Following her own experiences of loneliness through university and feeling like there wasn’t a place for her, Cairo Aibangbee went searching for a community.
Cairo is unfortunately far from alone in this experience – the Mental Health Foundation reported in May 2022 that one in three Black people experience feelings on loneliness, with racism and social inequality likely exacerbating this. When she realised that a safe space simply wasn’t there for Black Womxn in the UK, Black Girls Brunch UK came into being. The non-profit sets out to empower, amplify and educate Black Womxn while offering the opportunity for networking and growth. However, when Cairo planned the very first meeting in Plymouth’s tallest building on a shoestring budget, she had no idea that it would grow into what it is today – a source of inspiration, comfort and community for many. Many had an appetite for what they had to offer, and so Black Girls Brunch continues to host annual events, brunches, literature festivals and more.
Over the years, Black Girls Brunch have tried to expand their reach and make a wider impact. This, as many small organisations can appreciate, is made difficult by a lack of resources. Cairo’s own savings had taken a significant hit to keep pulling off the amazing work they do. With this as a motivator, they discovered Giving Tuesday and recognised the potential to become more self-sustainable and keep their events priced as accessible as possible. As they didn’t hear about Giving Tuesday until it was around the corner, they were able to whip up a campaign idea in a single meeting and join many of the organisations they admire in our generosity movement. As their team are based throughout the country, the ability to host events and reach others is very much dependent on keeping on top of logistical costs, so this was very much a driver for their campaign.
Recognising that working-class people and Black people are among the biggest givers, they wanted to make their campaign asks as accessible as they could, so that those with a desire to help had more of an opportunity to do so. That’s why they opted for their ‘3 for 3 for 3’ campaign – 300 people to donate 3 pounds each to reach 3 different cities in the UK. With the majority of events happening in London out of necessity, they recognise the need to touch the lives of people in other corners of the country, who may also feel that there isn’t a space for them like Cairo did. They took this ask to social media, including sharable content that their supporters might share with others.
While they didn’t raise their target, they did raise over £400 by the time their campaign closed in January. Cairo shared her disappointment over this, feeling worried that her team would feel let down after all their hard work to pull the campaign together. However, putting the cost of living crisis into frame, particularly with Christmas approaching and they themselves operating with no marketing budget, put this into broader perspective and helped them to better understand why meeting this target was a challenge.
Luckily, they were not deterred and remain committed to campaigning for Giving Tuesday again this year. This time around, they intend to start their campaign earlier, potentially around October to tie in with Black History Month. To help them build their knowledge and understand where their time and energy is best placed, Cairo is taking part in a PR course.
Their advice to others looking to take part in Giving Tuesday? Always have a strong ask, even if you don’t publicise it. Generic fundraising is all fine and well, but with the specific target of reaching 3 cities, there is something tangible for the organisation to aim for and that the audience can visualise. This way, when people give, they can become more invested in the journey and can see what their donations aided with.
If you’d like to support Black Girls Brunch as they endeavour to reach more Black Womxn across the country, you can donate to them via PayPal and Patreon. You can also keep up to date with the latest from Black Girls Brunch by joining their mailing list.