Posts tagged ‘fundraising’

Facing Social Change at the Dinner Table

My dad, Scott Rampy, is a free agent advocate, activist, and fundraiser working to end multiple sclerosis. He’s also humble. So he doesn’t say it in his post, but in one year, with two events, no budget, and a handful of volunteers, my dad spearheaded the effort to raise over $250k for the National MS Society–and that was just in his spare time. Below, read about his latest effort in working to crush MS and where he finds his inspiration. Reading the post and typing this intro, I have tears in my eyes. Our family’s fight is real. It’s personal. And it’s persistent.

By Scott Rampy:  The word “social change” for me is intimidating.  It implies that there has to be an attempt to resolve a social injustice, shortcoming or reversal of public opinion.  For me, social change can be as simple as the inspiration that sits across from you at the dinner table.  In my case that is Jo Rampy, my wife of 26 years.  From a pure grass roots perspective, social change can be motivated by inspiration to inform others in an effort to spark a movement in a small way to solve a larger problem.

This is the case with the National MS Society.  Multiple Sclerosis (aka many scars) affects nearly 400,000 people in the country and selfishly I’m focused on the one person, Jo, who deals with it everyday.  She has been diagnosed with this disease for the past 7 years.  MS attacks the myelin that surrounds our nerve endings in the brain that control our central nervous system.  The damaged myelin forms areas of “sclerosis scars” that over time, affects ones ability to talk, see, feel, walk and concentrate.

Jo has been an athlete since the first day I met her, as she was running stadium stairs when I first noticed her.  Since the diagnosis, she has maintained an active lifestyle just trading her running shoes to walking shoes.  Jo walks 30-35 miles a week and regularly engages in health education to learn how to manage and live with MS.  As a result of her commitment, I’ve taken the challenge to SWIM, BIKE and RUN so that someday people with MS can again.

For the past several months, I have been training for my first half iron-man in Branson, MO Sept. 19. This race is not only a tribute to the endurance and strength I observe in Jo everyday but a tribute to people that deal with MS on a daily basis… so I SWIM, I BIKE and I RUN so that they can again.

There is no cure for MS, but my goal is raise money so the research can continue to find a cure in our lifetime.  My call to action is to have you join our cause and if motivated, donate $70–a dollar for each of the 70.2 miles traveled in my race.  A half iron-man consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.  At the writing of this post, we have raised $2,100 and have 106 members supporting the cause.

Please join, invite or donate and support a cause that will make a difference for someone dealing with MS.

Amazing Love

This is my final post in the seven-day quest to now raise $2200 to provide not just 7 roofs, but roofs for all 14 Guatemalan families. I’m so happy and humbled to announce that we met our goal of $2200!

Thank YOU: For your support, encouragement, tweets, Facebook postings, emails, comments, donations and the overall LOVE you shared. This has been an amazing experience and is only going to get better. Soon, we will be headed to Guatemala where we will literally raise the roof–all 14 of them! I can’t wait to return and share with you the stories and pictures of what will be a demonstration of amazing love.

In the Final Hours, Let’s Work It Out

This is my sixth post in the seven-day question to now raise $2200 to provide not just 7 roofs, but roofs for all 14 Guatemalan families. In these seven days, I’m posting updates, answering your questions and sharing insights gained. So far, we’ve raised $1590–only $610 more to go!

The fundraising drive ends today at 12pm EST. Please consider donating. Spread the word.

Let’s work it out. This morning, If we reach the following milestones, will you join me in the following? If you do, let me know in the comments or tweet your status and add the hashtag #loveroofs.

$1600:  Do 14 push-ups.

$1650:  Do 14 sit-ups.

$1700:  Do 14 lunges–on each leg!

$1800:  Do 3 sets of 14 jumping jacks.

$1925:  Do 3 sets of 14 squats.

$2000:  Do another set of 14 push-ups and 14 sit-ups.

$2200:  Take a 14 minute walk or run!

