By Russell K. King, HHRA Executive Director
A few weeks ago, I introduced myself and provided a brief overview of my approach to the HHRA. I let you know there’d come a day when I’d be asking for your help. Today’s the day.
Competition for charitable dollars is brutal. If you exclude the famous schools that receive huge sums from wealthy alumni, the list of charities receiving the most support in the past few years is focused on direct human needs—food banks, housing, etc.—as a response to the pandemic. We can expect donors to expand the range of the causes they support in the coming years, and we must position HHRA to be an attractive option for them.
As an emerging nonprofit, the HHRA has little name recognition. Telling our story to the people most likely to support us will be essential—but what is the story? Put another way, what do donors want to see in a nonprofit and what will they see when they look at the HHRA?
Donors want to feel good about supporting our cause. They will ask themselves: Is this cause is worthy of my gift, and can the HHRA be trusted to spend the money on that cause? With scientific and medical research, the perceived integrity of the organization is the perceived integrity of the research. They will also ask: Does the HHRA have an advocacy agenda or a financial backer it’s trying to support? Either perception would diminish faith in both the HHRA and its research outcomes.
The HHRA is ready for that donor inquiry. Yes, our cause of preserving maternal and child health via unique research is worthy. Yes, we can be trusted to use their gifts for that cause. No, we have nothing we’re trying to push or prove—we don’t care what the research reveals, we just want to make sure the questions are asked and answered. No, we serve no financial or business cause. We’re simply using science to help keep people healthy.
Here’s how you can help. First, donate then ask friends and family to do the same. Are you on one or more social media platform? Ask friends and followers to give and send them our link. Second, help us identify potential sources of larger gifts. Might your alma mater, hospital, university, professional association, medical society, or faith community give? Are there foundations, organizations, or wealthy individuals you know of that might support research into women’s health, children’s health, or food safety? Let us know.
This is one of those rare chances for us to genuinely come together as a community and make a difference in people’s lives. Let’s make the most of it.