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.
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.