Asking for help: A Tennessee CCLer finds fundraising confidence & success

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Asking for help: A Tennessee CCLer finds fundraising confidence & success

By Davia Rivka

What’s harder than working to slow climate change? Asking people for money to slow climate change. When Nashville native and resident Frankie Fachilla began to get some level of comfort with the first challenge, she pressed on and took on the second challenge.

Frankie Fachilla

Frankie Fachilla

Before finding CCL, she had been wandering around in the wilderness of climate despair, feeling helpless and hopeless, having arguments with friends and family who didn’t believe that climate change was real. It was on an international conference call hosted by a Buddhist organization that she learned about CCL. Participants went to separate chat rooms, and she was paired with a guy doing international climate work. “I felt so ashamed. I had done little things like clean the river, but nothing that I felt really made any difference,” Frankie remembered. “He was such a good listener that I kept talking, until I couldn’t hold back my tears and broke down crying. I was so sad. While I was crying, he did a Google search for climate organizations in Nashville. First thing that came up was CCL. That’s how I found CCL—with the help of some guy I’d never met, who didn’t even live in the same country!”

Becoming an active volunteer

Frankie started her story slowly, but as soon as she started talking about CCL, her words tumbled over one another. It was love at first sight. “I went to the very next meeting, which was right after the midterm elections in 2014. A lot of Republicans won congressional seats at that election. I was so impressed with CCL’s reaction to that election, affirming that it was now more important than ever to reach out to Republican offices and tell them about this bipartisan solution to climate change. For a gal like me, who has always lived in a solidly red state, this was a revolutionary method. For the first time, I felt like an important part of my own democracy rather than a throwaway vote in every election.”

The next June, she made her way to Washington D.C. for the national conference. “It was amazing. I was so incredibly nervous in the first few congressional meetings, I was literally shaking. I had been to a few in-district meetings, but being in D.C. feels like a different ball game. They don’t just listen, they ask questions too. The group leader mentored me, and I soaked in everything she did and said.”

In the next year, Frankie went to monthly meetings, became the leader of her chapter, scheduled and attended local meetings with Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker’s offices, and participated in outreach activities and presentations on CCL advocacy in the community. Oh, and worked full time and supported her family. In true CCL fashion, she was about to stretch her comfort zone even more.

Learning to ask for support

In 2015, she funded her own trip to the national conference. But in 2016 she decided to ask for donations. It made Frankie squirm to ask people for money. But she persisted and made a crowdfunding profile with a link to her social media accounts and was pleasantly surprised by all the support she received.

Inspired by a media story, she decided to face down her fear of rejection by asking for things with the goal of being told no. The more often she asked, the more no’s she got, and the freer she felt. “I wanted to know that I would be fine even if I got rejected. I wanted to stop being so afraid and bound up. It worked!” With new confidence, she asked the members of her local CCL group to step up their involvement. And it made a difference in the way she asked for money for this year’s conference.

Instead of only putting a link up to her crowdfunding profile on Facebook, she reached out directly to people and asked for their support. “I shifted the way I was thinking about my request. I realized that it was a way to ‘bring people with me’ to be a part of the lobbying experience and to let my MoCs know how many people from the district funded my trip. The more I thought about it, the more passionate I felt about the fact that it was okay to ask for people’s financial help. Being able to lobby in D.C. for a cause like this shouldn’t be a privilege for the wealthy alone. I’m discovering that people want to support me and want to support this work.”

This year, it took Frankie less than two weeks to reach her goal! Now, she is helping others in her chapter fund their trips by reaching out to other constituents in Tennessee.

Stretching comfort zones

Climate change will not be reversed from the comfort of our lounge chairs. We are being called on to speak up, stand up, and take on tasks that make us squirm. It is the willingness to move beyond that very squirming that builds character. Frankie will be in Washington in June. She will meet with her members of Congress, and she will tell them that she was sent there by her friends and neighbors, that her voice includes their voices.

Now it’s your turn. Make some outrageous requests. Ask your friends and family to help fund your trip to Washington, D.C., or to start a CCL chapter in their city, or to give a public presentation about climate change. Be surprised by their willingness to support this work. People want to make a difference. By asking them to contribute, you may be the one who is giving them that opportunity to do something that matters. They might even thank you for it.

For more ideas and support with fundraising, visit the “Raise Funds” page of CCL Community. And don’t forget, CCL has some scholarships to the June 2018 conference available for people of color and for conservatives. Click here to learn more.

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Davia Rivka is a Los Angeles-based climate change warrior who is hard at work on her second book: a collection of inspirational stories about the extraordinary work of Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers. Check out her blog at daviarivka.com.

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