The year I met the women who were organizing Dyke March, I knew it was where I was supposed to be. They are bold, smart, strategic and unapologetic. BUT they were burnt out from having organized Dyke March for the past decade, some even longer.
My first question: how much does this cost? Being a fundraising professional by trade, I think in numbers and stories. In this case, what does it take financially, and in people power, to organize Dyke March? That question fueled my affair with the San Francisco Dyke March as it exists today.
We pick up our meetings in September, giving us two months after the March to relax, reflect and come back together with a fresh vision for the coming year. This is also the time we try to hold a committee for a retreat – sometimes it lasts the entire day, sometimes just a few hours – this space is critical to getting to the challenges we face as organizers, dykes, and women.
Our committee is organized in subcommittees: Program/Performers, Safety & Security, Access, Medical Services, Social Media & Communications, Partnerships, Events & Fundraising. Each subcommittee has a Lead and at least one other dyke to support. As a group we discuss what went well, what can be improved and where we need to step up and respond. In planning for the coming year, we identify the areas where more support is needed, set out to recruit new members and engage with the community about Dyke March.
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In January we meet again to catch up, talk about how to bring new organizers into the mix, and discuss politics – what we’re reading, hearing, seeing that impacts our community. Our committee meets once a month in person and often via conference call in between. Every organizer hustles to make things happen; whether it be getting raffle items, coordinating fundraising events, or keeping up with social media. We fundraise through sponsorships and events like the Dyke March Benefit hosted by The Lexington Club last month.
The average cost of the San Francisco Dyke March is $35,000. And we need your help to make it happen. If everyone who attended Dyke March gave $1, all the necessary funds would be raised for the next year in one day! And that way you can get your Dyke March on again and again.
The San Francisco Dyke March is organized in a site plan that includes everything from the timing of the program and street closures to the number of necessary porta potties and route mapping for a seamless connection with the Pink Party in the Castro. As a committee we come up with a theme for the year based on what we’re experiencing in our community and build a program to reflect that vision – it includes drumming, activist speeches, music and, of course, the March.
Dyke March is supported annually by the generosity of grants, local businesses who provide money and in kind contributions, and individuals. We work with MTA, Parks & Rec, DPW, and a number of other acronyms (I mean departments). Basically, everyone wants to be sure the March is safe and that our footprint does not leave a heavy impact. So what does that mean for you, you Dyke March loving dyke? It means you should look out for each other, clean up after yourselves, and work with us to keep you and yours safe.
#DykeMarch2015 is scheduled for June 27th at the intersection of Dolores & 18th Streets. We will have DJs, a local Poet – Daphne Gottleib – and inspirational voices from all over our community. Our March will start at 3:30pm sharp with a slightly different route than previous years:
SF Dyke March will line up on Dolores Street northbound at 18th St. Participants will head east on 17th St, north on Valencia and west on 16th St, ending at the Pink Party. Observers can catch it anywhere along the route.
Let’s keep it real this year – see you later this month! If you are interested in getting involved in Dyke March, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.