Today was the best birthday ever! My 53rd birthday wish was to raise money for the Sharing Foundation to send 53 Cambodian Youngsters to school by covering the cost of their uniforms ($10 per child). We crushed that goal and raised $4,540 because of your generosity in donating and calling attention to the birthday wish. That means 454 youngsters will be able to attend school in Cambodia and hopefully, fine, a route out of poverty.
But there was something else at play for me this year, my fourth, celebrating my birthday with social media and a networked fundraising campaign for the Sharing Foundation ...
Bora Vuth, a young man from Cambodia who is attending college here in US, put his finger on it as he joined 136 other people on Facebook who donated to the Sharing Foundation. Kami Watson Huyse calls this a shared accomplishment. It makes you feel good to give and celebrate and be part of a network of people doing the same. Like the children in the orphanage managed by the Sharing Foundation who celebrate their birthday on the same day once a year, it felt like everyone was having a birthday today!
One of things I've learned about social media and doing fundraising for causes is that you will be surprised! And little did I know that Amy Sample Ward and Stacey Monk were planning one hell of a surprise party! In a google document, some how they put the word out and 66 people signed up to blog and tweet about the birthday wish propelling its success! But they also asked to share how I've impacted their work, and by pointing that out has been created a very meaningful birthday gift.
Reading the birthday greetings and blog posts, made me thing about network weaving and how much Christine Egger and I have learned from June Holley recently. I've had the honor to work many people who are using social media for social change or fundraising, support their work, cheer them on, and learn from them. So, being able do some real time network weaving while the birthday campaign was unfolding was highly satsifying.
I met Spencer Brodsky last December when he was doing a fundraiser campaign for his project in Rwanda. He helped me with reaching my influencers on Twitter. And connected with Mark Horvath. I noticed dozens of these connections and facilitated a few. It's like we're all working together, informally, in a networked way to support one another's work.
In reading all the blog posts, it is reminding me that relationships are not transactions and developed over time through a series of opportunities to work together. For example, in reading Allison Fine's post, the coauthor with me of our forthcoming book, The Networked Nonprofit, I realized that we've known each other through out blogs since 2006. There are other colleagues that I've met through social media and probably wouldn't have known or worked together if it had not been for this new connected, for example Nick Booth and Steve Bridger.
When Amy posted that Tweet, I was on my way to be a guest instructor at a Stanford Business School Class, the Power of Social Technology taught by Jennifer Aaker. I got to teach two back to back sessions of the class and it was exhilarating. When I peeked at my Twitter stream and saw the happy birthday tweets, Facebook wall posts, and blogs, I nearly fell off my chair!
Well, I'm rolling up my sleeves as Jordan V would say and as Sean Power suggests will be writing a post to share insights about what I've learned from today's action learning experiment about real time tracking, analytics, metrics, and reflection. I'll also share some insights about instruction. But it is late, and time for bed!
For now, enjoy Amy Sample Ward's reflection on crowdsourcing a surprise party!