blackout trafficking q & a

How do I register?


When Is It?

Our project starts March 1st and goes to March 31st, 2019. You can join us late if you missed the beginning of the project.  Learn how to participate here.

Why do we do this?

At its face value, we are doing this to raise funds for organizations that are fighting human trafficking. But, we are also creating awareness about human trafficking, challenging ourselves, and presenting to the world we are serious in caring about this issue at the same time we learn more about human trafficking ourselves. 

Are you guys affiliated with Dressember? What's the difference?

We are not affiliated with Dressember even though our goal (raising awareness and funds for the anti-trafficking movement) is the same. Both of our organizations were started about the same time, but by different people on different coasts. The biggest difference is that we don't require you to wear a dress to participate as we want to be as inclusive as possible to everyone (men included!) and we know that wearing a dress isn't always possible. We also take place in March, not December, and raise funds both for our featured organization (which changes) but for smaller, local organizations as well. 

Can I wear two different black shirts/dresses, alternating them every other day?

You can choose your own rules and that is fine. Just remember that the goal is to challenge yourself to be uncomfortable with less. Most of us opt for only one item--even those of us with newborns and sick kids (although we've had to take a day off here and there to clean up the mess and wear a different black shirt/dress instead).

What should I say with my pictures I post on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter? Or should I send an email asking for donations?

Do both! An email is good to send out at least one time during the month, for those who aren’t online much. It also presents an opportunity for people to give directly, so they will consider it, whereas on social media, friends might not see your posts and can easily ignore or overlook them. Using blind-copy (BCC) is ideal for emails as it creates privacy for those you are asking.

Do I have to post pictures and facts everyday?

No, but those who do tend to get more donations and likely create greater awareness! Last year Elisa experimented by not posting pictures daily, just every week, and she received over one thousand dollars in donations. You aren't held to any standard on our end, so try to find the best balance for you to challenge yourself and invite others to care about the issue.

Also, note that marketing experts believe people must see something at least three times and as many as thirteen before they consider responding.

We've created a special PDF of 31 Facts About Human Trafficking that you can easily download and copy from. Just click on the image below:


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Do I have to donate?

We believe that we who are doing the project should set an example by leading the way. Whether it is $5 or $500, let your money be where your heart is.

Who are we fundraising for?

Every year we raise fundraise for a different organization, although to simplify choice and create a collective project goal, we choose a featured organization. Our featured organizations are HERE.

We also love local organizations and want to support them. If you have a non-profit you want to fundraise for and our team believes that NGO's financials are in order, we will happily add them to year's project so you can fundraise for your local anti-trafficking org. 

Ultimately, our goal is to raise funds for the abolitionist movement. Sometimes we have participants who choose to separately fundraise for a human trafficking org. If this is you, then we encourage you to make your own Crowdrise fundraising page that we can link to, or you can just let us know how much to add to our collective yearly total.

Should I make my own fundraising page?

We use Crowdrise to keep track of our fundraising. You have the option to use our general page to fundraise though, or you can create your own personal page on Crowdrise. The benefit of making your own linking page is that it keeps track of your own earnings separately, if you like to keep track of that. Also, it lets you know who is donating so you can thank them. On the other hand, that requires a bit more work to set it up and isn't necessary.

How do I thank people for giving if I don’t make a page?

Unfortunately, this does become an issue. We will do our best to keep track of the names that donate and pass them on, but sometimes a donor doesn't leave enough much information for them to be thanked. In subsequent years we will continue to work on our crowdfunding methods. At this time I suggest sending a group-thank you at the end of the project to everyone you previously asked to donate. Incidentally, this also works to give a gentle reminder that the funding platform hasn't closed. 


When do you stop accepting donations for Blackout Trafficking?

Until the end of the year or as long as whatever fundraising platform being used remains open.  We've only had people donate to our cause up to six weeks after it ended, so that’s something to keep in mind. 

We publicize our total on March 31st because it is fun to share, and will again give a collective total as more donations come in.

How do I get a Blackout Trafficking pin/button to wear?

Just click here.

How can I direct people to donate when they don't know me?

If you happen to have a conversation with someone who wants to donate/learn more, but you don’t have internet in front of you both, it is easier just to tell them to look up our website where they can find the info.

You can also print the fliers off and keep them on hand, as they are usually useful. 

What should I do if people want to give cash or check?

We suggest that at the end of the month you deposit the money into a lump sum and make a donation of all the cash you receive on the crowdfunding page we are using this year (you will also receive another tax receipt - another plus!).

We encourage you to have your donor make out checks to the appropriate organization and send them in the mail at the end of the month to that organization (if your donor doesn't send them themselves). Please just keep track of how much you receive in checks and let us know so we can add it to our collective total. 

What type of fundraiser could I do and do I have to do one?

You definitely do not have to do anything else than just wear your one item of black clothing and communicate to others about it. 

Some people get ambitious though, and we have no problem with that! We've had participants pull off everything from a clothing exchange, a home-business showcasing party, a documentary night, happy hours, and sending free Young Adult books to all who donated. Sometimes all you have to do is leverage what you're already doing to make it into a $5 fundraiser or sell raffle tickets. Check out Average Advocate for ideas on how these could work. 

How can we make an impact in our own community too?

One of the most important ways you can make an impact on your community is by seeing who is doing what in your community (Is there a local anti-trafficking organization? Or recovery house? What are your state’s trafficking laws?).

If you find an organization, get to know them and how they work. If they seem legit (with $ and methods) take a next step and volunteer. We can assure you, they need your help! 

If nothing else, learn what they are doing and let others know about them. You might not want to volunteer right now, but if you can leverage the opportunity to tell your friends, “Human trafficking happens here too!”, then you've just shocked someone and it might be the catalyst to inspire another average person to change the world. 

If there are no local initiatives, we encourage you contact the Average Advocate about how to start a grassroots human trafficking effort in your area.

How can I get a group of people to do this with me?

Almost everyone who has done this with us is because we either point-blank asked them to or they saw us spamming their Facebook newsfeed for a month each year until they eventually decided they wanted to try it. We suggest "inviting" them, just like we are inviting you to join us.

Think of a few people to ask and just ask them in a no-pressure way. Most likely they will say no. But it can't hurt to try. After all, most of the Blackout Trafficking participants to-date have come from personal invitations extended to both interested and not interested people. You can also check out our founder's video answering this exact question here on her YouTube channel.

How can I find out more information?

Email us (or click on the Contact button on the top right of the navigation bar) and like the gurus we are, we will answer all your questions!. We want to help you, not hinder you, in your passion to make a difference.  

You can also find a lot more questions answered on our founder’s YouTube Channel by clicking here.

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