Passports with Purpose (PwP) is a collaborative online fundraiser created by four Seattle-based travel bloggers, returns for a second year with the goal of raising USD13,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia through American Assistance for Cambodia (AAfC). As of this writing, they are just a few hundred dollars way from their goal.
Tell me about you - and your passion for travel and social media
It's not like I had a "passion for social media" but I have always loved to travel. I started blogging as expat and honestly, expat bloggers saved my life. I never knew what online community was before I was ensconced in what I used to call "the snow globe" and then, when I started to connect with other like minded expats I understood. A person really could have online friends and meaningful. relationships via the web. When I started to meet my fellow bloggers and they were 73 times more awesome in person, well... let's just say I got suckered into social media by the kindness of strangers.
Tell me about this fundraiser - who, what, why, when, how much, etc
Who: Four Seattle based travel bloggers. Beth Whitman, Debbie Dubrow, Michelle Duffy, and me, plus EVERYONE WE KNOW!
What: Passports with Purpose. We did our first initiative for Heifer International last year, raising $7,400 via our collective networks. This year, we're raising money for American Assistance for Cambodia to build a school in rural Cambodia.
Why: Why not? Last year, we had a vague idea about "doing something good" using the collective clout of travel bloggers. Honestly, we were inspired by the Menu for Hope crew. I have a fuzzy memory of Debbie saying to the rest of us, over coffee at Beth's house last fall, "We should do something like Menu for Hope," and all of us responding, "Yeah, okay. That sounds fun." Or some such thing. We had no idea what we were starting.
When: NOW! We're rounding up donations -- they go directly to AAC, NOT to us -- until December 21.
How much: 13k. But if we go over, we can do things like have a well built or hire a school nurse. Let's just say we'll do as much as we can.
Have you been to Cambodia?
I keep having to admit that I sobbed my way across Cambodia. Some places, they just get to you. I couldn't bear it. And when I stumbled over an article about AAfC in the New York times, I KNEW I wanted to do this. And I knew, with absolute certainty that with the help of the travelblogging community, we would succeed.
What is your fundraising strategy? How is social media playing a role? How will you define success?
Last year, to say we had a strategy of any kind would be to imply that we knew what we were doing. This year, we sold sponsorships to a number of travel based companies -- they were eager to get their brands in front of our community and we are so grateful for their support, they've given us an incredible head start. Then, we threw it to our online community via Twitter, Facebook, and we recruit the participation of bloggers. It's pretty organic, it's not like we've said, "Tweet this three times a day" to anyone, but we share all our news in as many formats as possible and we trust that our community will do the same. And they do, go figure. It's been easy because we picked a cause that really resonates with lots of travelers and lots of travelers are online.
As for success, well, 13k is success, though it feels like an amazing success already because so many people are talking about the initiative. We'd love to go over our goal because that lets us give for all kinds of extra services.
Apparently, we can travel to the school for a ribbon cutting ceremony when it's completed and honestly, to stand there shoulder to shoulder with Beth, Michelle, and Debbie and see what we all helped create, that is the moment I look forward to.
What advice would you offer to other bloggers or travel lovers -who want to change the world while they are traveling the world?
Travelers are all so different, what makes people open up varies so greatly and there are lots of ways to make change. But I guess underneath it all, if we travel with open hearts, we create change no matter what we do, be it trading stories with strangers or banding together with our community to do something bigger. I'm a ranting advocate of travelers as accidental ambassadors to the world, I think that just the simple act of stepping outside one's home country can create change for the better.