Happy anniversary to the Real Diaper Association!
Where do we grow from here?
When Real Diaper Association launched our website six years ago today, we had big dreams of spreading our passion for babies in cloth diapers. We were going to have Real Diaper Circles in every state reaching out to talk to thousands of families face to face to help them learn how easy it is to use simple, reusable cloth diapers.
None of us had any nonprofit experience. What we didn’t realize is: it takes longer than you think it will to build a grassroots organization. It took us a year or so to find our groove.
And, it takes even longer with volunteers squeezing out an hour here and there. Hundreds of volunteers and a dozen board members have given many thousands of hours because they want to see more babies in cloth diapers.
And, it takes even longer on a tight budget. Many hundreds of business and individual donors have supported our work.
We have been fiscally conservative. We don’t do much that costs money, and we don’t spend much money when we do spend.
We have talked since long before our opening about having an Executive Director who could bring cloth diapers to the masses. We saved a small nest egg, but we knew that we didn’t have enough income from donations to sustain an employee long term.
A year and a half ago, we decided to risk success, and we conducted a thorough search for the right candidate to be our paid Executive Director.
We found Heather McNamara.
Since February 2009, Heather has built on the foundation of years of volunteer work. She has accredited many new, active Real Diaper Circle Leaders. She has chaired a joint campaign with the Real Diaper Industry Association to get more cloth diapers into daycare centers. She has created informational and social media campaigns, like the 100% reusable cloth diapers campaign to gather and distribute tips on travel, nighttime diapering, and laundry. She has networked with waste and environmental professionals to find ways that RDA can help them as they help cloth diapers. She has made active connections with cloth diaper businesses, activists, and volunteers. She has overseen fundraisers, like the 2010 photo contest and calendar and our campaign to raise $3,500 in 35 days.
During Heather’s first year job review, she told RDA board members that she has taken on RDA as part of her identity. I tell you this in hopes that you will understand how very lucky you and I and all of us are to have Heather McNamara working for cloth diapers.
We understood that by hiring an employee we risked spending our nest egg. We have managed to stretch our potential six months for an employee to eighteen months so far. Our $3,500 in 35 days campaign is helping us stretch funds further.
It has been worth every penny to take the risk. We no longer have a nest egg, but we have something better. We have a string of successes as Real Diaper Association and our volunteers work to fulfill our mission. We have a board that works through consensus and nonviolent communication. We have more than 100 volunteers currently in training to become Real Diaper Circle Leaders. This charitable organization has survived its infancy and is emerging into its adolescence.
We still need you. We have the solid foundation, the people, and their skills. We still need you to teach others about cloth diapers. We still need you to support the organization with your tax deductible donation.
Please wish Real Diaper Association a happy 6th anniversary today with a donation of any size either through Razoo or directly through PayPal by clicking the “Donate” button to the right.
Lori Taylor is the last of the RDA founders still on the board of directors. She was President of RDA from 2004-2010. Now she has semi-retired to become the Vice Chair and Faithkeeper of the organization.