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  1. Phi Beta Sigma and the SCDAA Have Partnered to Raise Awareness and Funds for Sickle Cell Disease

    July 17, 2018 by Andrea
    Phi Beta Sigma

    Photo for illustrative purposes only

    A couple of months ago, The Links Foundation, Inc. donated $1 million specifically for sickle cell research to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. And just 10 days ago, another prominent Black nonprofit -- this time a Greek organization -- announced its partnership with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. 

    The members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. see themselves as "a brotherhood of conscious men actively serving our communities," and as part of that this year, they'll be working alongside the SCDAA to help raise awareness of sickle cell disease and its trait and help raise funds for related research. 

    Their first official act will be joining in on the SCDAA's 5th Annual National Sickle Cell Walk with the Stars & Move-a-Thon on August 18, 2018 at Baltimore's Canton Waterfont Park. After that, Phi Beta Sigma will continue its partnership by helping organize bone marrow and blood drives, as well as educating their communities and assisting with fundraising. 

    "Phi Beta Sigma understands the deep impact that sickle cell disease has on our communities," the frat's international president Michael Cristal said in a press release on sicklecelldisease.org. "We are excited to lend our efforts to raising funds for this important cause." 

    The Walk/Move-a-Thon is open to everyone, so if you live in the Baltimore area and you'd like to participate, sign up to do so here.

  2. The McCourty Twins are Coming Through with a New SCD Fundraiser

    November 13, 2017 by Andrea
    Photos: Instagram/mccourtytwins; ISlide

    Photos: Instagram/mccourtytwins; ISlide

    NFL stars Devin and Jason McCourty are always representing the SCD cause through their Tackle Sickle Cell campaign, which, according to their website "aims to educate the public, increase blood donations, and raise money and awareness" for this inherited disorder. They first became aware of sickle cell as kids because their father carried the trait and an aunt and uncle lived with the disease. "I remember we took a blood test at 5 years old to see if we carried the trait, as well, and it was a relief when we learned we didn’t,” Devin stated on their website, tacklesicklecell.org. Jason continued, "Growing up, we were very close to our aunt Winifred, and she battles with the disease daily going through many trials and tribulations. Her passion to keep fighting through everything that comes her way has driven us to try to make a difference and draw awareness to the terrible disease."

    Besides their periodic casino night-themed fundraisers and hosted blood drives, this year, as Boston's Fox 25 News reports, the duo has partnered up with ISlide4Good to sell their own custom flip-flops. Each pair sells for $49.99 with Tackle Sickle Cell receiving $20 of each sale to put toward the Embrace Kids Foundation and sickle cell research. 

    Launched in 2013, ISlide is a footwear company that allows their customers to personalize their footwear, the slides (slip-on flip-flops) became the most popular option. Then came ISlide4Good, a "program that helps bring awareness and fundraising to sport-based nonprofits locally and around the country." Teaming up with a new nonprofit each quarter,  ISlide provides a unique fundraising opportunity.

    The McCourty's campaign runs through Black Friday, so it's the perfect way to kick off your giving (and giving back). To help the twins reach their goal of $10,000, click here to snag your own set of slides.

  3. Performance Aims to Bring Sickle Cell Awareness to the Stage

    August 28, 2017 by Andrea
    tough blood performance

    Photo: Twitter/@QuietVoice

    A London-based performance group is using entertainment as a way to increase visibility of SCD for Sickle Cell Awareness Month with a show called "Tough Blood." Infusing "street dance, projection, and sound design," this multimedia program will highlight real stories of real warriors ages 16 through 24 of Caribbean descent to encourage audience members to reflect on the disease and all who are affected by it in some way.

    "Drawing on the history of black resistance and scientific research of the disease, the piece brings personal insight and seeks to open up questions around genealogy and perceptions of Sickle Cell Anemia," states a portion of the production's description on Eventbrite.

    If you live in or around the London metro area, consider adding this event to your Sickle Cell Awareness Month agenda. The show will be held on September 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Copeland Gallery in Peckham, and all funds from ticket sales will be donated to the Sickle Cell Society.

    For the latest details, be sure to follow Tough Blood on Twitter.

  4. 4 Fundraisers to Support In Preparation for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    August 15, 2017 by Andrea



    [*NOTE: Each of these fundraisers is hosted on Booster.com (a division of Custom Ink), but all funds will go to the sickle cell group that is organizing the fundraiser. Also, in case you're wondering, the models seen in the mockups are Booster.com's default -- the site does not currently offer models of any other skin tone.]