What do you say? Can we raise $610 dollars AND get a workout in the process? Let’s do it. You in? You might want to do a warm up–it’s going to be a big day!

flickr credit: ~ggvic~

Upping the Ante

This is my third post in the seven-day quest to raise $1100 to provide 7 roofs for 7 Guatemalan families!. In these seven days, I will be sharing updates, answering your questions and sharing insights gained. This post provide you with quite the update.

Friday morning, I checked-in with our fundraising efforts and just about fell out of my chair. An anonymous donor gave two big items–a large monetary donation ($1100) and a challenge. The challenge? “7 is a good number but is it possible to shoot for all 14?” Well, what do you say?

The cost for all 14 roofs in sum is $2200. To date, we’ve raised $1590 and achieved our initial goal of $1100, but could we blow this one out of the park? To reach $2200, we only have $610 left to go. Will you accept the challenge?

To donate, visit: http://www.crowdrise.com/loveroofs.

*And to the anonymous donor–thank you from the bottom of my heart for not just the donation, but also for the encouragement to push farther and do better.

The Role of the Free Agent and Fundraising

This is my second post in my seven-day quest to raise $1100 to provide seven roofs for seven Guatemalan families. In these seven days, I will also be answering your questions and sharing insights gained. This post worked to answer Mezarine’s question: What do you think it would take to help the majority of nonprofits in America retain and train great fundraisers? So far, we’ve raised $295–enough for one of the roofs, and $10 away from raising roof #2. Please donate and spread the word.

UPDATE 11:22am: We’ve raised $1490, enough funds for 9 roofs. But #loveroofs supporters are challenging us to raise enough for all 14 roofs, not just seven. To make this happen, we have $710 still to raise. Do you accept the challenge?

Mezarine–To answer your question, I think non-profits need to understand the power of their network. Specifically, the untapped potential of “free agents.” Stay with me while I explain…

Last week, Beth Kanter and Allison Fine presented at the Personal Democracy Forum about the role of the free agent. For me, my first question was: What’s a free agent? In genius style, they helped us define a “free agent” by sharing with us the story of Shawn Ahmed and his experience with the Red Cross.

Like typical Kanter and Fine posts, I find myself reflecting on this concept of a “free agent” days later. From a contract standpoint, I usually read “free agent” as an independent consultant–however, that is NOT what is meant in this discussion. Here, I see “free agent” being synonymous with the citizen philanthropist or the social citizen. It’s the empowered, empassioned individual. So, then the question becomes–who are these people?

I think customer relationship management is important here. You don’t have to use a slick and fancy CRM system (tho they can help), but mainly, you need to be detailed, diligent and deliberate.

Be Detailed: If you interact with a supporter on Twitter or Facebook or meet someone at a conference and exchange business cards, write it down. The important thing is to get in a habit of tracking your interactions with supporters and potential supporters, where they occurred, the date they occurred, what was discussed, interests, etc. and also important: be consistent in how you log this data.

Be Diligent: You need to be strategically persistent. For example, don’t reach out to a blogger or a potential sponsor with an ask being your first interaction. Get to know the people you want to work with and hope to have support your cause. Get to know your community, take the time to talk with people, know the culture, know the challenges, know the opportunities. This means that you’ll also need to adapt and be creative.

Be Deliberate: When it comes time to make an ask, be specific. Make the ask, the process, and the ability to be an ambassador of a cause fun, popular and easy. Also, make sure that whatever you’re asking, that is supports the true mission and long-term objectives of your organization. And most importantly, be deliberate in your thank you. This might seem too ‘duh’ a thought, but say more than thank you. Keep the conversation going: Ask them what worked, what didn’t, why they got involved, etc.

These are just some initial thoughts–as they say, if [fundraising] were easy, more people would be doing it. These tips might be some ways to attract and recruit supporters, but it might not enough to retain and sustain efforts. Thus, I also think nonprofits should focus on moving its network along the “Ladder of Engagement” as Beth Kanter would put it.

