Your browser does not support JavaScript! Nonprofit Spotlight: Diabetes Hands Foundation – Bright Nonprofit

Logo of Diabetes Hands Foundation
This nonprofit spotlight focuses on an organization altogether different from our past two spotlights on Zero Forbidden Goals and First Love Yourself, both out of Sacramento, CA. I got the opportunity to learn about Diabetes Hands Foundation from Mike Lawson, their Senior Director of Programs & Marketing. Their organization focuses on education and community building around diabetes, working to forge connections between those with diabetes and dispel stigma around the condition.

What is your organization’s mission?

We at Diabetes Hands Foundation believe no one touched by diabetes should ever feel alone. Together we become stronger and have the power to generate positive change in ourselves and our community. Diabetes can be a very isolating disease, so we provide platforms where people with diabetes and their loved ones can connect and have an open dialog about their experiences with this chronic condition.

What’s your story? When were you founded? A brief history of your journey?

In 2007, the co-founder of Diabetes Hands Foundation attended an in-person support group for people looking to start using insulin pumps as part of their diabetes management. He witnessed the impact community had on his personal diabetes management and soon after launched an online community for people touched by diabetes.

The community ( now has 76,000 registered members, and the sister-site in Spanish ( has over 69,000 registered members.

In 2008, Diabetes Hands Foundation was formed as the official nonprofit organization that manages the two communities as well as an annual physical fitness campaign that raises money for charities ( and an advocacy program that trains and provides collaboration opportunities for diabetes advocates (

What challenges are you facing?

The stigma and shame that come along with a diabetes diagnosis make it difficult for us to reach people in the world that could benefit from finding and participating in communities like TuDiabetes or EsTuDiabetes. Additionally, the misinformation that is commonly accepted as truth has impeded the progress of bringing the Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes communities together.

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What wins have you been celebrating?

Our Spanish Facebook following just reached 100,000 this past month, which is a result of a lot of hard work by our Spanish-speaking staff to create a welcoming community that encourages meaningful conversations. We have tried to make sure our content in Spanish is not just a contrived translation of the work we are doing in English, but rather speaks to the interests of the community.

What are your favorite online tools?

My life has been changed by Dropbox for Business. In the past year, we have moved entirely to using Dropbox as a way to share files and collaborate. Since we are an organization where half of our staff works remotely, the tool has been incredibly useful.

We also use SproutSocial as a social media management tool. We use Sprout to schedule social media posts and to analyze the impact our social media efforts have had on our marketing goals.

What do you see as an area for growth for your organization online?

Logo for The Big Blue Test
The Big Blue Test campaign has traditionally been a campaign that we run each fall. The campaign helps participants understand the value of physical activity in diabetes management…and as we all know, physical activity should be done for more than just one month out of the year. In 2017 we will be expanding the Big Blue Test into 3 small campaigns. And the hope is to have a year-round program by 2018.

Where have you seen a lot of success online? Social media, website, online communities, etc?

I think that our online success has to do with our ability to adapt to the new ways people communicate online. The TuDiabetes community was launched in 2007, and was the first online platform dedicated to giving people touched by diabetes a place to come together and to provide peer-to-peer support. Since 2007 we have participated in all of the new platforms that have emerged and have done our best to provide content and support for people regardless of how the find our work online.

What do you wish nonprofits in general were better at online?

Generally speaking, I would like to see nonprofit organizations collaborate and share resources that their following would find useful…even if that work is pointing their clients to other organizations. Not any one organization will be responsible for making the world a better place, and we could all benefit from making sure our clients are aware of all the great orgs that are out there changing the world.

What do you wish were easier online?

This is a dream, but I wish it were easier for the content we post to social networks to be more easily seen by our following. We have worked hard to build a following on Facebook and Twitter, and it’s unfortunate that we need to pay to have our content seen by those that have chosen to follow us.

Any specific upcoming events you’d like to share?

We have a really cool Giving Tuesday campaign schedule for Giving Tuesday 2016. We will be creating an opportunity to not just give money, but to also give thanks to the individuals that have helped them in their journey with diabetes.

Nonprofit Spotlight is a recurring feature on Bright Nonprofit, shining a spotlight on the amazing nonprofits that are working around the world to enrich their communities and the lives of people in them.

Want your organization to be featured? Drop me a line! I’d love to learn more about the work you are doing.

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