Cambodian youngster in the Sharing Foundation's Education program practices her alphabet.
In Roteang Village, where the Sharing Foundation has programs that help over 1,500 children each and every day, there was a birthday bash at the orphanage for the 70 plus children. The Sharing Foundation hosts an annual, for-everybody-at-once Birthday party, with cake, fruit, and soda. This year the girls each received a handmade doll by two women from a nursing home in Massachusetts and the boys got matchbox cards donated by a local Cub Scout Troop, along with handmade birthday cards.
Today is my birthday and this year, as I have done for the past 8 years, I asked friends and family to donate to the Sharing Foundation in my honor. (If you want to know more about why my family and I care about the children of Cambodia and this charity, take a minute to watch this video my son, Harry made.) Last year, I got 51 people to donate $10 for my 51st birthday using my blog, Twitter, and other social media outposts. This year, I experimented with Facebook Causes birthday application.
We raised $6,255 from 162 donors! That's enough to cover the cost of school uniforms for 615 Cambodian youngsters. Many children in Cambodia do not go to school because their families lack the $10 for a uniform, required for school attendance. Last year, the Sharing Foundation's sewing school, a vocational training program, made over 1250 uniform sets and donated them to needy children in Roteang Village, to the Street Children's Assistance NGO, and to a poor government orphanage. The sewing girls, who are employed by the Sharing Foundation's vocational training program, earn from the first day of their training, so this is a win-win situation.
As part of the experiment with the Facebook birthday causes, I added a donor matching challenge to the Sharing Foundation's Facebook Cause that I would donate 10 x my age if the Sharing Foundation Cause reached $5,200. Causes has recently added a donor match feature and since I am also the volunteer administrator for the Sharing Foundation's Facebook Cause, decided to experiment. We met the match on January 10th and my credit card was automatically charged $520.
Here's the Campaign by the numbers:
161 donors contributed $6255 in total
115 people contributed $3429 through my Birthday Cause
38 people contributed $2509 through the Sharing Foundation Cause
9 people contributed $317 outside of Facebook
Before the Campaign: The Sharing Foundation's Cause
$955 in total donations
After the Campaign: The Sharing Foundation's Cause
$6893 in total donations
Happy Birthday Facebook Wall Messages
167 (42% non-donors)
45% new donors
25% has donated to at least one other of Beth's campaigns
30% have donated to at least two or more of Beth's campaigns
If you want a full accounting of how the money is being spent, you can look up the Sharing Foundation's form 990 on GuideStar. Also, subscribe to the Sharing Foundation's email newsletter. We send it out quarterly with detailed reports. Also, as a board member, feel free to ask me any questions you might have.
This is my 7th personal fundraising campaign using social media tools to help the children of Cambodia. In total, have raised over $220,000 since November, 2006. Not alone, of course, with lots of help from my friends and network. This is a passion-driven effort on my part with two goals: to support Cambodian children through the work of the Sharing Foundation and to share my lessons learned with other nonprofits so they can use these tools for the greater social good.
I'm working a deeper reflection about this Birthday Cause - what worked, what didn't in terms of strategy. Right now, I've been taking the time to send a personal thank you note to each and every one of the donors no matter the size of the gift. I've been leaving notes on Facebook walls, Twitter, or whatever is the best channel. This isn't about getting the huge donor numbers, velocity, or dollars amounts , it's about building a culture of giving in a presonal network or "collective" - and that is about relationship building.
Here's a big thank you to everyone for the best birthday ever!
Donors (Partial List)
Alicia C. Staley
Amy Sample Ward
Ann Marie Miller
Bernadette Mannix Feeney
Beth Jackson Bates
Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer
Javier AvellÃ¡n Veloz
Kari Dunn Saraatovsky
Kate Teeling Talbot
Kristjian Fjord Peturson
Lisa Nordick Colton
Mattise Bustos Hawkes
Megan Ryan Stohner
Sandra Sutton Andrews
Sokunthea Sa Chhabra
Suzy Twohig Quinn
Todd Van Hoosear
Tori Welch Tuncan