[Side note:  It’s interesting because there’s similiar theories that all relate to moving people along a spectrum–I would LOVE to create a matrix of these on how they all relate.]

What do you think? How would you answer Mezarine’s question? And, what other questions do you have?

flickr credit: erasmuse

6 Steps to Choosing the Right Individual Fundraising Platform

This is the first post in my seven-day quest to raise $1100 to provide seven roofs for seven Guatemalan families. In these seven days, I will also be answering your questions and sharing insights gained. This post worked to answer: How did you choose which fundraising platform to use?  So far, we’ve raised $165–enough for one of the roofs. Please donate and spread the word.

In the #loveroofs project, the first big hurdle was finding the right fundraising platform as there are many out there. In the end, I chose CrowdRise for a number of reasons.

Let me walk you through the thought process and hopefully that helps you if you are planning an individual fundraising effort. If you’re with an org, I encourage you to keep reading too–but more on that tomorrow.

6 Steps for Identifying a Fundraising Platform

1.  Research other people’s experiences. Fellow changebloggers continue to inspire me in the work they do and how they give to others. For me, I turned to the experiences of Beth Kanter, Geoff Livingston, Stacey Monk, and others. Let’s be clear, good research should involve reading about other people’s experiences, asking them about their experiences and by participating in them. In other words–it’s harder to fundraise if you’ve never been on the other side as a donor. 😉

2. Identify a cause. This is important. Identifying your cause will quickly help you determine your requirements. For example, large non-profits already have their own donation system like Livestrong for example. Other non-profits or causes may be on certain social networks that will also act as its own fundraising platform. An example of this is Causes and it’s birthday fundraising campaigns. Still yet, some organizations have it where you can sign-up for an event of theirs and fundraise around the event like the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer or Special Olympics Missouri.

3. Determine the requirements. The reason step two is important is because not all organizations have their own fundraising platform or on Facebook. This was partially my dilemna. The Amistad Foundation just got on Facebook, but is still working on setting up its cause page. Currently, it’s online donation system uses PayPal, which is fine–but it didn’t offer some key functionality such as: a) the ability to easily track the funds donated in an open and transparent manner, b) The ability to customize information, add my own text or share images. Granted, I could have set-up my own PayPal account, but another big thing for me was openness and transparency.

4. Narrow down the field. Once you determined your requirement, you need to narrow down the list of fundraising platform options. And believe me, there are a ton out there! For me, I narrowed it down to ChipIn and CrowdRise.

Each of these platforms had pros and cons. ChipIn is familiar–people know about it. It also provides a widget that you can embed on a website or blog, the ability to create your own landing page and the ability to set a goal and track progress–for all to see. However, ChipIn was also connected to PayPal. So, for this to work to me, I’d have to have people to donate to my PayPal account and then give that to the Amistad Foundation. This was an issue–but my third requirement was openness and transparency. Plus, I wanted the process to be easier.

Thus, I chose CrowdRise. Not only does CrowdRise offer the functionality of ChipIn (minus the embeddable widget unfortunately), it also has stronger design, is more inviting and easier to use. Plus, the big one for me, was that it isn’t connect to my PayPal account. Instead, CrowdRise already has a huge database of nonprofits that you can start fundraisers for–and wouldn’t you know, the Amistad Foundatin was one of them! Granted, Crowdwise takes a 5% processing fee as well as a small transaction fee, while PayPal via ChipIn takes about 3%–the pros of Crowdrise (in my opinion) trumped that of ChipIn as Crowdwise also has viral integration as well.

5. Ask around. As I was teetering between Crowdrise and ChipIn, I asked some fellow changebloggers their opinions. There weren’t strong feelings one way or the other, so I went with my gut on Crowdrise. Part of its appeal is that it is a new platform, so I wanted to use it and provide feedback for our community at large. However, looking back, I wish I would have asked YOU guys via a blog post which one you think I should have done. What can you say? Here’s to learning by doing!

