We will start rolling out BYOBoobz™, houseparties designed to get communities to become breastfeeding-friendly and babe-worthy. We have more initiatives in the works than we can actually fund with $20,000 so we plan to use the grant to leverage fundraisers in your community. We need to raise money so we can roll out a ground-breaking new strategy that we have designed to beat the booby traps in doctor’s offices, hospitals, stores, restaurants, airports, at employers and in the media—-everywhere moms go where they are being humiliated, harassed or discriminated against, given misinformation or undermined. (Hint, if there are any grantwriters who want to volunteer, we could really use your help!) We will also use the funds to build our infrastructure and create more opportunities for moms and dads, friends and neighbors to be involved. You and your stories of being booby-trapped are what drives our cause.
We are so thrilled to be on this journey with you. Thank you for everything you have done to help us succeed and for being the wind beneath our wings. If we have left you out in our list of ardent vote-drivers above, please leave a note below–we truly want to recognize everyone but our memories are overloaded and rusty!