Tag Archives: fundraising

Word of Mouth in a Time of Retweets

If you take a well written essay and sign your name on it, it’s called plagiarism.

If you take a great joke and tell it as your own, it’s called stealing. (If it’s your joke and everyone is stealing it, you’re probably Jerry Seinfeld)

If you take someone else’s great idea and make a profit off of it, it’s called intellectual property theft.

If you take a great picture accompanied by a funny anecdote and sign your name on it like it’s your own idea, that’s called a birthday card.

This birthday card approach is how people spread word of mouth in our new society. They find someone who is saying what they agree with in a more eloquent way than they could have said it and then they approve and pass it along. Technology makes it easy to spread something in it’s original format. If you can express your cause and your charity in a way that is intelligent, well written and funny (when appropriate) you’ll have people on all sides of the issue digging, liking, retweeting, forwarding and recommending your message to everyone they know. After all….they wish they’d said it.

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Story Contest December

I just want to invite everyone to post some stories in the contest page for December. This is a great way to share what we are doing, whether you are part of a large organization or just moving for a good cause on your own.

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Anyone Can Be a Philanthropist (and Everyone Should)

Time magazine shared some statistics from DARA on the successful dispersal humanitarian aid. The U.S. ranked 16th of the 23 countries listed. This list measured amounts sent and also the efficient use of funds. What this says is that it’s time for new philanthropy.

In this age of blogs, e-newsletters, and “donate now” buttons, anyone can become an advocate for their favorite causes and help raise funds and awareness to improve the worlds biggest problems. Everyman philanthropy is faster, more efficient and much more socially plugged-in than the efforts of large organizations. It’s time for us to step up and change things. There’s never been a better environment for it.

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No Small Causes

Last night one of my favorite charities, To Write Love on Her Arms, won a $1 million grant from the American Giving Awards. This grant allows them to do some amazing work.

Our featured story of the month helped raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer. This is another big cause in our society which has affected a huge number of families.

In light of these big causes, we need to remember that there are no small causes. A good cause that affects only one person is still important. That means anyone can be a word changer by taking action to change things in the areas that matter most to them.

I want to hear about your cause. What do you help with or want to help with? Is it a local community fundraiser, sponsoring a child, or volunteering to help hungry families? No cause is small and no story is either. What are you passionate about changing? Share those thoughts.

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Leadership That Changes Things

I’m really enjoying the stories that have come in so far. They show us that there are differences and similarities in the ways that people change the world.

Sometimes the cause is close to home and fairly familiar to everyone. What’s left is leading a group of people to do something about it; creating Momentum.

Sometimes you are trying to fix a problem that may not be familiar; something international or something people don’t want to talk about. In those cases the momentum starts by bringing the problem into perspective and raising real awareness of the issue.

In either case it comes down to leadership. We aren’t called to change the whole world ourselves and then send out support letters to keep up alive. We’re called to be the ones who mobilize people and resources and lead a movement that creates change. Cheers to these three leaders for their passion and their stories.

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Moustaches, Orphans and Coffee Addictions

If you haven’t already, I just want to invite you to check out the stories that have been submitted by some of our friends. These stories show how different people can make the choice to become a catalyst for change in the world.

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Things Most People Don’t Know

I just saw some amazing pictures that tell stories. Photojournalism is a great way to bring people into a world they may never see in person. As passionate people who want to change the world in a specific way, we are all called to be journalists. We use stories, pictures and whatever else we are good at to show the realities that we want to change because so many people simply don’t know. What stories will you share?

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Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and…..Dodge

A talented WordPress blogger named Elisabeth, just posted about the tendency to want to escape from uncomfortable situations. It’s human nature. That’s why it’s so important not to make people even more uncomfortable by using guilt tactics when you tell your stories. Part of the art of storytelling is helping people engage with realities that would otherwise be very easy to run from.

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Using Exclusivity to Include More People

Does anyone remember the “Faceback” application from the movie “The Other Guys”? Basically it’s an iphone app that uses a picture of someone’s face to tell you what the back of their head looks like. It’s a joke and it’s meant to be ridiculous but if it were released exclusively for Macs it would be a huge success. That’s because Mac people are a different breed and they love things that are made just for them.

We all have things that are a good fit for us. The less people those things fit, the more specifically they are meant for us and the better they seem to fit. This is the whole sociological driving force behind subcultures and counterculture groups. We want to belong in a group not everyone belongs to because then we know that everyone in the group is a bit more like us than average. More exclusive means more like us.

The lesson here is not to be afraid of being specific about who fits in your cause or your group. You don’t have to cater to everyone or you will end up catering to no one at all.

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Messages That Increase Your Word of Mouth

I really hate forwarded emails. Strangely enough, I seem to attract people who really love them. Let’s just say I get a lot. Whether or not you enjoy getting forwards, there are a lot of things we can learn from forwards, re-tweets and Facebook sharing. We can learn what kinds of things are “forwardable.”

When you see the things that are passed on they usually have one or more of three qualities. The messages that are highly transferred are:

Entertaining – They are funny or provide a unique twist on a story that people enjoy hearing.

Interesting – They contain information that most people may not know and that people want to share with others. These messages have that “did you know…?” factor.

Intelligent – They contain information that people want to be associated with. It’s easy to re-tweet or forward information about a cause you care about so that people know you are part of something important, so give your listeners a message to pass along if they can’t find a way to voice it themselves.

By providing your current donors and followers with these types of messages you can increase word of mouth spread by giving your current donors and followers information that they want to pass along. A good story will always be retold.

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