A simple pillowcase: It’s faded. It got separated from its match long ago. Your kids may use it to collect candy on Halloween. It’s what most of us could easily discard and think nothing about. But – someone had a much better idea.
A network of women are now turning these hidden blemishes of linen closets everywhere into beautiful dresses for girls who need them most. With a few easy stitches and a little ribbon, they are transformed into something that will make a girl in Africa feel special, and beautiful. ‘Sew Gorgeous’ is an organization started by two women, and drawing a larger and larger network of women in to create and ship dresses to girls in need. And this is from a small entrepreneurial NFP that is growing purely through the power of social networks.
I first heard about the organization through my sister-in-law on Facebook – with a post asking for used pillowcases. Then on a visit to my mother-in-law several weeks later, I saw a stack of pillow-cases beside a pile of beautiful and unique dresses that she had transformed them into. My 7-year-old daughter loved the dresses so much she wanted them for herself, and when she understood who they were really for she decided she wanted to start helping out too. When we mentioned it to our neighbours they went about contacting another charitable organization they work with to attempt to arrange deliveries. … And so it goes. Social networks, both online and through the good-old-fashioned word of mouth, are creating a broader and broader network of women lovingly collecting supplies and sewing dresses for girls on the other side of the world.
Social networks not only spread great ideas, they bring together communities to rally behind a cause. What started as 2 friends with a good idea and a great desire has turned into local networks of people – from grandmothers carefully stitching ribbon, to mom’s forming sewing parties, to 7-year-old girls asking for pillowcases from their classmates. So much can be done, with a little heart and some perseverance. Social networks of all kinds are alive and well – and NFPs everywhere just need to seed them to watch their ideas grow.
Knowing that your organization is supporting a great cause – think about how online and offline social networks can do the same for you. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to peak in your closet. If you’ve got some pillowcases at home that no longer match the sheets – keep their potential in your mind. And, if you have supplies of ribbon, or know how to thread a needle, see if you are able to put them towards putting some smiles on a young girls face. Check out sewgorgeous.org for yourself today. Then encourage others to check out your site too.