In December 2006, I launched my first experiment in using social media for fundraising - raising $800 on my blog to help send Leng Sopharath, a young Cambodian woman, to her freshman year at college. I have used social media to help raise the money for her tuition through the Sharing Foundation in 2007 and 2008.
My motivation was a simple act of reciprocity (not what you might read in some of these comments). Cambodia brought me my two beautiful children and I felt strongly that we should give back to the country in some way. That's why in 2006 when Leng Sopharath did not have a sponsor for college, I stepped forward. (She is also an orphan and lived in the same orphanage as my daughter)
The problem was I didn't have any idea of how I was going to make a donation of that size after exhausting all my offline networks. Why don't I blog about it and ask readers for help I thought? A group of 30 people chipped in and Leng Sopharath went off to college. I got into social media infused fundraising by accident as an act of reciprocity and human kindness!
I committed to supporting Leng Sopharath's education for four years as well as providing moral support through regular letters we exchange. I've been thinking about her senior year and how to cover that. I was delighted that Mark Grmes, from nedspace, who has been a repeat donor to my Cambodian campaigns made me an offer I could not refuse.
If he can rent out the 4 remaining offices (at $400 ea) and 60 hot desk spaces (at $175 ea) by 5PM PT Monday June 1, 2009 at his co-working space, NedSpace, he'll not only send Leng Sopharath to college, but to other Cambodians through the Sharing Foundation's college education program. Plus he will also donate $5000 to Epic Change.
NedSpace is a 7,500 square ft co-working space for startups, innovative tech companies, artists, nonprofits and social entrepreneurs located in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon. NedSpace is located at 920 SW Third (between Taylor & Salmon) Portland, Oregon. You can request a NedSpace tour via Twitter @neddotcom or phone 503-502-0185
This is a modest request and who knows if it will work. You don't have to get out your credit card, vote for anything, or ask your friends to do anything. If you feel so inclined and if you know someone in Portland, Oregan who needs affordable co-working space, please share this information with them. You can help out a friend or colleague, help Nedspace reach its rental goals and help send a couple of Cambodians to college and school in Africa. What could be better than that?