    September is less than three weeks away, and that means National Sickle Cell Awareness Month is just around the bend. Since 1983, when September was first officially recognized as the month to promote sickle cell advocacy, organizations and individuals across the country have concentrated their efforts through various campaigns. 

    Some groups are getting a jump on their outreach this year by providing apparel for every warrior and supporter to wear next month as part of their own endeavors to educate their communities about this oft-forgotten disorder. Here are four fundraisers to support now -- you'll not only get some new threads that show your support for the cause, but you'll also be helping to fund sickle cell awareness and research projects. 

    1) "Diagnosis is Not Destiny" hoodie
    This benefits Supporting Our Sicklers (S.O.S.) Parent and Guardian Support Group, which "is committed to advocating for, serving, and providing Sickle Cell Disease education to parents and guardians of children with all types of Sickle Cell while supporting research for a cure and improving awareness in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas." Hoodies are only $35, but hurry -- there's just one day left to order. 

    2) "Proud Supporter For a Cure" tee
    This campaign only has 3 hours left (and sadly, no supporters -- yet). Back this nonprofit -- its "mission is to broaden public awareness about Sickle Cell Anemia Disease and the need for better health services" -- before time runs out. One tee is only $20. 

    3) "Hustle Over Pain" tee
    No Pain In the Playroom's goal? To travel to Alabama and speak about sickle cell awareness and advocacy. "This campaign is to empower people with Sickle Cell Anemia and other [sufferers] of pain, and support our organization to continue to spread sickle cell awareness across the nation." Help them fulfill their purpose, while giving back to the community yourself, for just $20. 

    4) "Sickle Cell Strong" Short-Sleeved Tee or "Warrior" Long-Sleeved Tee
    Hosting informational events and the cost of purchasing materials for those events can get overwhelming, especially for small operations. Give back by giving to The Crescent Cell, an organization that collects and shares stories of warriors, as well as hosts events that educate communities about sickle cell disease. 

    Have you contributed to one of the campaigns above? Tell us why in the comments below!

  5. Fundraising Trends to Watch for and Implement in 2017

    March 28, 2017 by Andrea

    mobile fundraising for sickle cell

    If there's one constant in this world, it's change -- and that includes your fundraising methods. Throughout each year, you and your team need to reevaluate your sickle cell awareness goals and how much money is needed to achieve them. Of course, you'll always have that group of loyal donors who are down for your cause, but solely relying on them and not appealing to new supporters is a fast way to stagnation.

    This year, expanding your group of givers will require you to embrace mobile technology. Implement the fundraising trends below and see your troupe of donors diversify and grow.

    1) Stay Social
    Most people access social media -- think Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook -- on their mobile devices, so the updates you share on these platforms should be mobile-friendly. Encouraging them to click through to your website? Make sure your site is optimized for mobile. Downloading those social media apps to your phone is also imperative. You want to be able to respond to potential fundraising supporters quickly and efficiently, and if you're out and about and not near your computer, doing that will be difficult. To really ensure your messages are seen even if you don't have a large following yet, purchase social media ads that show well on computers and mobile devices.

    2) Crowd Source
    Once you've begun to establish a solid social media presence, take that another step forward and do some fundraising through online channels. Not only does this help save money you would have spent on a venue, promotional materials, entertainment, catering, and other incidentals, it will also help you reach a new demographic of prospective supporters -- people who may not want to or have time to attend an event, but would still like to give toward sickle cell research and awareness. Our top three favorite mobile-friendly crowdsourcing platforms? Booster, Pear, and GoFundMe.

    3) Recurring Donations
    If gyms, magazines, and Netflix can do it, so can you -- it's called an automatic renewal. Much more efficient than chasing down past contributors for another round of giving, only to have more than half of them not respond, recurring donations are the best way to ensure money stays coming in on a regular basis. Begin by setting up a recurring donation program (that donors can opt out of at any time) on your website -- using PayPal is a quick, mobile-friendly, and easy way to get started. To keep things simple, make the fundraising recurrences monthly. That way, as soon as someone signs up to donate a certain amount, that same amount will automatically be deducted from their accounts and sent to you each month.

    Have you tried any of these fundraising trends? Tell us how it went in the comments below!

