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I Raised $448 In 3 Minutes

I turned 28 yesterday (applause). I went to watch three movies at ate Mexican food (my favorite). Oh, and I raised $448 for 14 nonprofits.

On Monday, I sent out a simple Facebook status and Twitter message. I simply stated my desire for my friends and followers to donate $28 somewhere in honor of my birthday. (I borrowed the idea from Rosetta Thurman, who's changing the nonprofit world right before everyone's eyes.)

The response was more than I expected. From those I heard back from, I learned that:

  • Anne gave to Child's Play
  • Melvin gave to Room in the Inn
  • Rebecca gave to St. Vincent de Paul
  • David gave to Mission First
  • Tambi have to Tennessee Partners in Mission
  • Lu gave to her neighbor's adoption fund
  • Joy gave to United Way of Metropolitan Nashville
  • Leslie gave to four different places
  • John gave to hockey programs
  • Marilyn gave to Gilchrist Hospice Care
  • Kathy gave to the USO
  • Todd gave to a scholarship fund
  • Katye gave to Living Water International

And these are just the ones I know about.

It took me about three minutes to post and tweet my message (and update it on my birthday). At an hourly clip, I brought in $8,960. Not bad for just aging a year.

And herein lies the secret of fundraising when it comes to nonprofits and online media: let other people do it for you.

Many nonprofits have employed the Friends Asking Friends model, whereby someone walks or runs for a cause and they solicit their friends and family to make donations to the benefiting organization on their behalf. While this can be a great tool to raise major dollars, many in the industry see it as a zero-sum game since you'll donate $25 to a friend and they'll simply reciprocate when it's your turn to walk or march. In other words, you could have donated your own $25 and skipped the asking part.

However, I think a new model is emerging. I might not even dare call it a 'model' since the ability to replicate it is questionable at best. But I know it when I see it.

It looks like Rosetta's blog post about her birthday today.

It looks like Beth Kanter’s post about how she raised money on her birthday via Facebook causes.

In other words, it looks like the unexpected.

At every nonprofit and social media workshop I lead, I make sure to tell people they need to embrace social media because today, when Google is the center of the Web, you have to be able to be found. If I can't get to you through Google (or Facebook or Twitter), then I can't get to you. And this means we can't meet. And that means I can't volunteer or write a check.

The game is changing. I don't work for a nonprofit. I know that world, but I'm not a director of development, imploring the masses to fork over cash. I'm just a passionate guy who made one simple ask with convenient tools.

And if your nonprofit can't work with that, you're missing out – perhaps to the tune of $8,960 an hour.

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