Tag Archives: social media

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):

Act Bolder: Do Good. Get Rewarded.

22 Oct

Bolder is a lesser-known platform that allows businesses to connect with their customers by creating “challenges” to encourage positive action.  Some recent challenges have been ‘Use a reusable mug, bag, or container,’ or ‘Get out and pick up trash.’  There’s no single cause on Bolder, but there are a few different categories such as health and fitness or culture and community.  The challenges are as simple as ditching bottled water for a day, or a little more involved like donating books to a local library.  Businesses post challenges through Facebook and Twitter (handled by Bolder), then users post stories or pictures about their actions and in exchange the businesses provide incentives- typically discounts or gift cards.

Bolder isn’t necessarily raising money for charity.  Actually, businesses that team up with Bolder are profiting and driving sales through social media.  But when their customers take on challenges, they’re taking a stand against current issues, while getting rewarded.  It’s a win for both sides.

Darius Makes A Movie, Begins A Movement

12 Oct

In an article on Mashable, I watched a video for the Darius Goes West campaign.  For those who haven’t heard of this project, Darius Weems, who suffers from DMD, and 11 of his friends road-tripped across the country six years ago in a trailor while filming an award-winning documentary to raise money for research on the disease.  Darius lost his brother to same disease at age 19.

The documentary clip on YouTube is incredibly inspiring, and the DVD can be purchased for $10.  From that price, $8 goes to research, and the other $2 to the organization funds to keep filming, make school visits, etc.  Bumper stickers, bracelets and t-shirts are also for sale.  The campaign has raised over $2 million for DMD research.  Social media use has also had an enourmous impact, according to Mashable:

“They’ve accrued close to 700,000 views on YouTube, collected more than 14,000 Facebook fans, obtained roughly 2,000 Twitter followers, and raised almost $45,000 through Facebook Causes and FirstGiving.”

Check out the video clip:

On the campaign website, you can make donations, purchase merchandise (educators can receive free copies of the DVD as part of the “Know About it Program“).  There’s profiles for each crew member and frequently-updated blog.  What’s really significant is that the documentary was filmed about six years ago. But that was only the beginning. Since then Darius has made tons of school trips and short videos for the website.  Through active social media use, he continues to increase support for DMD research, and it all began with one video.

My video

So, my fundraising project is clearly nowhere near the level of Darius’ campaign.  But, I do have a couple videos that I filmed at the school in Shanghai, and one of them,  of a blind child in the class that was extremeley giften musically. He played four instruments, one of which I went to get fixed and brought back for him. Upon my return with the instrument, he played this song:

The video’s not great quality, and next time I go back I intend to get better ones that show the conditions of the school. and how great the students are.  But it’s a video, and it’s on YouTube.  It’s something that people can watch and listen to, and most importantly with regards to nonprofit social media, respond to emotionally.  This child is so talented, but doesn’t have the resources to take his music further.  After seeing him play, maybe someone with the resources would be compelled to donate money for him to learn in an institution of music for the blind.  You never know what can happen with a single picture, video or post: just look at the impact that Darius’ video had.

Using Linked In for Nonprofits

30 Sep

I joined Linked In, the professional social media network, about a year ago, and have done little with my profile since then. I didn’t make any attempt to add connections or update my work experience and skills summary.  As I get closer to graduating in May and thus, begin the hunt for a job, I’ve decided I need to get my Linked In act together and make some progress (and connections).

While Linked In will be a powerful tool for my personal career advancement, I’m finding more and more nonprofit groups advocating the network for fundraising.  I first considered the idea after reading UConn journalism professor, Rick Hancock’s post about using Linked In for nonprofit organizations.  Connecting with people that are interested in working for the same causes (education, global service), or that are interested in fundraising in general may be an easy way to gain support.

There’s a great blog called Nonprofit Tech 2.0, that acts as a social media guide for non-profits. In one of their posts, I read about joining groups on Linked In as a way to gain support. I requested membership today with the MojaLink group, a network for nonprofits, and it’s education subgroup.  I also have the option to create a company page, but since my cause isn’t developed yet, and not quite at a professional level, I think I’ll just stick to advocating in my personal profile and joining in on forums for various groups.

This is something I hadn’t thought about when using Linked In.While I can use the tool for my own career advancement, I can simultaneously use it for my cause. I can post updates, and add applications, like the WordPress app that uploads my blog posts straight to my profile. The more contacts I make (that are interested in my fundraising efforts), the more exposure I can get.

Here’s a great webinar, (although it’s not free) by Heather Mansfield, owner of DIOSA Communications, that discusses how nonprofits can use social media and mobile technology.  The October 5th presentation is all about using Linked In and FourSquare for nonprofits, so tune in at 10 a.m. US/Pacific if this interests you.

“Changing the World Through Social Media”

29 Sep

“Hope – Change – Belief ” …  and Facebook – Twitter – Blogging

I recently discovered 12 for12k, an organization that combines social media and fundraising to help supported charities connect with as wide an audience as possible.  Founded out of Burlington, ON, by social media whiz Danny Brown, (see an article he wrote about the 12for12k staff here) the challenge has raised over $100,000 since December 2008. Here’s their YouTube video:

Here’s how it works

Each month, for 12 months, a charity is chosen to receive $12,000. 12for12k intends to help lesser-known charities, which is what caught my eye. Would it be possible to land 12k for my charity project in Shanghai?! Well, yes, but not easily.  Here’s the criteria for chosen charities:

  • Financial records available on request
  • Registered 501-c (3) charity or equivalent worldwide organization (all donations tax-deductible)
  • PayPal or credit card donation system (for user-friendliness), made through Chip-In, that is tied directly to the charity’s bank account

Hm. So there’s a couple things preventing Project Revive from gaining 12k anytime soon. But there’s learning here. While charities can raise money through social media, if they want to fundraise directly through Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, they need an existing bank account, and the Chip-In widget. I took a look at Chip-In, and found out it was actually a widget used to raise money through PayPal. You can embed it on WordPress, but you need a hosted WordPress account for the graphic to show up. While this means it won’t grab viewers attention right away, I am still able to post a link for the Chip-In page, so viewers can go and donate directly to my PayPal account if they choose to do so. This is an easy way to charities to increase donations, since all viewers have to do is follow the link.

Back to 12for12k

It seems like a ton of money comes from ChipIn, and the use of Twitter and Facebook (adding Twibbons to respective profiles), and encouraging people to contribute. There are other ways that 12for12k is making money, including events such as Live Concert Streams and Tweetsgiving, which are all advocated through social media.

In the Future…

The challenge is relaunching in a few days, so I look forward to seeing what exactly “relaunching” means. The website doesn’t specify exactly what they plan to implement in the future, so it’s a little unclear what the new goals are. On the 12for12k Facebook page, it appears as though the last activity was in April: when a charity supported brain injury, Boundless was chosen.  Check back in a few days, when I write an update about the relaunching of The 12for12k Challenge on October 1. Here’s the video that’s currently featured on their homepage: