All About Eve
Well, not quite all. I only talked to the woman for about 20 minutes some three months ago. But she has stayed with me, and I learned enough to know that anyone who reads this magazine really should have a conversation with her.
Eve is Eve Ensler, she of soft curves and sharp wit, the expressive, raven-haired spark plug that powers the worldwide movement to end violence against women that is V-Day. She also is the possessor of the brilliant mind that created the ever-evolving, sometimes wickedly funny and always painfully poignant “The Vagina Monologues” — which is the catalyst for V-Day’s mission.
V-Day has raised more than $50 million in the last decade (see our cover story here) and has gotten members of both sexes pumping their fists and proudly declaring themselves Vagina Warriors.
By allowing women to produce presentations of “The Vagina Monologues” and use the monies raised to support pre-approved anti-violence projects, she has put the power to make the world a better, safer, saner place for women square into the hands of women themselves … in the hands of the most well-known female celebrities in the world, and in the hands of school teachers, bus drivers, housewives, church ladies, lunch ladies, city girls, farm girls, good girls, bad girls, accountants, chefs, socialites, suburbanites, teenagers, senior citizens, boomers … you get the picture.
Eve Ensler lives and breathes empowerment. She doesn’t call herself a fundraiser, and maybe she doesn’t know a Johnson box from a jack-in-the-box or how to calculate ROI (or maybe she does), but she nonetheless embodies the essence of what a fundraiser should be: intimately knowledgeable and dizzyingly passionate about her mission. She’s out there, every day, in the trenches (sometimes literally) promoting her cause, challenging women to “be the change” and giving them the opportunity and know-how to do just that.
As a journalist and a woman, I am fascinated by her. As a fundraiser, I might be intimidated by her. Would I have the cervical fortitude to do what she does and do it so passionately? Would a single conversation with me, as a fundraiser, incite people to write a check on the spot or, better yet, sign up to produce “The Vagina Monologues” in their communities?
If you can swing it, meet Eve Ensler. I dare you. She quickly became a hero of mine. (Yeah, I put a picture of her on my wall — so what?) If you’re brave enough to really take her in and recognize what she represents about donor needs and relationships, and to the future of nonprofit fundraising, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.