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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

About Dressember - FAQs

Thank you for being interested and/or totally on board with joining our Dressember team "Dress For A Voice" this year!

I am so glad you are interested.

I need to let you know that as the team leader, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. That does not mean you have to be. It does mean that a good deal of my personal Christian beliefs will be shared publicly, in our “secret” facebook group, and on our team page, visible to everyone. It also means I will be praying for you daily, if you decide to join our team.
I am a Christian, wife, mom, friend, and advocate for freedom.
I’m going to explain Dressember here as a series of questions and answers. This is often how people tend to ask about it in conversational flow. I hope this will also help you, should you decide to join our team, to know how to answer some of these same questions.

What is Dressember?

Dressember is a movement of (mostly) women who want to bring freedom to other women (and children) across the world. It has grown tremendously each year since it’s conception, and is fundamentally about bringing awareness and funds to the issue of human trafficking. Women wear dresses and tell everyone they know that slavery still exists, and a few organizations are out to help fix the problem, and those organizations need our support. Please check out the Dressember website! Watch the videos! Read the links!

What is Human Trafficking?
This is the new term for modern day slavery. This is the overall term that covers those in child labor, sex trafficking with children, sex trafficking with adults, and forced labor that is nonsexual. If you have seen the original 2008 movie "Taken" - you have seen a small glimpse into what human trafficking looks like. I felt sad and depressed about the human trafficking element in that movie for several weeks after seeing it. I knew that that was the reality for millions of girls and women worldwide, who never get set free, and it made me feel sick. If you have seen the more recent movie "Priceless," it also shows what this looks like. 

How does wearing a dress raise money?
Just like you may have seen people signing up for a race or marathon, and then asking for donations, this is a marathon of dresses. Choosing daily to put on a dress, for the entire month of December, and then posting about it on social media, and asking your friends to donate via a clickable link is how it raises money. People click on the link, are directed to the team dressember page, and they can click "Donate" to give over a completely secure page, with their name and short message, or anonymously. If someone wants to give me a check, I go online, use my paypal or debit card and submit their exact amount to our page, and I cash the check.  

Where does the money go?
The two organizations that receive the money equally are International Justice Mission (IJM) and A21. They are legit companies, doing hard work in hard places, and not getting rich from our money. Look around their websites and read about human trafficking and all they do to combat it. 

Do I have to join your team?
Absolutely NOT! You can totally be a Dressember individual! I participated as an individual the first year. I started a team the second year, and continued to love it during the third year. This is my fourth year, and I am sticking with the team! You could also start or lead your own team if you think you have at least 5 friends locally or long distance to join you!
I am praying for your heart to be surrendered to the Lord and excited about following Him wherever He leads - whether He leads you to join us in this or not - I pray you are able to hear and obey wherever He is currently leading you. Faith is about not just hearing, but doing, so go out and DO what God has called you to do in your life today! If joining our team or participating in Dressember is NOT what you think God is calling you to do this year – it does not disappoint or hurt my feelings. Be obedient to Him, first, in all things.

How can I help if I do not want to participate/wear a dress?
You can share our posts on your personal pages to raise awareness. You can pray that people who are able to give, decide to give generously. You can also, of course, GIVE as you feel led and able! Not gonna lie, I’m going to really appreciate that last one the most. ;) Also, check out this great article from the US State Department on what ANYONE can do to help fight Human Trafficking! 

When exactly do I have to wear a dress?
Official rules say it does have to be a dress - not a skirt - but also that you only have to wear it when you leave the house - so you don't have to wear it around your house all the time. I just felt like it was redundant for me to participate and only wear dresses when I left the house, because being a stay-at-home mom with 2 very small kids in a small town, in the winter - honestly, we didn't get out that much! So I did choose that first year, and will again in following years choose to just get up and dress up daily.
For those of you with 'real' outside the house jobs - I totally get that it is still a sacrifice to wear a dress to work every day – and I say to you especially, you can wear whatever your heart desires at home!  This is completely up to you, and you don't have to tell anyone unless you feel compelled to do so. The goal is that we wear dresses anytime we are seen outside the home – so if you leave your house – throw one on!
There are caveats for those who have a work situation in which they cannot wear a dress – that’s OK! You do what you can! It does not say you have to wear a dress to exercise, but I generally have, because it really is a fantastic way to continue to shine a light on this. People don’t typically see women wearing a dress on top of their workout gear. Some give funny looks and some outright ask. It’s your choice. I wear a dress if I exercise outside of my house during December, and I welcome questions and conversation about it. I have decided to make some business cards with our team link on them to be able to give people in public/real life who have questions and seem interested. Talk about it, and give them a card. They may just decide to donate! I used swim cover up/light weight little dresses on top of tights/leggings and it’s not bad.
Working out with a dress on top, year 1

Use those Christmas trees for pics!
Especially pretty ones at other peoples' houses, to shake up your backgrounds!

Use layers...

Even blurry kids are good picture additions.

You can rock a preggo belly, too!

I felt guilty for buying that blanket scarf,
so I donated more to our group page.

Hard to believe that belly is now a crawling baby...

