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Donations for Donuts

3 Dec

People like things that are fun.  This much is obvious.  For generation X & Y, the fun happens at their computers on Facebook, Twitter, and on their phones and cameras.  Millions of humorous pictures, videos, stories and anecdotes.  Look no farther than Texts From Last Night to get the picture (or download the iPhone app).

Anyway, the internet and new media allows humor to go viral, and some people, including Elie Klein, have realized the power humor and fun competition has to raise money.  I caught this article about Klein on an Israel news station, Ynetnews.  His mission: to cram down as much sufganiya (Israeli donuts) as possible.  Blessed with one heck of a metabolism, Klein is eating a donut for every donation to charity made by individuals across Israel, where Klein resides.  The campaign began last year when a group of neighbors placed a bet about who could eat the most sufganiya.  To keep score, they updated their Facebook and Twitter statuses, so everyone stayed in the loop.

This year they’re going at it again, and using social media the same way to keep track of the donuts eaten.  The important difference this year, is the fundraising.  When Klein told his family about the donuts, his wife’s cousin challenged she could eat just as many, and bet $10 to his charity of choice on the winner.  Another neighbor also pledged a donation based on the donut-eating, and then a friend made a Facebook event and the rest is history.  To date, Klein has consumed  47 donuts and continues to update his status, including the number of causes (currently 37) and the donations made by various people (amounting to about US $4914).

Social media’s at work here in a very uncomplicated way.  Someone is cramming as many donuts in his mouth as humanly possible, and people think it’s funny.  Betting on it makes it exciting, and fundraising works best when it’s exciting.  This is something to keep in mind when attempting to raise money among young people.  The nonprofit landscape is evolving, as it moves away from the dated door-to-door pledging or those horrendous phonathons to social media.


A New Way To Say Thanks

25 Oct

The currency of appreciation

Twollars is a concept that began in 2009 as a way to thank people.  The program, based in Spain, aims to harness the positive social energy on Twitter and give it a symbolic form that can be converted into hard money. Here’s how it works: people give Twollars as a thank-you gesture to anyone- friends, family, etc. and then the receiver donates the Twollar to a charity of choice.  Every Twitter user automatically has a page where they can tweet people to thank them with Twollars, and the page also displays their account balance and “generosity ranking.”  Every user has a starting balance of 50 Twollars.

Here’s what my page looks like:

My Twollars Page

These donated Twollars are converted into real dollars when partnering businesses and individuals “purchase” the Twollars in exchange for real money at a rate of $1 for 10 Twollars.  Often businesses give out Twollars to customers who purchase their products or support their brand as a thank-you note.

Here are the tips the site suggests for getting more Twollars:

  • Tweet good tweets :-) . Engage with, and help people by passing along useful tips. Be generous and give lots of Twollars away, and others may send you Twollars as well.
  • Ask people to send you Twollars – Tweet This! (be sure to replace it with your Twitter name)
  • Go to one of the websites that rewards its users and visitors by giving away Twollars. Since we have just launched this new service, there aren’t many
    sites in the Twollars programme yet. Over time we expect many to join. So, be sure to check back soon.
  • You can also purchase Twollars directly from a Charity. The exchange rate is at $1 for 10 Twollars.

Here’s an example

One charity on Twollars is called Miles The Bear (BearsOnPatrol) an organization that provides police officers with free teddy bears to use in situations that are traumatic for small children.  100 Twollars buys one teddy bear.  This is such an easy way to raise money, and the best part is anyone can help by simply logging onto Twitter and donating Twollars.  Even more amazing is the fact that users don’t really have to pay anything- it’s supporting businesses that are “purchasing” the Twollars from charities, so people that are tweeting their support aren’t even paying to do so.

Founder Eiso Kant explains why he started Twollars and how the project has developed (Interview with Robert Scoble of Scobleizer.Com):