  6. Celebrity Sickle Cell Warrior and Advocate T-Boz is Back at it Again with a Benefit Concert for SCD

    December 19, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: tbozunplugged.com

    Photo: tbozunplugged.com

    Your love of '90s hip-hop and R&B is just as strong as your desire to give back, and now, you can combine the two for the ultimate Christmas gift: tickets to T-Boz's third annual Unplugged benefit concert. The legendary recording artist will be joined on stage by Da Brat and Naughty by Nature for a performance of throwback hits during Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.

    Scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 at the Avalon Hollywood, this concert will raise funds for the MLK Sickle Cell Outreach Center of Los Angeles and for the Sickle Cell Support Group of Atlanta. The MLK Center just opened a sickle cell clinic this past summer to make up for the loss of treatment centers for adults, a loss which has caused the life expectancy of sickle cell warriors in L.A. to drop to just 40 years old. Donations to the Sickle Cell Support Group of Atlanta will help with continued community outreach, health care seminars, nutrition workshops, and more.

    “I’m humbled to be in Los Angeles to continue to support Sickle Cell Disease awareness with some of my close friends and musical colleagues. This event is inspirational for me because I can openly share my experiences living my life with Sickle Cell Disease while I perform for my fans in a personal way,” T-Boz said in a recent press release. “I want to create awareness through T-Boz Unplugged, I want to educate people about the disease, help save lives and ultimately find a cure for Sickle Cell Disease.”

    Get your tickets here, and as an added bonus, you can treat yourself to a meet-and-greet with T-Boz, herself!

  7. Here’s How to Make the Most of Giving Tuesday

    November 21, 2016 by Andrea


    Still looking for a cause to support this Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29)? Consider donating to a nonprofit that works to improve sickle cell awareness. Every little bit helps, so donate whatever you're able, and then, encourage your friends and family to do the same. Not sure where to start? Check out our round-up of sickle cell charities based at home and abroad: 

    1. Sickle Cell Disease Association of America: The SCDAA is committed to sickle cell research, education, patient services, community services, and giving support to global organizations that work toward SCD awareness. For more than 35 years, this nonprofit has partnered with government agencies, medical facilities, and others to increase funding and understanding of sickle cell. Make a tax-deductible donation here.

    2. American Sickle Cell Anemia Association: The oldest sickle cell organization in the U.S. (going strong since 1971), ASCAA works to provide "quality and comprehensive services through diagnostic testing, evaluation, counseling and supportive services to individuals and families at risk for Sickle Cell Disease." Click here to donate.

    3. Children's Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc.: As an organization specifically geared toward helping kids with sickle cell, CSCF's mission is to "provide social, educational, and economic support for children with sickle cell disease and their families." Not only do they focus on raising awareness for SCD, but for sickle cell trait, as well. Donate here.  

    4. Sickle Cell Society: Based in the UK, SCS uses its donations to fund patient care, research, and educational projects that benefit sickle cell warriors. Some of their project include providing vacations for children with SCD, publishing information literature, and hosting seminars about sickle cell awareness, among other activities. To make a donation, click here.     

    5. Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario: Through initiatives such as community awareness and scholarship grants for students with sickle cell, SCAGO -- a Canadian nonprofit -- is dedicated to improving knowledge of SCD throughout Canada. Here's how you can donate.  

    Which of these organizations do you plan on supporting this Giving Tuesday? Do you have a favorite sickle cell nonprofit that's non included in this list? Add it in the comments below!

  8. How to Find Sponsors for Your Next Sickle Cell Fundraising Event

    August 1, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: stocksnap.io

    Photo: stocksnap.io

    Fundraising is crucial in the fight against sickle cell, and we've talked a lot about that here. One thing we haven't touched on yet? How to find sponsors, so that you can actually pull off that benefit concert, that casino game night, or that silent auction. Check out the tips below, and then, get started planning! 

    1) Decide on sponsorship levels and benefits.
    Before you ever approach anyone (more on that, later), you'll first need to determine exactly what benefits you'll be offering to your potential donors. How many levels will there be? How much will each level cost? What benefits will fall under each level? Definitely take a look at several examples of how others have set up their benefits, and learn even more, here

    2) Research, research, research.
    Sure, there are tons of business and brands out there that sponsor events all the time, but that doesn't mean that they all fall in line with your mission. Take time to fully research companies that have a track record of donating to medical research or that serve your demographic in a relevant way. Then, you can ensure that the potential partnership is truly mutually beneficial.