6. CHOOSE. For me, this was the hardest part. I sat on this fundraising effort for a good 2-3 weeks wanting to get it all just right. I was nervous (still am!), was running all the ifs in my head, refining and refining, and finally, with faith, I chose.

Do you think I made the right choice? What’s your experience? And, what other questions do you have?

Can We Do It? 7 Roofs, 7 Families, 7 Days… and 7 Questions

Questions Answered Here--Even Silly OnesMarketing and communications professionals can learn by studying, learning, training and from doing. In the next seven days, I am going to learn by doing and invite you to join me. What exactly do I mean?

In my last post, I shared news about an upcoming trip to Guatemala my mom, my grandma and I are making alongside fellow changemakers. Part of this trip is working to raise funds to provide seven roofs for seven families in seven days, a total of $1100 ($157 per roof).

7 Questions

Over the next seven days, I also plan to answer seven questions based on things I learn during this process, insights you help me to discover, why I chose CrowdRise over other fudraising platforms, how fundraising relates to social marketing, the role of the free agent and any other items you may be curious about. I hope this seven-day adventure not only raises funds for those who need it–but also helps us grow as professionals.

So Sound Off:  What questions do you have when it comes to fundraising change?

flickr credit: Travelin’ Librarian

The One Post I Hope You Read

Three Generations + the Opportunity of a Lifetime

My Mom and Grandmother

Who inspires you? For me, it’s the heart of service that my family has lived for and stood for that inspires me everyday. This is why, I am so thankful, humbled and hopeful that later this month, my mom, my grandma and I are joining a group of good-hearted and high-spirited individuals on a service trip to Guatemala through the organization the Amistad Foundation.

On our trip, we will visit Guatemala City, La Limonada (see picture below) and some of Guatemala’s villages. We will be working with the Guatemalan people to help them develop skills to grow and develop sustainable businesses and relationships. From helping their crop program to teaching them business skills, basic communication and motor skills, as well as administering eye exams and mainly–sharing love and support.

The Guatemalan Situation

Image of La Limonada

La Limonada--The Largest Slum in Central America

Guatemala has recently been served a triple blow: 1) The Pacaya Volcano erupted spewing lava, rocks and debris just south of Guatemala city; 2)  This past Sunday, a sinkhole in the middle of Guatemala City swallowed a whole three-story building; and 3) Tropical storm Agathe hit parts of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras causing 150,000 people to evacuate due to heavy flooding and landslides. Adding to the situation, the United Nations recently reported that:

  • An estimated 43% of Guatemalan children below the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition, one of the worst rates in the world.
  • Guatemala has been hit by one of the worst droughts in 30 years, causing their worst famine in 30 years with 2.7 million people requiring urgent aid.

#loveroofs: 7 Roofs, 7 Families, 7 Days

Where do you turn during the rainy seasons in your life? For me, it’s home–it’s family. There are families, in one of the villages (vagueness is for security reasons) we are visiting that don’t have a safe place to go when the torrential rain comes. We want to help provide them a safe home by providing them roofs over their shelter–what I call #loveroofs for they will be funded and built with love to support the growth of love. The cost to do this is about $157 per home. Our goal is to raise $1,100 to provide seven roofs to seven families within seven days!

While there, I will be able to capture photos of the people in the village and help us all connect and enjoy in this journey together. Upon my return, I will share the pictures and insights with you so you know your money went to a good cause.

How You Can Help

Can you help us raise $1,100? I’ve been looking into ways to go about this so that we can all see the progress while being transparent at the same time–and I discovered CrowdRise. I’m a first timer, but I hear good things about the platform and will be able to report to you about how it all goes. All funds donated will be donated to the Amistad Foundation who will work with their contacts on the ground in Guatemala to make this happen (and I’ll provide images and updates as well). THANK YOU

DONATE:

Go to http://www.crowdrise.com/loveroofs, and give what you can. Our goal is to raise $1,100 to provide seven roofs to seven families within seven days!

