Over the past 8 years I have lost a lot of sleep. I stay up wondering how I can communicate why the work I've dedicated my entire life to is so critical.
I know it is. I know the children in foster care who benefit from it know it is. I know that the thousands of people who have already supported One Simple Wish, know it is. But I need everyone to know it. When it comes to really making a difference in the lives of thousands of kids who are feeling invisible, I need the masses to care. But, how?
Maybe it's a video...a really compelling video that outlines all the reasons why our online platform is powerful, insightful and innovative. I could appeal to the tech giants like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg and Mark Benioff and make my case for why investing in our work could truly change the narrative around our nation's child welfare system while simultaneously paving roads of opportunity for the children in it and the adults we need in too.
Maybe it's a stunt...a really shocking yet repeatable stunt like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that captivated the nation and made everyone from business leaders to celebrities dump ice cold water on themselves in the name of charity.
Maybe it's a commercial...a really touching commercial set to Rachel Platten's "Stand by You" where images of sad then smiling children dance across the screen as people at home well up with tears and then tweet about it to all friends.
But I'm still not sure any of that would do. In a world so overwhelmed with media, pleas for attention and noise, I am not sure what the answer is to getting our message out there in a way that will inspire the amount of action we need from so many to really move the needle in a system so riddled with flaws.
Children are dying in this system. Children are being forgotten. Children are being ignored. While these statements don't represent every child in foster care, if they represent even one, than they represent enough. As a nation, we should be outraged; outraged at the level of "I must do something to change this." But we are not. We are complacent. We are not interested. We are not doing enough.
But this may be exactly why I believe One Simple Wish makes such an incredible difference. We are not asking everyone who reads this blog or hears a child's plight to immediately spring into major action, writing to legislators, or becoming foster parents or adopting children. We are simply asking that you care.
Since 2008 we have operated on the simple mission that bringing love, hope and joy to the life of a child who needs it is, in fact, enough. We know you are busy. We appreciate your overwhelming to-do lists and responsibilities and obligations. We get it. So we've made it easy.
In a nonprofit world filled with great causes and great intentions we are not asking to be your only choice. We are only asking for a moment of your time to read just one wish. Learn about one child. Then help them. Just one.
What we have found in taking this approach is that people come back. They grant more wishes. They help more children. They start to support our mission. They email us and tell us they decided to volunteer locally with one of our more than 800 partners around the US. They tell us they have stopped granting wishes so they can focus on becoming foster parents. They adopt.
Our method is working. Whether we focus on the thousands of people that continue to simply spread love, hope and joy to these children who are feeling underrepresented and undervalued or we focus on the hundreds who have taken it a step further and decided to get more involved in the system, it's working.
There's a quote in "A Big Life" by Mary Wells Lawrence, my idol in the advertising world. It says, ""In the end, that may be everything, to know you are loved."
And I believe it is. At least, it is a really great place to start.
So maybe tonight I won't be restless. Maybe tonight I will revel in the fact that One Simple Wish has done just that. We have told thousands upon thousands of kids who are hurting, confused, and maybe even a little lost, that they are loved. And love, in the end, just may be enough.
For more about our lovefest and how to join it, visit onesimplewish.org
And to all the tech giants out there looking to make an investment in a tool that just might change the world of child welfare, let's chat.