    3) Make your first move.
    Once you've identified a list of several possible sponsors, it's time to reach out -- preferably over e-mail. E-mail is less intrusive than cold call and allows the recipient to read through and respond to your e-mail when it's most convenient for them. Personalize each e-mail you send as much as possible by referring to any relevant past projects the company has contributed to, mentioning a shared contact who recommended you connect, or something similar. Need some inspiration? Check out these e-mail templates. (Note: These templates are just a starting point. In your e-mail, be sure to lay out exactly what you're looking for in a sponsor and why they should contribute.)

    4) Follow Up.
    This is super important. Many times, you'll find that your first (second, or even third) round of e-mails goes unanswered. Don't settle for the sound of crickets in your inbox -- follow up about a week after your initial contact, and frame your message with a friendly tone that just suggests that perhaps your first e-mail slipped under their radar. You know they're busy and you wanted to make sure your note didn't get lost. If you still do not receive a response, send another two to three follow ups before deciding that this particular donor isn't going to end up working out.

    5) Seal the deal.
    Congrats, you've landed your first sponsor! Now what? Go ahead and schedule a phone/Skype/in-person meeting to go over their benefits and how you plan to deliver them. Then, send a thank you note -- either via e-mail or regular mail -- along with a sponsor contract and how you plan to accept payment.

    The process of finding donors for your next event can take months, so be sure to start planning well in advance. Once sponsors start signing up and committing to your event, you'll be able to nail down a solid budget and get to the fun part!

    Have you ever gotten sponsors for your sickle cell event? Share your own tips in the comments below!

  9. How People Plan to Celebrate World Sickle Cell Day Around the World

    June 14, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    World Sickle Cell Day is Sunday, just six days away. Here are just a few examples of how warriors all over the world are planning to celebrate and raise awareness:

    Presented by the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation, several events will be held in various parts of the country. Examples of these events include free genotype testing and genetic counseling, visits to sickle cell warriors in hospitals, awareness walks, art exhibit, and more. Plus, there will be a companion social media campaign, so that others outside of Nigeria can also participate.

    While there will be hundreds of events across the 50 states, we'll be highlighting one in Michigan for this post. Hosted by the Michigan Chapter of the SCDAA, "High 5 for Sickle Cell" will be a campaign focused on educating people about five facts and myths related to sickle cell disease. As the Michigan Chronical reports, the five items to be addressed are as follows: pain, lifespan, trait, treatment, and race.

    This year, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada is taking action by setting up blood drives throughout the country. Click here to learn how to register yourself (along with your family and friends!) and find a clinic near you.

    It's all about a day of family fun to raise awareness for SCD in Wolverhampton. This third annual World Sickle Cell Day event, held at Hickman Park in Bilston, will include a host of games, refreshments, live music, raffle prizes, and more!

    What events are going on near you? Leave the info in teh comments below for others to see and join!

  10. How One Man Uses Art to Raise Awareness for Sickle Cell Disease

    May 23, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Patreon

    Photo: Patreon

    A self-proclaimed PAINter, Hertz Nazaire has been creating artwork depicting his experiences with sickle cell disease for years. One of his current projects? Collecting photos of warriors who've lost their battle, as well as photos of those who are still very much in the fight, so that he can make them into art and put them on display at his next show in September -- Sickle Cell Awareness Month. "I am a warrior [and] I struggle with the pain of sickle cell disease, so some of my art is created for the awareness of that struggle that is shared by many around the world," Nazaire says on his Patreon site

    In order for him to successfully carry out his mission -- for this project and others to come -- he not only needs photographic submissions, but also donations to help fund his work and its distribution. "It is frustrating when you want to give your heart to something, but you are held back by money. This drives a creative person to the point of madness," he writes. "So, this is the action I took as a result of my anger. I started this Patreon to ask for help to find patrons willing to support my voice and help me create my art."

    Maybe you've been looking for a way to help the sickle cell community, but don't feel that you are able to organize a fundraising event or lead an educational session on SCD itself. This could be your opportunity to give back. It's easy to do and Nazaire says that even a couple of bucks a month can help. Simply click here to donate.

    To submit photos for his current project, e-mail them to nazaire@gmail.com.

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