February 2008 Posts

Fundraising Their Way to the Top

With today’s official announcement of the America’s Giving Challenge champions, this large-scale experiment enters the annals of fundraising history – having inspired more than 48,000 people to give $1.2 million to their favorite causes and organizations, using social networking and Web 2.0 tools. But at the end, the Challenge was all about tenacity, networking, and good old-fashioned hard work.

Congrats to the GlobalGiving America’s Giving Challenge Champions, each of whom will receive $50,000 for their chosen cause in addition to the money they raised! Their tales of fundraising are amazing. See if you can match the description to the champion!

Michele Martin
, Philadelphia, PA (supported by Beth Kanter): Sharing Foundation/Route Out of Poverty for Cambodian Children (1,650 donations/$41,673 raised).

Erin Kelly, Fredericksburg, VA: Students Helping Honduras/Fuel Efficient stove for 300 Hondurans in need (1,639 donations/$28,796 raised).

Scott Beale
, Wilmington, DE: Atlas Service Corps/Invest in International Development Leaders (1,615 donations/$32,021 raised).

Suzanne Plopper, Chester, CA: Friends of Burkina Faso/Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso (1,598
donations/$41,879 raised).

(A) This University of Mary Washington student entered the competition with only 9 days to go, championing a project that is tackling the fourth-most lethal killer in the developing world…

(B) She mobilized an enormous network of returned Peace Corps volunteers, one of whom even crafted this ditty: Awa had a little lamb / His fleece was filled with fleas / But every year Awa went to school / He paid her fees…

(C) She tirelessly poked, prodded, tweeted, blogged and wiki-ed her cause to the top – not sleeping for the last two days of the Challenge and even inspiring a room service waiter in a hotel she was staying at to give… (read more about her giving exploits).

(D) With his wife, he hosted a feverish, impromptu phone-a-thon on January 30th, generating 400 donations for their cause and pushing them firmly into the winner’s circle.

(answers – A/Erin, C/Michele and Beth; B/Suzanne; D/Scott)

A new GG baby!

It’s my distinct pleasure to welcome Kevin Conroy, GlobalGiving’s Ninja Java Master, to the world of fatherhood. Kevin and Samantha Conroy just sent along official photos of Zoe Finette Conroy, safely delivered Tuesday, February 19 at 8:32 p.m., a healthy baby girl weighing in at a snuggly 7 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 20.5 lovable inches. She’s a cutie, and I know cute babies, as my wife, Katie, and I had the first GlobalGiving baby (Miles) almost a year an a half ago. Kevin will be an amazing dad. In his characteristically organized and well-prepared way, Kevin has been fully-equipped, supplied, and geared-up for months. I was much the same way with Miles. Yet, no matter how prepared you are, there are amazing surprises nearly every day. Everyone here is excited and proud to welcome a new member to the GlobalGiving family, and we can’t wait to meet her. We ring a gong at GlobalGiving when something good happens, so here’s a big GONG for the Conroys!

Global Kindred Spirits

It’s my first blog entry here, and it hasn’t been that long that I started on the GlobalGiving crew. So it was very pleasing to me to, to find out that a couple of filmmakers (UP-FilmProduction.de) from my home country (Germany) would be making their way to our office.

One reason is the advantage of seeing fellow country men, speaking the same language and having a similar cultural background. The other aspect that really struck me is that I am here – quite some ways away from
Germany – working on something that I think is worth all my efforts.

Then by “coincidence” I happen to run into people from home who believe in similar ideas (philanthropy). In the greater picture, that means to me: No matter what your expertise is in (computer guy or filmmakers; in
the above case), the important point is to work on something that you believe in and that you think you can make a difference with.

Tap That

I’ve written here before about cultivating a relationship with your donors.  One of the best ways to do this is to get involved.  Rather than trying to create your relevancy from scratch, sometimes it is a better approach to find out what your donors are already interested in and become a part of that.

Joe Waters at Selfish Giving did a great profile on UNICEF’s the Tap Project – where participating restaurants (between March 16 and March 22) will ask patrons to donate a least a dollar for the tap water that they usually serve for free.  This highlights an idea that we, in America, generally take for granted: readily available, safe drinking water.  Joe also suggested that this idea would translate if the donation element was applied to the complimentary bread that is served.

I’m a big fan of DC’s Restaurant Week because it gives me an excuse to dine out – an expense that I can’t often justify (of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t do it anyway…).  Turns out there are a number of DC area restaurants participating in Tap Project – looks like I might be eating out between March 16 and March 22.  Find out which restaurants in your area are participating and make a reservation.

V-Day, Around the World

It’s Valentine’s Day. Or, for many people who are trying to end violence against women, it’s “V-Day.” 2008 marks the 10th Anniversary of V-Day, the brainchild of writer and performer, Eve Ensler. Who would have thought that a little play-ful of vignettes about women’s sexuality, called the Vagina Monologues, would turn into an international movement, with performances of the play taking place all over the world? Events are scheduled on college campuses, in churches, and in dozens of countries throughout 2008. They will attract thousands of people, make them more aware of the unconscionable violence that takes place against women and girls every day, and – we all hope – spur both men and women to become advocates for organizations working to change this dynamic.

Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda were on the Today Show today, talking about the anniversary. Aside from embarrassing Meredith Vieira by uttering a no-no word on network TV, they highlighted the work V-Day is doing in the Congo, where Today’s Ann Curry has been reporting for the last couple of days. Taking on rape and sexual violence again women in the Congo is truly God’s work, and it’s great to see mainstream media putting real faces and voices to the atrocities that continue. Go Ann!

We try to not be to “salesy” on this blog, but if you are interested in supporting some great organizations working to prevent and address this kind of gender violence, check out gender-based projects on GlobalGiving.

Happy V-day.