I recently attended a screening of The Story of Stuff followed by a talk by its creator, Annie Leonard, hosted by the San Diego Grantmakers coalition. She spoke to a room full of environmental funders about obstacles faced by the movement and she gave them suggestions about where they should put their money if they want to make a difference.
First, if you haven’t already seen the movie, go see it now – it’s only 20 minutes long, but it’s pretty powerful. (While you’re watching, think about diapers, then come back.)
In her talk, Annie Leonard said that there are a lot of great organizations out there doing work to improve the quality (health and safety) of what we consume, but very few of them which focus on reducing the overall quantity of what we consume – and that is absolutely critical. Here’s some good news – the Real Diaper Association (RDA) does both! By advocating for reusable cloth diapers, we help people choose better quality diapers (for babies and for the planet) AND use a lot fewer total diapers (which can be reused hundreds of times on multiple babies).
Annie Leonard went on to emphasize that the current materials economy doesn’t make people happy, and that studies show that the top things that make people happy are:
- quality of social relations
- coming together with others toward shared goals
- working for something bigger
In light of this, the structures at the core of RDA, our grassroots Circles, are perfect. It actually makes people happy to participate in a Real Diaper Circle and work together to help parents and caregivers find and use cloth diapers.
Environmental funders were listening to this advice. Now it’s time for us to show them how well RDA is prepared to succeed with our mission. We have a clear and important message and a huge audience still to reach. We have a stable, viable organizational structure and active, dedicated volunteers. In order to continue and expand our work, we need funding.
- We have over a hundred volunteers in training to create Circles around the U.S. and Canada. We need help guiding them through the training process and helping them create Circles to advocate locally for cloth diapers.
- We need to update and expand our compilation and analysis of diaper research to keep our often-referenced Diaper Facts current.
- We need to continue our outreach campaigns, such as the I Support 100% Reusable Cloth Diapers for All Babies campaign, which is compiling comprehensive advice on overcoming obstacles to using cloth diapers for distribution to parents and caregivers, and the Cloth Diapers in Daycare project, which we are conducting with the Real Diaper Industry Association to facilitate the use of cloth diapers in daycare.
These are just some of the reasons why we named fundraising one of RDA’s major goals for 2010. We’re looking for active Board members with experience with fundraising and /or research to help us. We’re also looking for someone to help with training volunteers to create Real Diaper Circles and to then help accredited Circles succeed with local advocacy – and our hope is to define this role clearly enough to obtain the funding to turn this position into a paid one. Are we looking for you? Can you help? Will you?
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association