Cambodia 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)

Over the river and through the woods…

As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t get these holiday carol lyrics out of my head. Working on the project team at GlobalGiving, I have the privilege to work with the amazing project leaders and innovative organizations that list their work for funding on our website. This also means I get an up close and personal look at the challenges our partners face on a daily basis. Here is one description of the journey to send an e-mail in Malawi:

“Well, first I leave the school and hop on my bicycle. After riding my bike for two hours over dusty, bumpy roads, I arrive at the internet café. Then I write out my e-mail carefully by hand and give it to the owner. Assuming the internet isn’t broken that day, he logs on to the only computer in the village and sends the e-mail for me.”

Rather than braving the river and woods to get to grandmother’s house, each day our project partners face challenges ranging from lack of electricity or internet connectivity, natural disasters like floods and earthquakes, health crises including malaria and HIV/AIDS, non-existent transportation infrastructure, or unstable political environments. Tasks that seem like no big deal to those of us in the U.S.—sending an email, turning on the lights, making a phone call—can be time consuming and difficult.

With all of these challenging circumstances it’s a wonder that anything gets done at all! But the most exciting part of my job is that not only is stuff getting done, our partners are tackling the most difficult challenges our world faces right now and achieving great results. It’s a testament to the determination, creativity, passion, and insight of the projects listed on GlobalGiving that each day I get to read updates from the field like this:

“The Roteang Village children have nearly completed the immunizations…” from "Provide 570 Children with Lifesaving Vaccines" in Cambodia.

“One of our a pioneer teachers at Nyaka told me last year that because of his job at Nyaka, he has been able to buy land, take care of his twin sons and daughter, and take care of his aging mom and dad…” from "Nyaka School for Children Orphaned due to HIV/AIDS" in Uganda.

“Through these two projects, we secure transportation and safe passage for women who are fleeing their homes to reach the shelters or other refuge…” from "Safe Houses for Iraqi Women" in Iraq.

Whether arriving via the back of a bicycle, the dusty Indian mail service, carrier pigeon, or solar-powered dial-up email, project updates keep donors informed about all things (good and bad) going on with the project on the ground. Clicking “submit” isn’t the end of a donation to a GlobalGiving project—it’s the beginning of an adventure!