What if I don’t have a lot of dresses/it’s really cold?
The founder of this has actually done Dressember for the last two years, wearing just ONE dress the entire month! She styles it differently with pants/leggings/tights or long and short sleeves underneath, accessories such as scarves, necklaces, hats, and different jackets/shoes, make it quite versatile! You do NOT need a closet full of dresses to make this work. You are encouraged to NOT go out and spend a ton of money on dresses. Instead, give to your own Dressember fundraiser page to get something started! Borrow and share with friends. Get creative! If it’s cold – use layers to your advantage. Long sleeves and pants underneath the dress is completely acceptable. Do what you gotta do.

Am I required to post a picture of myself in a dress every single day?
NO! Not at all! I did not understand this the first year until about week 2 and by then, I thought if I missed a day people would think I wasn't wearing one, so I just continued what I had already started. I DO think it brings in a lot more donations, and gives you a chance to write short but effective little caption/posts about WHY people should care/donate. A picture daily means shorter words – which means more people may read them to the end. However, it gets a little time consuming to set up your picture and decide what to say. You may start to feel very self-conscious with so many pictures of yourself. I get that. I struggle with that. I choose to spend a LOT of January with absolutely no social media days to regroup and recover from this. You can always make a little 'collage' pic of 2-4 days and post it like that if you prefer. It's totally up to you - there are no hard and fast rules about post frequency, and I am not a dictator - just the facilitator for this team! You need to take Dressember and OWN it - in your own style/way! However – I would beg you to post a MINIMUM of ONE full body dress picture per week with a small caption about Dressember and link to our team fundraiser page. I feel that you probably should not participate if you cannot commit to this one pic/per week goal.
If you have kids or pets – USE THEM! They make your pictures look less awkward, and automatically get more noticed. I try to get my kids to help out as often as its possible!

How do you set our fundraising goal?
I did set our team goal at $6300.  That is what A21 and IJM together list on the Dressember page as the needed amount for ONE rescue operation. Last year we made it a goal of $4500 because that was the listed amount we found for a sting operation. It was hard, but we did it! Now this year I am praying God would again allow to meet and surpass our goal! We can totally raise it again if we meet our goal. The Dressember Foundation suggests individuals have the goal of $300 - so I did the first year, and actually raised almost $700. Then when we had a team of 12 ladies, and our goal was $2000, we also exceeded our original goal and raised $3775. Projecting more team members this year, I am starting our team goal higher. Every time I met my goal last year, I raised it, as per Dressember suggestions because people don't feel compelled to give to a goal that's already been met - so I raised it. Here’s why: This is not like a project or “GoFundMe” we are trying to get “fully funded” – this is a race to save peoples’ lives, and the race is won with more money and prayers being given. There is no limit of need, because there is no limit of evil, and MILLIONS of people are currently enslaved, needing MILLIONS of dollars and prayers and hard workers to set them free. I will keep raising the “goal” if it is met, because the “goal” is to raise as much as possible. 

How do we get people to give?
This is a campaign mostly funded by people sharing it on social media - so Instagram and Facebook are your biggest tools here. If you don’t have instagram, you may want to seriously consider getting it. You can post a picture to instagram and link to facebook so it will instantly post in both places. Find me on both and lets be cyber friends!
IG: honeabeemama
FB: Kelly Honea 
With every post related to this, it is a good idea to use  clickable hashtags, because they lead people back to the clickable links. I usually do #dressember #endslavery #ijm #itsmorethanadress #humantrafficking and our team name #DressForaVoice I may also make some posts using all of your faces in a collage to show people how awesome it is to be on a team! In our "secret" Facebook group, you will see the other lades who are showing interest and on our team. "Friend" them! Like their posts! 

I am also encouraging you to engage people in real life conversations about it though, as well. Anytime someone compliments you on being ‘dressed up,’ ‘looking nice,’ or ‘wearing a dress even though its so cold’ you have an easy opening to say, “Well, I’m only wearing it to bring awareness to the current fastest growing crime of human trafficking. Would you like to know more?” Boom. Life on Mission. I may also ask them if they know Jesus and would like to join me at church in that conversation, but you can say whatever you want.

When do I start wearing dresses?
This does not start until December 1st, officially. You have time to recruit more friends! Feel free to copy this link to people you think may be interested. The more on our team, the merrier! This also gives you time to size up your wardrobe - but don't over think it! I decided that it would be redundant last year to spend money on more dresses while asking people to donate to IJM, so I donated to IJM and just used the dresses I had. I do think it's a nice way to get the fundraiser bar rolling. If we would each donate like $20 maybe to someone else on our team, it also shows we have more skin in the game than just the clothes, and we do truly agree with how IJM/A21 spend the money.

I hope that's not too overwhelming! I can't wait to be on a team with you fantastic people! I hope you have a wonderful day, and please do not hesitate to ask me any questions and dig into the dressember website!!!! 

How do I register to join Dressember?
Go to the website and click in the upper right corner where it says "Join Us." Then you choose "Become An Advocate." If you want to go it alone, choose "As An Individual." If you'd like to join our team (and we'd LOVE IT!) choose "Join A Team" HERE - at the First Chance you get - and scroll through to find us - "Dress For A Voice." It will direct you to then create an individual page after that, and your individual page should be linked to the group page if you clicked that correctly and all the unicorns danced just right in the internet neverland where things like that are worked out. ;)

May God bless you today in a way that you notice and appreciate. Happy Registering if you choose to join this movement! 

My Year 1 Blog Reflections on Dressember: 

My Year 2 Blog Reflections on Dressember:
Fearless Reflections - Dressember is the bottom half of the post