Trust me when I say that both my family and myself understand the economic times–for us, this is truly a trip based in love and faith, so know that I understand if you can’t give–but we’ll take encouragement too. I plan on sharing this post with all those on the trip–so please leave a note of encouragement below. =)

Quote of the Week: Unleashing Love

This week’s quote comes from one of my favorite people in the non-profit tech community, Stacey Monk of Epic Change:

In America alone, we spend $14.6B annually on Mother’s Day for “stuff” that could just never say what’s in our hearts. What if instead, we all just unleashed that love on the world? How would it impact our world if we stopped using stuff as a surrogate for love? What if we invested that love to make the world a better place for Mamas & children everywhere?

Love Your Mama

This thinking led to Epic Change’s latest fundraising initiative, ToMaMaWithLove.org in honor of mothers everywhere–including Mama Lucy. Mama Lucy is Epic Change’s Tanzanian partner–the money raised from the effort will go towards the children’s home Mama Lucy wants to build for her primary school.

To date, over 200 mamas have been honored and over $11,000 has been raised–making a home for 12 children. The goal is to create a home for 50 children. You can contribute by unleashing your love and honoring your own mama by create a heart space–an online, visual tribute to your mom over at ToMamaWithLove.org.

Unleashing Love

The idea of unleashing love, however, can live beyond Mother’s Day and can be applied towards an organization as well.

  • Have your employees felt appreciated lately?
  • Is there an organization with an unmet need in your community?
  • Are you following the golden rule–treating others as you want to be treated?

These are just a few examples–but you get the picture, we can unleash love in our daily lives. As As Stacey suggests–What type of impact would that make? Imagine how that could change our world–your world?

So go love–unleashed and with wild abandon.

Four Phases of Online Social Change

red heartYou may agree or disagree with me on this, so I encourage your thoughts as I’m transcribing some of my own observations into the online social change field. These observations boil down to four “phases” of online social change that I think reflect our maturity into using social media tools to meet our organization’s aims:

  1. Awareness Building
  2. Fundraising
  3. Contests and Competitions for Change
  4. Advocacy

In the beginning, I feel many tools were leveraged as awareness-building mechanisms. From the initial launch of Causes to recruiting fans, followers and friends, many tools were initially set out to further awareness-building of an organization.

Then, I felt like the tools and our use of them matured as we discovered ways to leverage the tools into dollars–from Twestival to Tweetsgiving to Goodsearch. Even Causes adapted and identified birthdays as a way to increase micro-donations. You could say that online fundraising in and of itself has seen a phased formation and continues to evolve. See Beth’s Kanter’s recent post: 5 Social Media Fundraising Trends for 2009.

Then, enter the behemoths–contests and competitions like “America’s Giving Challenge,” hosted by the Case Foundation entered in the next rendition. You could say this ties into a more advanced type of fundraising, but I felt like it deserved to be on its own. As, I don’t yet think this area has been “tapped out” and neither do organizations according to Andre Blackman who interviewed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who uses contests and competitions to further public health innovation.

However, where I feel we are still in our infancy is with online advocacy for social change. It’s starting to creep up–just look at LiveEarth’s 2009 campaign “Love, the Climate” where people were encouraged to write love letters to office holders who worked to prevent climate change or the “Be a Voice for Darfur” movement which utilized activist and blogger toolkits to further realize the campaign’s objectives. Even act.ly provided a way for people to create and spread petitions with a call to action via Twitter.

Like I said, I think advocacy is where we have the most potential to further expand. I could be biased based on my government and citizen engagement day-job type of work–but I think there’s more ways we can get involved, as citizens, in decision making and peace keeping in our local, state and Federal governments–even internationally. What about you? Where do you think we have the most room to grow and what do you predict as being phase 5? Perhaps, partnerships and collaborations might be a phase five as we see how online and social media open up new doors of opportunity across organization firewalls. Or, another phase 5 might be storytelling–as more of these functions become interwoven and organizations get better at telling their story.

What do you think?

flickr credit: flatfield